United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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and the United States. Saxony alone takes 500,000 or 600,000 bales of
from 400 to 700 pounds each, the weight of each bale dei>ending on the
country whence it comes. But Saxony buys in Bremen and Liverpool rather
than from the merchants of Memphis, Galveston, Atlanta, and New Orleans. f
letter after letter has been sent to influential men in the South urging them
fo exploit or examine this market for the purpose of selling to it direct, but
to no avail. England, with hardly half our interest in this market, has her
agents right here in Chemnitz, the very heart of the Kingdom. Many of
these agents are experts. They go from town to town, soliciting trade as
eagerly as if they exj^ected to meet or be followed by splendidly equipjied
competitors. Until some such system is adopted by us, we must make the
best of a bad policy and be satisfied to go on planting for the profits of
middlemen, not at home, but here and in England.

What the Empire is undertaking, in the matter of raw material especially,
we might successfully emulate. Surely, silkworms will find happier homes
in which to thrive in California, the Carolinas, Virginia, Florida, and all our
Southern States than here, in a climate harsher, in its abundance of rain-
storms, than that of New England. Our silk industries are among our most
important. Paterson, N. J., and Manchester, Conn., are rapidly rivaling
Lyons and Crefeld. The cocoons that come to us from Italy and China
are among the most exi^ensive articles in our list of imported raw materials.
I have seen as fine mulberry trees in Dorchester, outside of Boston, as I
ever saw in Italy. Of course, they were not particularly cultivated for their
leaf, J but rather for their fruit. If the plains of Lombardy and Piedmont

♦There came lo Hamburg from India, in the year 189a 93, 220,000 bales, each weighing 400 pounds, and
to Bremen, 8.000 bales ; in 1892-93, 243,000 bales to Hamburg and 12.000 to Bremen ; in 1893-94, 270,000 bales
and 14,000 bales, respectively ; in 1894-95, the amounts were . 70,000 bales and 14,000 bales. Trieste took in
those years, 166,000 bales, 143,000 bales, 170,000 bales, and i37,(xx3 bales; Antwerp, 143,000 bales, 180,000
bales, 200,000 bales, and 128,000 bales. Some of these may have found their way into Germany. India sent
Europe from the ist of September, 1895, to August 31, 1896, 1,270,000 400-pound bales. The year previous
she sent 770,000 bales. Of India's yield, England takes only 10 to 15 per cent, Japan 15 per cent, and China
a small amount : the bulk— 70 to 75 percent — comes to continental Europe. The reason why no real rise took
place this season in the price of American cotton, notwithstanding the short crop— 7,000,000 bales, against
9,900,000 bales for the previous season — will be found in the fact of India's increased yield.

f Forqjcrly manufacturers did a big business d rcct with our cotton-growmg States. They arc not only
willing, but eager, to do so again ; but guaranties that goods equal to sample will be delivered will be de-
manded. During the times referred to some manufacturers suffered from losses due to rubb'sh having been
mixed with the cotton ; others, from not getting goods equal to sample. What is wanted is firms willing to
give guaranties that, when a certain kind of cotton is ordered, that and no other, unless a better, will be
delivered. The claim is made that better results are achieved with cotton all of one kind than from mixtures.
I see no gctod reason why, when a manufacturer orders Tennessee or Georgia or any other kind of cotton, he
should not gel it. This is the complaint, *' We don't (or didn't) get what we ordered." What is true of Sax-
ony is doubtless true of all other parts of the Elmpire. It seems too bad to let so good an opportunity for
strengthening our hold on this market go by default. Cotton must be bought ; this is one of the things they
can not raise themselves. Next to t^ngland and the United States, Germany uses the largest qtuintities of
the raw material. Our production far exceeds the home demand. Egypt must always remain but a weak
rival; for, while the quality of her cotton is excellent, the quantity must forever remain snA)^ India and
Africa are our real rivals, and these should find it hard work to oust us, when once firmly estnlfthed, espe-
cially if (iermany is to continue to send us, as now and hitherto, liundreds of millions of manufactured articles.
Nobody knows better than her merchants that the relations of trade, to be permanent, must be based on reci-

I The silkworm feeds on the leaf and not on the berry.

