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Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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this cord gives a speedy rotation to a flexible axle, through which the rota-
tion is communicated to the axle of the four arms by means of a coupling,
which is done in an instant.

The placing of the apparatus on the cow is a very easy performance. A
belt that carries the rod is strapped on the cow with a single buckle. The
apparatus is first started and then put on the rod and the different arms are
adjusted under their respective teats, which the rollers then immediately
seize and the milking begins.

The milk is conducted through funnel-shaped so-called ^^teat protectors**

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and short rubber tubes to a small tin cup that is hanging in these tubes,
from whence through a vacuum arrangement it is drawn up to a tin bucket
that hangs above the head of the cow. From the moment the milk leaves
the teat protectors till it gets into the tin bucket, it has not had any connec-
tion with the outer air. Even if the apparatus works awhile after the udder
gives no more milk, and consequently the tin cup also becomes empty, no
air enters on account of an automatic arrangement, and this has the result
that the milk is as free as possible from bacteria and keeps longer.

By using the lactator, the great trouble to procure and control dairy
maids is avoided ; besides, the milking is done in a sufficiently clean man-
ner to meet all hygienic demands. The dairy products will, of course, at
the same time keep longer and become more valuable.

Can the ordinary dairy people handle the machine? is a question that is
asked before one has witnessed the ease with which the machine is managed.
It is the intention of the company to send out experts (men or women) to
every place where these machines are installed, who are to teach the dairy
people and will remain until they have given thorough instructions with
regard to the working of the apparatus.

Does the machine empty the udder perfectly? This seems to be one of
the most important qualifications the machine ought to have, and, fortu-
nately, this question can be satisfactorily answered. When this was tested
and the apparatus had ceased to give anymore milk, hand milking was tried,
with the result that there was no milk left in the udder. We convinced
ourselves that such really was the case.

Is the machine injurious to the udder? No. The cows seem, in fact,
to enjoy being treated by the machine. Even cows that never became accus-
tomed to hand milking and always showed impatience during that perform-
ance seem to be much pleased with the working of the apparatus. To find out
whether the machine would hurt the udder when left working after the evac-
uation, the apparatus was recently left operating on a cow for an hour and a
half after the udder was emptied. During all this time, the cow showed no
impatience; neither did anything point to an abnormal activity in the
udder ; no blood was absorbed nor had the teats suffered any injury.

Does the apparatus reduce the milking power? This question is a very
difficult one to answer before the machine has been in use a certain length
of time. It is, however, a pleasure to be able to make a few statements in
this respect that tend to show that the apparatus, in this important matter,
has an advantageous rather than a contrary effect, viz, that it seems to pre-
serve the milking power, as is shown in the case of two young cows of mixed
Shorthorn and Ayrshire breed, bought from the same place, calved on the
same day in October last, about equally developed, in the same good condi-
tion, and had always had the same food. The one has, since the middle of
December last, been milked by the lactator, the other one by hand. While,
in November and December, both gave exactly the same quantity of milk
per day — about 10 liters — the one milked by hand began gradually to dry up
No. 190 9.

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in January, so that the quantity now is down to 7.9 liters. The other one,
however, that was milked with the lactator during all this time still gives about
the same quantity, or 9.2 liters. In another instance where the lactator was
used all the time, an old Dutch cow, that calved in July last, right after the
weaning gave 19 liters per day, increased to 23 liters very soon, and now,
after more than six months, gives 15 liters per day.

Another objection lo the use of the lactator has been raised in the sug-
gestion that the cows would not get fervent. This has, however, during this
time of experiments proved to be absolutely false.

We shall now consider the cleaning of the apparatus, which is always
believed to be a very comi)licated aflair. Not a single part of the machin-
ery comes in contact with the milk; it is only the teat protectors, the
rubber tubes, the tin cup, and the bucket that need a thorough cleaning
after each time the machine has been used. For the cleaning of the rub-
ber parts, a very ingenious rinsing tub, that belongs to every outfit, is used.
This has a pump to which the tubes are applied. In this, the cleaning is
done easily and thoroughly with crj'stallized soda and water. The daily
cleaning of all other parts consists principally in dusting them off. On our
visit at Ursvik, we took si)ecial interest in examining the six machines that
had been in use and we could not detect a single drop of milk on any part
of the machinery itself.

If question should be raised as to the number of cows that would neces-
sitate milking by the lactator, the reply is, two i)ersons can easily attend lo
ten machines at the same time. Therefore, it is, of course, more valuable
to large dairy farms than to smaller ones. It is, however, likely to be profit-
able for smaller dairies also. The apparatus works with a speed of about
ninety "squeezings" a minute.

The machinery and the vacuum pump need no more power than can be
obtained from almost any source of power. There is, however, a special
motor being constructed that will fill all requirements in this respect.

