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Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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strong manila paper, that may be stretched on large sashes or frames and sat-
urated by painting the exposed surface with boiled linseed oil until it becomes
translucent and impervious lo water. Such i)aper is supplied by various deal-
ers and manufacturers, among others by Mr. S. Jourdan, at Mayence, who
has a branch house at Berlin and one (E. Roelker & Sons) at 136 Twenty-
fourth street, New York. The pai>er costs at Avholesale in Germany J4. 76 j^r
roll 100 meters in length by i meter in width, equal to 1,220 square feet in
each roll, which would make the price about 3^^ cents per square yard. There
is no difficulty or secret about its preparation or use. Light wooden frames
about 40 inches in width and of any desired length are provided, and covered
with the paper, which is fastened by nailing at the edges and then painted
with ordinary boiled linseed oil until the pai)cr is so .saturated that the last
coat of oil forms a smooth, glistening surface like varnish. As soon as dry,
which requires but a short time if the work is done in summer, the frame is
ready for use. It admits sufficient light for growing plants, does not require
to be shaded in hot sunshine, is light, durable, .secure against breakage by
hail or other ordinary accident, and, taking everything into account, is said
to be about one hundred times chea[)er than glass. It is largely used by
florists and market gardeners in the district of Frankfort, and their general
verdict is strongly in its favor, although for handsome conservatories, sky-
lights, balconies, etc., it possesses less durability and none of the neatness
and elegance of tectorium.

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Honiglas, — Finally, there is a new product, called "Hornglas," which
has been recently patented and put on the German market by Messrs. Pas-
tini & Co., of Niederlahnstein-on-Rhine. Hornglas resembles tectorium in
appearance, with the difference that it is thinner and consequently lighter
in weight, and the insoluble gelatin with which the wire gauze is covered is
whiter and more nearly transparent than tectorium, although it may be col-
ored red, green, blue, or any other tint that may be desired for a special pur-
l)Ose. It is manufactured in two qualities, designated respectively *' A** and
*'M** — samples of Avhich are herewith inclosed^' — the latter being made of
heavier wire and with larger meshes than the former. It is cut into lengths
of 7 meters (22.9 feet) by 47 inches in width, and is sold at wholesale for
^i 27 per square meter, or something more than 10 cents per square foot.
The,special advantage claimed for Hornglas is that it does not soften under
sun heaty and is therefore adapted to use in any climate, without the danger
of becoming soft and adhesive so as to retain dust and dirt. Its uses and
general characteristics are similar to those of tectorium.

[Report by Consul-Gcncral tie Kay.]

Local i)atent agents state that tectorium is a substitute for glass in hot-
houses, verandas, roofs of stores, etc., where considerable, but not perfect,
transparency is necessary. But I give this as hearsay, since the article can
not be found for sale in Berlin. It is fabricated at Hohenlimburg, Hagen,
Westphalia, by the firm of J. C. Koch, whose correspondents in New York
are Messrs. A. Belmont & Co. I wrote at once to J. C. Koch, but have
received no answer.


[Report by Consul-General Jones, of Rome.]

On receipt of Department's instruction requesting information relative
to the manufacture, .sale, and use of tectorium, I immediately wrote to the
Italian Minister of Agriculture, who replied as follows:

Tectorium has been used for some time in Italy, but there exists no manufactory of this
product in the Kingdom. We import tectorium principally from f Jermany.


[Report by Consul-Gencnil Karcl, of St. PeiersburR.]

The statement in the public press in the United States that tectorium
w«is used in Russia as a substitute for glass in .several instances is erroneous.
It is not manufactured or used, and not even known, in Russia for that

•Samples filed in Burciu of Statistics, Depaitment of State.

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purpose. Russia has two substances which are called tectorium, but they
are of different nature and used for a different purpose from that mentioned,
as will be seen from the explanation below. I have inquired of several
Russian glass manufacturers and merchants as to the use of tectorium as a
substitute for glass in certain cases, and all of them replied that such an
article was unknown to them, except one, who stated that he heard such a
thing was manufactured in Germany, but never saw it, and could give no

I then applied to the Russian Dei>artment of Trade and Manufacture for
information on the subject, and they said; Under the name of tectorium,
a special kind of stucco plaster, used for interior walls, to mineralize and
consolidate their smooth surface (a sort of enameled color), is known in
Russia; and under the same name is ako known a liquid composed of silicic
acid and fluoric magnesium, which is used for fortifying outside walls of all
kinds of buildings and field stones from the influence of the atmosphere.
This kind of tectorium liquid was also used for the filling of the cracks in
the monument of Emperor Alexander I, which stands in the front of the
Winter Palace in this city, and which is probably the most remarkable mon-
olith of granite in existence. It is a cylindrical pillar of one solid piece
of granite 78 feet high and 12 feet in diameter.


[Report by Consul -General Richman, of St. Gall.]