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can be covered by so profitable a product, I see no reason why what are now
wheat fields in Texas and Tennessee and wastes in Washington, Oregon, and
Arizona might not be made to yield to husbandmen in America the millions
we pay to others. The silkworm was no more indigenous to Italy than
to us. The industry found its way into Italy via Sicily, an island in the
extreme south, opposite Calabria, in latitudes lying between 35° and 40°, or
equal to those of the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, etc. Of course, the
States named are by no means so warm as Sicily, but it must be added,
and never lost sight of, that Italy's best silk fields are those of Piodmont and
Lombardy, in the extreme north of the Kingdom, in latitudes around 45°,
much further north than New York, in a climate similar, in many respects,
to that of New York or New England.

I may say here that an English textile magazine has employed one of the
leading textile experts of Saxony to write a series of reports, in the form of
letters, covering the entire textile industries of this section. The picture
being unrolled is truthful, and, therefore, far from pleasant reading to Lei-
cester and Nottingham. The reports present facts little calculated to encour-
age competitors. Machines made in England, and of which, for a long
time, she held the monopoly, are made here now by the hundreds, and
hardly less perfect than those made in England. The Germans care little
that England calls them copyists. 'J'hey go on building and bettering till
they take away markets in which England maintained for years an exclu-
sive supremacy. The writer referred to bewails England's lack of wisdom
in selling Saxons such machines. Nor is it because labor is so very much
cheaper here tha,n in England that Germans are succeeding in getting trade
in parts of the world whose ports, before 1870 or even 1880, had never
opened to a German ship. It is because it is better organized, more easily
satisfied, and less restless. The difference in wages, product against product,
is in Germany's favor. I am here in the very heart of the textile world and
I have yet to hear any murmurs that mean any more than *'we would like to
be better off; but times are hard and we have to bear with present rates till
times are better." But that is the complaint in all countries in the best of


Chemnitz, March 21, i8g6.


The leaders of the woolen industries of the German Empire, conscious of
the excellence of the wares of their great competitors, especially the French,
English, and Scotch, have made every effort to not only regain the home
market, but to meet their opponents in parts of the world hitherto held
almost exclusively by the English and French. The task of answering all

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5o6 Germany's woolen industries.

demands of the times, in the matter of fashion, form, quantity, and quality,
has been accomplished. While it is true that Germany must buy large quan-
tities of woolen yarns from England, it is also true that she is resolved to be
independent, and is rapidly putting herself into a position to supply all the
demands of her cloth manufacturers. Her woolen goods have gained a great
deal in quality and color. The earnest efforts of the manufacturers have
been aided by Government assistance and encouragement in the way of
technical schools, exhibitions, etc. Aix la Chapelle, in the Rhine Prov-
inces, Gera, Greiz, and Crimmitschau, in Saxony, are sending tons of goods
worth millions of marks to the United States, Australia, Africa, South
America, India, and China.


The number of spindles in Germany's woolen industries went up from
1*669,759 in 1861 to 2,787,373 in 1875 ^^^ ^^ 3,600,000 in 1896. Of
these, 1,600,000 spin worsted and 2,000,000 carded yarn.


The amount of raw wool spun in i860 was 41,430 tons of 2,204 pounds
each; in 1895, 19^*479 tons. The importsof raw wool were 18,300 tons in
i860, against 183,202 tons in 1895. The exports of raw wool were 4,770
tons in i860, 20,100 tons in 1875, 9,014 tons in 1890, and 11,223 tons in


The production of raw wool went up to its highest point — 38,580 tons —
in 1865, and it gradually sank to 22,500 tons in 1895.


The imports of shoddy wool were 5,325 tons in 1880, 12,240 tons in
1890, and 12,845 tons in 1895. The exports were 14,168 tons in 1880,
14,663 tons in 1890, and 15,341 tons in 1895.