Every doubt as to the feasibility of constructing a practical milking
machine seems, from the thorough experiments that have l^en made with
this machine, to have been overcome.

THOS. 13. 0*NEIL,

Stockholm, May 16, i8g6. Consul,


At present, the grain trade is in that quiet state which generally charac-
terizes the last months of spring and the first of summer, when probable
calculations and suppositions about the quantity and quality of the coming
grain harvests are made. In view of the interest which information concern-
ing the condition of the growing grain excites, I have watched the results as
collected and reported up to the ist of June, 1896, throughout European

♦Reports in detail from the different districts referred to the DepartmciU of Agriculture.

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Russia by reliable correspondents of the commercial class. In general, those
reports show that the apprehensions of the agriculturists of many localities
that, owing to the lateness of spring and the cold weather during the first
vegetative period, the grain would suffer to a great extent, has not been real-
ized. There are only the region of the Azov Sea from the districts of Meli-
to|)ol and Berdiansk up to Eisk, and in the Lower Don and northern Cau-
casus, some of the Baltic governments, and some portions of the central
Chernoziom region in which the winter grain does not look satisfactory.
In all the remaining agricultural governments and districts of European
Russia, the winter grain is in a satisfactory condition ; in fact, owing to the
favorable weather in May, the condition of the grain may be called good or
above middling in all the principal grain regions in the whole of the Volga
basin, in the central Chernoziom region, in the southern steppes, and in the
western and southwestern governments. The condition of the spring grain
is reported throughout to be favorable, except on the coast of the Azov Sea.

St. Petersburg, June 8, i8g6. Consul- General,


Artificial silk is soon to be manufactured at Rheims and Fismes, the lat-
ter a neighboring town situated 19 miles west of the metropolis of the
northeastern part of France. The erection of buildings for this new indus-
try has actually been commenced.

This silk is called *' Chardonnet silk,*' after the name of its inventor,
and, although the process of manufacture is not yet fully known, it is asserted
that the modus operandi is somewhat similar to that of the silkworm itself.
The silkworm eats mulberry leaves and, after a mysterious transformation
which takes place inside of the insect, it emits through the mouth an
extremely fine thread, which it uses to spin its cocoon ; this thread is silk.

The process for the manufacture of artificial silk is based upon that em-
ployed by nature. The first thing used is wood — for mulberry leaves are in
reality the equivalent of mulberry wood. The wood is worked into a paste
which, after being dipped in nitric and sulphuric acids, is dried and placed
in a bath of ether and alcohol at 90°. A transformation takes place and a
kind of glue or collodion is the result.

Such is all the preliminary work necessary; such is the material with
which the artificial silk is to be produced.

The collodion is placed in strong metallic cylinders, where it is subjected
to high pressure and runs in pipes of the size of ordinary gas pipes. These
pipes are laid horizontally, as a footlights pipe in theaters, and, similarly to
the latter, small faucets are fastened at regular intervals over their whole
lengths. The appearance of the apparatus can not be better compared than
to a footlights pipe with its gas-burners.

♦For previousx'eporis on the manufacture of artificial silk, see Consular Rei'orts No. 171 (I>cceml)er,
X894), p. 538; No. 173 (February, 1895), p. 273; and No. 177 (June, 1895), p. a66.

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A woman opens a faucet, and, from a glass tube, an extremely fine thread
is seen emerging. It is the collodion driven by the pressure. The small
glass tube replaces in the manufacture the mouth of the silkworm. The
thread, as it comes out of the glass tube, is so fine that it is necessary to
twist six of them together before winding on the spool. The silk so made
is then rendered incombustible, and the skeins are thrown into ammonia for
the purpose of neutralizing the sulphuric acid.

Two grand prizes were awarded to Mr. Chardonnet for the exhibition he
made of his artificial silk at the Lyons Exposition of 1894, and the com-
mittee of awards, in their report, highly praised the merits of his invention,
which seems destined to greatly increase the importance of the already
considerable textile industry of France.

The public of this region is watching with marked interest the develop-
ment of this new enterprise, which, in case of success, will furnish steady
work to the too many weavers of the city — victims of the business depres-
sion, which for several years past has reduced the output of the once famous
and prosperous woolen mills of Rheims.


Rheims, April 10 ^ i8g6. Consul,


I have the honor to inclose an article describing the process of manu-
facturing **wood silk,*' or artificial silk yarn, from wood pulp. A product
known as wood fiber, or cellulose, is now largely produced in Maine, New
York, Michigan, and Wisconsin, in which the fiber is preserved and not
destroyed as in the manufacture of pulp. This would doubtless prove far
more desirable for use in the new industry referred to than the pulp.