Back in the forties, Germany led the nations of Europe both in the
quantity and quality of wool produced. Her exports largely exceeded her
imports, and the breeding of wool-producing sheep was one of the most
important, as it was one of the most profitable, branches of farming. This
is entirely changed; first, because of the increased value of land for other
and better- paying products, and, second, because of the enormous produc-
tion in foreign parts, viz, in the Cape colonies, lands along the I^ Plata
River in South America, and in Australia. Hence, the wool produced here
covers only one-sixth of to-day*s demands; nor does even that pay for the
efforts put forth in competition against the products of the lands cited. Nor
is much to be made out of the new move to encourage the use of home prod-
ucts, manifested more jxirticularly in an effort to com|jel merchants manu-
facturing supplies for the military and marine to use German products

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About i860, Germany had, in what now makes up the Empire, 28,000,-
000 sheep; in 1873, she had 24,999,406; in 1883, 19,189,715; in December,
1892, 13,589,61 2. In i860, there were 52 sheep to each square kilometer of
territory; in 1892, only 25.1. In i860, to each 100 inhabitants, 73 sheep;
in 1892, 27.5. The wool-producing sheep suffered most, for they came first
into competition with foreign ones. As Germany went down, the Cape
colonies, Australia, and La Plata went up. The imports from the Cape were
60,000 bales in 1886, 78,000 bales in 1890, and 104,000 bales in 1895.


Moderate protective tariffs are said to have helped the German woolen
manufacturers to hold not only their own, but to obtain a fair share of the
markets in lands not yet advanced far enough to manufacture for themselves.
At least, this is the claim made by the writer from whom I obtained most of
ray facts. In 1895, ^^^ Empire used three times as much raw wool as in
1865 ; had won back all the home markets held hitherto almost entirely by
England and France, and had gone out into all parts of the world with the
surplus products of her woolen looms, winning new fields from her powerful


That the above is no fancy picture, is proven by facts. The export of
woolen yarns went up from an average of 101,000 centners* during the
sixteen years from 1872 to 1887 to 181,000 centners in 1895. During the
same time, the export of woolen cloths and wares went up from 390,000
centners to 616,000 centners, while the imports of the latter (woolen wares
and cloths) went down from 86,000 centners to 31,600 centners.


All this success had its origin in the simplest of causes. The German
has no hesitation in getting aid where and when he can. He originates,
copies, and combines. He has his agents in France, Belgium, England,
Scotland, and the United States. He collects patterns and designs, and ex-
periments until he obtains an article equal to the original, or so nearly equal
as' to replace it by means of considerably reduced prices. He has a hun-
dred economies in his factory unknown to the English or to our manufac-
turers, or, if known, never practiced. He has also no hesitation in imitating
English or American machines. This he does, too, very successfully. He
buys one or two, takes them apart to make models, reconstructs, recombines,
and gets remarkable results.

Phenomenal as has been the Empire's success in textiles during the last
twenty-five years, the success in the iron industries has been greater. Noth-
ing pays now in Saxony so well as the many knitting, weaving, and spinning

*i ccnlncr=ii2 i>ounds.

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machine-making shops, l^rge woolen mills are being erected all over this
Kingdom, and what is true here is true of the whole Empire. We, too, are
watched. The local jmpers give columns to the discussion and consideration
of United States woolen manufactures.

The official organ of the (Government in this city has a long article in
this morning's issue dealing with the condition of the United States woolen
industries. The Frankfort Times had a similar article two or three days ago.
They know what they want and are earnestly working to obtain it. They
have cheap>er labor than we have; but that is only one factor — not the great-
est — in their success. They win because they do everything to command
success. They economize where necessary, and they are enterprising to
Yashness where enterprise is needed. They will send samples, worth a great
deal of money, free, wherever and whenever it is a question of winning
new markets.



Chemnitz, Afay 6, i8g6.


The time has apparently arrived when the j^erfection of the tanning
industry in the United States, the state of the leather market, and the con-
ditions of pKJpular demand combine to favor an important increase in the
export of American shoes to Germany.