NoTT I N(; H AM, May 5, i8g6. Consul,

[From the I^Jiidon Times, April 2, 1896 ]

There will shortly be started in I^ancashire a new industry of a character so novel that
the mention of it may appear to be suggestive of an absurdity rather than a sober truth. It
will be one for nothing less than the manufacture of silk out of wood pulp. Quixotic as the
idea seems, it has already been established that silk, or, rather, artificial silk, can be so made;
that it can be used fur the many purposes for which natural silk is used, and others besides;
that it is especially suitable for working up with natural silk, cotton, or wool for dress
material, ribbons, trimmings, church decorations, vestments, etc. ; that the artificial silk can
scarcely l)e distinguished from that for which we have hitherto depended on the silkworm ;
and that it can be sold at prices very much lower, and still leave a substantial profit. Dress
and other fabrics made from this wood silk are, indeed, already being sold extensively in
London as among the leading features of this season's Paris novelties; though the appear-
ance of them is so close to that of the ordinary silks, and so little has been said of the new
discovery, that neither the ladies who have Ixjught them nor, indeed, the shopkeepers who

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have sold them have realized the change that has \^en brought about in the process of man-

At present the wood silk comes from France, large works having been established at Be-
sangon under patents granted to Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, chevalier of the Legion of
Honor, who discovered the process, and first established in 1893 the fact that it might be
made into a commercial success. Since then the demand for the new commodity has far sur-
})assed the existing powers of manufacture ; and some months ago the idea was mooted of
adding to the number of our own industries by arranging to make the artificial silk in Eng-
land as well. The project seemed to be especially desirable in the interests of Lancashire,
whose commercial prosperity has been seriously threatened of late, while it was pointed out
that Lancashire weavers are much more skillful than the French in working up those textile
combinations for which the artificial silk is particularly, though not exclusively, adapted. A
number of silk and cotton manufacturers met to discuss the question, and finally sent out to
Besan^on a deputation consisting of some of their own number, an engineer, a chemist, and a
lawyer, to. investigate the subject thoroughly. This was done, and the outlook was found to
be so promising that certain concessions have been secured and a company is now in process
of formation, and, to begin with, a factory, which will cost ;f 30,ocx), is to be built near to Man-
chester for the manufacture of artificial silk yam from wood pulp, for .sale to weavers, who
will work it up by means of their existing machinery. Inasmuch as six weaving firms have
already arranged to take the total output of the factory, even before a single brick has been
laid, and as others are proposing to put down a plant of their own to be worked on the roy-
alty system, there is evidently good reason for the expectation that Lancashire is on the eve
of some important expansions in her textile trades. The prospects are the more satisfactory
because the concessions which have been secured specially stipulate that continental makers
of the artificial silk are not to send their yam to England, while the international patent laws
will, now that the rights for Great Britain have been bought up, secure that henceforth neither
the yam nor the goods manufactured therefrom shall be imported here. Thus, although the
original idea comes from France, the industry, so far as this country is concerned, will be essen-
tially British, and will be carried on without fear of foreign competition on our own shores.
At the present time our imports of articles manVifactured from silk are so extensive that last
year they amounted to ;t 1 5, 237, 000, and those of raw and thrown silk to /"i, 883,000, or a
total of ;f 17,120,000 ; but now that industrial ingenuity has shown that the silkworm can be
supplanted by any sort of timber, there is thought to be a good prospect of distributing a good
deal of this money among our own workers instead of sending it abroad.

The way in which wood pulp can be converted into silk yarn will be best explained by a
brief account of the process as it is already at work at Besancjon. A certain economy of
labor is practiced by obtaining the wood when it is in its "paper" or "cardlward" condition
(though waste cotton may also be used), and the first operation is to macerate it in a solution
of nitric and sulphuric acid. After this the acids are squeezed out by a hydraulic press, and
the stuff is thoroughly cleansed in large vats of water. It is then partially dried, and after-
wards left for some hours in a revolving cylinder containing alcohol and ether. After this it
is passed through a filter, which it leaves looking very much like thick gum, and is next put
in cylinders, from which it is forced by pneumatic pressure into pipes passing into the spin-
ning department. Here the machinery looks like that employed in Lancashire spinning sheds,
except that one of the pipes referred to runs along each set of machines. These pipes are
supplied with small taps, fixed close together, and each tap has a glass tube about the size
of a gas-burner, at the extreme point of which is an aperture so minute that the filaments
passing through no fewer than ten of them would be refjuired to make up the thickness of a
human hair. These glass tubes are known as " glass silkworms," and some twelve thousand
of them are in use in the factory.