Some months ago, it was noted in several consular reports from this
country that an Italian firm or syndicate had opened shoe stores in the lead-
ing German cities, where shoes of different patterns were offered at uniform
prices of J 2 and $2.50 per pair. These agencies at Berlin, Frankfort, Dres-
den, and, generally, throughout southern Germany appear to have been quite
successful, but at Hamburg, the enterprise failed, for the reason that the soft,
spongy, Italian leather could not withstand the mud and wet of that humid

During the past year, an association of manufacturers in Boston has opened
at Berlin a store for the sale of men's, women's, boys', and girls' shoes, and,
from all accounts, its success has been as prompt and satisfactory as that of
the similar establishment of the American Shoe Syndicate in London, which
has created such alarm among British manufacturers and economists.

But, perhaps, the most significant symptom is the fact that there is now,
among German shoe dealers who cater to the better class of trade, a definite
inquiry for shoes of American patterns. It should be understood, in ex-
planation of this demand, that in respect to all details of dress, as well as in
house building, railway cars, and many other articles of comfort and luxury,
(Jermany has made enormous progress during the past ten years. With the
general increase of wealth, the demand has been stimulated for many of

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the refinements and elegancies of life for which the people of a generation
ago, outside of a limited circle that included mainly the wealthier nobility,
knew and cared but little.

The fact has become recognized by a constantly increasing number of
people in this country that in respect to certain specialties of manufacture,
including chrome- tanned upper leathers and factory-made shoes, the Amer-
icans hold a clear and undisputed lead over all other manufacturers, not ex-
cepting those of Great Britain, to whom Germans have long been accustomed
to look for standards of excellence. English-made shoes are generally sub-
stantial and comfortable, but those of the best American makes are not only
all this, but have besides an elegance of form and finish hitherto unattained,
except by a few high-priced custom shoemakers in London and Paris. While-
the wages of shoe manufacture are higher in the United States than in any
part of Europe, our manufacturers enjoy three distinct advantages over all
competitors, viz, better and cheaper upper leathers, superior machinery, and
a factory system so perfect as to more than balance the greater initial cost of
their more skillful and more efficient labor. The net result of all these facts
and conditions is the opportunity which to-day presents itself for a large and
permanent increase of American shoe exports to Germany.

From a practical standpoint, the subject involves the two usual questions.
What special kinds of goods are best adapted to meet the existing demand,
and how best to organize and conduct the business?

From the most trustworthy information that can be obtained, the ob-
vious demand of the present market is for si>ecialties like the ** Douglas"
and *' Goodyear welt,** shoes of good form and medium price, such as are
retailed at home for I2.50 and $3.

Next in importance would be good, common shoes for working people of
both sexes, double soled and made from split or light single upper leather.
There is an especial need of good, well-made shoes of somewhat lighter
quality and medium price for boys in town and country who attend school
during the years which precede the age of military service.

Finally, the higher grades of walking shoes in black and brown chrome-
tanned leathers, as well as fine enameled dress shoes and high, laced bicycle
boots for ladies, such as are now retailed in the United States for J3.50 to
^5 P^r P^^^- ^^^ these kinds of American-made shoes, if properly introduced
and pushed, would, in the opinion of good judges, rapidly supersede the
relatively clumsy and inferior homemade goods of the same classes with
which the German market is now principally supplied.

As to the best method of organizing and conducting such a trade, there
can be no serious question. The Italian and Swiss shoemakers and the
American Shoe Syndicate have set the example and pointed out the way to
success. It is useless to expect that individual German retailers will order
and import goods directly from the United States and pay for them on the
American plan of '*draft against bill of lading." Unlike American pork,
lard, and other food products, which can be best sold here under the pretense

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that they are of German origin, the chief merit of the American -made shoe
is that it is American, and that fact can not be too prominently declared.

For the prompt improvement of the present opportunity, there should be
an organization like the American Shoe Syndicate now operating in London,
including half a dozen or more leading manufacturers whose products are
well known and cover all the grades and classes of shoes above indicated,
as well as such others as experience may show to be salable in this country.
This association should establish at a leading seaport, like Hamburg, a prin-
cipal office to land the goods, pay duties, and distribute them to subagencies
in the interior, of which there should be one each at Berlin, Leipsic, and
Frankfort, equipped and provided for both jobbing and retail trade. Each
subagency should have an exj^erienced traveling salesman, familiar with
American business methods, to operate among the better class of dealers in
neighboring towns. Sales to such dealers would probably be at first in small
quantities, not exceeding a case or two at a time, and these of sizes rather
larger than those which are most generally asked for in the United States.

Such an enterprise would require capital, energy, and good management,
but with these assured, its success would be practically certain. The more
advanced German tanners have, to a large extent, adopted American ma-
chinery and methods. The importation and local manufacture of American
shoemaking machines is fully established in this district, but it will probably
be many years before German factory-made shoes and certain classes of upper
leathers will reach the high standards of quality and cheapness that have been
attained in the United States, and the opportunity that is meanwhile offered
to our shoe manufacturers is one that should not be lost.

The duty on ready-made shoes imported into Germany is 60 marks
(J14.28) per 100 kilograms (224 pounds), which is certainly not an excessive
tax, especially on the finer and lighter qualities, the duty on which will not,
at present rates, exceed 12 to 20 cents per pair.


Frankfort, May 28 ^ i8g6.

Consul- General,


The sugar-tax amendment law, over which has been waged in the Ger-
man Parliament one of the longest and most-determined battles of recent
years, was finally enacted as a concession to the agrarian interest, and went
into effect on Monday of the present week. Its influence will be to increase
the sugar production of Germany, and, to that extent, exert a depressing
effect upon the general market and the interests of producers in other beet-
growing countries.

The circumstances which have led to the present situation are, briefly,
these: From the time when the Prussian Government began the systematic

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encouragement of the beet-sugar industry down to 1887, the tax on sugar
for home consumption was calculated upon the quantity of beets worked up
by each separate factory, it being assumed that the quantity of roots required
to produce a given weight of sugar would be uniform and invariable. The
proportion adopted was 20 units of raw beet root to i unit of sugar, which,
at the time when the law was enacted, was approximately correct.

But, under the stimulus of the export bounties provided by the same law,
the German beet growers and sugar makers worked hard and intelligently to
improve and increase their product. By careful selection and cultivation,
the beets were so improved that from 12 to 14 tons of roots would yield a
ton of sugar. Great advance was also made in the machinery and processes
employed in the sugar factories, so that, as a final result, the German Gov-
ernment, which paid nearly 12 cents per cwt. bounty on all sugar exported,
and charged a tax of the same amount on all sugar for home consumption
that could be made from 20 cwts. of beets, found that the export bounties
completely absorbed the revenue derived from the sugar tax.

This tendency of the system had become apparent as early as 1869, and
an attempt was made at that time to revise the law, but the sugar-producing
interest was powerful enough to resist this effort, and during the sugar season
of 1866-67 the Government was paying about $1.17 bounty on each 100
kilograms (220.46 pounds) of sugar exported to foreign countries. This was
more than the imperial treasury could well withstand, and the export bounty
was reduced to 2.50 marks (59.5 cents) i^r 100 kilograms — a little more
than one-foOrth of a cent per pound.

Sugar growing still continued to be the most profitable form of culture
for German farmers, the area of cultivation and number of sugar factories
continued to increase, loud complaints were heard against a system that fa-
vored one class of farmers at the expense of the entire population, and, in 1891,
the Imperial Diet reduced the sugar export bounty by half, that is, to 29.7
cents per 100 kilograms, and decreed that such bounty should entirely cease
on the 31st of July, 1897, provided that, in the meantime, Austria, France,
and other bounty- paying countries should likewise reduce their bounties on
exported sugar. Several attempts have been made to reach such an interna-
tional agreement, but without successful result, and under cover of this
failure to secure a general reduction or abolition of bounties, the German
Agrarians have rallied and secured the adoption of the present law, which
restores the export bounty of 1887 (59.5 cents per 220.46 pounds) and raises

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 65 of 102)