The effect of the pneumatic pressure in the cylinders referred to above is to force the liquid
matter not only along the iron tubes, but also, when the small taps are turned on, through each
of the glass silkworms. It appears there as a scarcely perceptible globule. This a girl touches

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with her thumb, to which it adheres, and she draws out an almost invisible hiament, which
she passes through the guides and on to the bobbin. Then, one by one, she takes eight, ten,
or twelve other such filaments, according to the thickness of the thread to be made, and passes
them through the same guides and on to the same bobbin. This done, she presses them
together with her thumb and forefinger, at a certain point between the glass silkworms and
the guides. Not only do they adhere, but thenceforward the filaments will continue to meet
and adhere at that point, however long the machinery may l)e kept running. In this way
the whole frame will soon be set at work, the threads not breaking until the bobbin is full,
when they break automatically, while they are all of a uniform thickness. The remaining
processes are the same as in the case of ordinary silk, except in two respects. In the first
place, the artificial silk has to be denitrified, so as to render it noninflammable after the chem-
ical processes it has undergone; and, in the next place, the hanks are placed on two revolv-
ing rollers which stretch and also "iron" them, producing that high degree of luster which is
one of the chief characteristics of the artificial silk. The new product is said to take dye
much more readily than the natural silk, and certainly the colors and the extreme richness of
some specimens that have been on view in London seemed to leave nothing to be desired in
this resi>cct. The chief difference in api)earance between the natural and the artificial silk is
in the greater luster of the latter; though it will be found also that if a single thread of each
is taken the artificial will "break" difierently from the natural, and has only about So per
cent of its strength.

The success already .secured l)y the new process in France is such that the introduction of
the industry into Lancashire is exi>ected to produce something like revolution in the condi-
tions of trade there, not only by bringing into existence a new occupation, but also by finding
more work for a good deal of the weaving machinery that is now only partially employed;
while the weaving of "silk," or what only exi)erls will l>e able to distinguish from silk, will
be rendered possible in the case of a vast number of people to whom the product of the silk-
worm is more or less a prohibitive luxury. All the same, there will probably be some senti-
mental regret that the silkworm itself, which has played so important a part in the clothing
of the peoples of the western world since the middle of the sixth century, should thus run the
danger of being supplanted by liquefied timl)er; though the discovery that clothing can l>e
made out of wood pulp is, after all, no more remarkable than that which was made by the
Persian missionaries who visited China thirteen hundred years ago, and learned to their sur-
prise that garments could be made from the cocoons of a caterpillar.


The German Empire is making great efforts everywhere to meet the
merchants of Manchester, Liverpool, and London as competitors in the
world's markets. The politics pursued by the Reichstag since 1880 has
helped to build on so firm a basis that the present prosperity in textile centers
promises to be permanent. Branches of business that bowed under burdens
too heavy to be borne with success or safety have sprung up into self-reliant
attitudes. Enterprise and capital combined were the factors in forcing
foreigners out of the Empire's emporiums and pushing Germany to the front.
To-day she supplies most of her own needs from her own factories. Only
in fine yarns is she dependent on England. Even these, I am told, are to
be made here. Art is to assist and supply in the way of climate, so far as
possible, what nature has denied. Judged by its use of raw materials, the
Empire ranks to-day among the biggest producers of textiles in the world.
Most of the raw materials, it may be remarked here parenthetically, come to

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her from countries beyond her borders, and much from beyond sea. Even
here, one hears of efforts being made or to be made to assist agriculture to
produce as much as possible of the raw materials bought from others.*
Cotton and jute can not, of course, on account of the climate, be success-
fully cultivated in any part of the Empire. Raw silk can, at least it is
thought so, and efforts are to be made to determine the question. The value
of land, the intensity of agricultural interests, the cheapness of wool and
mutton coming from other countries, have driven the sheep almost entirely
to the hills, where forests are found, for the most part, rather than sheep
fields. Recently, agriculturists have been urging members of the local gov-
ernments and the Reichstag to bring in bills to compel the Government
tailors, etc., to use only cloth from hemp and flax grown by German farmers.
How much success they have had or will meet with, it is hard to say. The
Empire bought since 1880 of raw materials as follows, in tons of 1,000 kilo-
grams (2,204 pounds):












Raw {uncoiorftf) si/ A'.










250, 560







JO, 095


























1, 129

113, 8a3










Excess of
impo:t .










* The Empire ordered that linen goods intended for imperial purposes, /.<"., forthe marine and miKtar>',
must l)c made from yam made in Gt.rmany and from flax grown in Germany. How far this poKcy will find
favor with manufaciurei^ remains to l>c seen. The farmers weUome it as the small end of the wedge thai is
to help them from "hard times" to eras of piospcrity tqual to tho^c enjoyed by commerce and maiiufactun.s
under the aegis of the Empire.

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Germany's cotton comes to her in large quantities from India,* Egypt,

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 64 of 102)