Tectorium is a texture of wire coated with a translucent gelatin com-
pound, and is designed, in a measure at least, as a substitute for window
glass. The article, however, is not manufactured in Switzerland, but at
Hohenlimburg, Westphalia, Prussia. In Switzerland, the article is sold by
Messrs. Bachofen & Hartmann, of Zurich. This firm say that the value ot
tectorium for skylights, hall roofing, windows for factories, outhouses, and
verandas is recognized, but that as yet builders have not full confidence in it,
and hence its use and sale are limited. It is made in widths 23^ and 47^4
inches, shipi>ed in rolls 23 feet in length, and sold at $1.85 per square meter
(1*550 square inches). Among the advantages claimed for this substitute
for glass are that it is flexible, can be cut to any size or shape, does not
break or splinter, and, if punctured, can easily be mended. It should, how-
ever, be stated that, though tolerably translucent, it is not transparent, and
at a high temperature the gelatin compound is apt to melt. I transmit here-
with a sample of tectorium kindly furnished me by Mr. W. H. Kemmler,
United States consul at Horgen.*

* Sample filed in the linrcau of Statistics, Department of State.

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On February 3, 1896, the following instruction was sent by the Depart-
ment to the consular officers at Buenos Ayres, Habana, Hamburg, London,
and Marseilles:

Linseed-oil dealers in the United States, who are desirous of extending their trade in for-
eign countries, have requested the Department to secure, through your good offices, information
covering the following points: Price at which the raw oil is sold; terms of i)ayment, and dis-
count, if any, for cash; quantities of oil manufactured; imports of oil, and whence imported;
best manner of introducing American oil.

Your reply will be published in the Consular Rkports for the information of all who
may be interested in the subject under consideration.

The following reports were received in answer to the foregoing instruc-


The growing of flax in the Argentine Republic is a branch of agriculture
of comparatively recent date. The commencement of its cultivation as a
regular crop is much subsequent to that of wheat. In the Argentine national
census of 1875, while the wheat harvest has a distinct mention as an expand-
ing industry, the harvest of flax is lumped among ** other crops.** The lit-
tle which at that date was grown in the country was made into oil and con-
sumed here at home. Since then, however, the growing of flax has come to
the front, especially in the province of Santa Fe, where, in 1880, there were
about 15,000 acres in flax; in the province of Buenos Ayres, j^erhaps half
that number of acres. In 1882, the production had so increased that, be-
sides supplying the home demand, 7,000 tons were exported. In 1883, the
exports of flaxseed amounted to 21,500 tons. In 1893, ^^^^ exports reached
72,149 tons, valued at J2, 887, 975, probably as much more being consumed
in the country in the manufacture of linseed oils. In 1894, the area in flax
cultivation in the province of Santa Fe was estimated to be 540,000 acres
and the production 320,000 tons of seed; and in the province of Buenos
Ayres, the area in flaxseed had increased from 60,000 acres in 1880 to 250,000
acres in 1894, the great bulk of the crop of seed being manufactured into oil
here at home, though the exports that year amounted to 104,435 tons, val-
ued at ?3, 583, 459. I have not the complete returns for 1895, ^"^ ^^^ ^^^
nine months ended September 30 the shipments amounted to 273,354 tons,

♦The first pan of this report, *' flax and flaxseed," was prejKired by Consul Baker previous lo his receipt
of ihc Dcparimeni instruction relative to linseed oil, and was received at the Department in separate form, but,
by the consul's request, contained in his report in answer to the instruction, both reports are used.

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valued at $8,200,524. These figures sufficiently indicate that the harvest of
linseed is each year becoming more important and more valuable.

In the past, no use has been made of the flax stalks, owing in part to the
lack of facilities for extracting the fiber. More recently, however, there has
been some demand here for the fiber, and now no inconsiderable portion is
saved, with assurances that better appliances for retting and hackling it will
soon be in operation. Last year, according to the Prensa (newspaper), up-
wards of 90,000 tons of the fiber were saved, though I think the figures are
exaggerated. The fiber is mostly used in the manufacture of thread, cord-
age, coarse linen, and bagging. The exports of the fiber last year amounted
to 445 tons.

The bulk of the exports of flaxseed goes to Great Britain, Belgium, and
France. The following table shows in detail the different countries to which
the surplus of 1893 and 1894 were sent :








France j iS^ioa

Italy « Mj



Great ISrttnin


Not named



















The exports of linseed cake for the years 1893 ^"^ '^94 were as follows:







Great Britain..


There were no exports of the flax fiber during the year 1893. The ship-
ments for 1894 were as follows: Belgium, 279 tons; Brazil, i ton; France,
151 tons; (ireat Britain, 14 tons; total, 445 tons.

It will be observed that the United States do not figure in these tables at
all. During the years 1S93 and 1894 there were no shipments to the United
States; in 1S89, however, linseed to the value of ^301,181 was invoiced at

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this consulate for New York, and in 1890 to the value of $35,382. During
the year 1895 ^^^ invoices of linseed from this port to New York amounted
to 1^786,507 in gold, but the full details of the exports of that year have not
yet been published by the Argentine Government.

In regard to the crop of the presjent year, the reports which have been
received are not very reassuring. There is an increased acreage, but the
weather, owing to excessive rain, has not been favorable to the maturing of
the seed, and it is generally conceded that* the harvest will be less than the
year previous. There is this to be said, in regard to the cultivation of flax
in the Argentine Republic — it is not a certain crop. Sometimes it is too
much rain, sometimes it is too little rain, sometimes it is an insect, which
eats the blooms and destroys the germs, and sometimes it is the locust,
which destroys the whole plantation.

The flax industry of the Argentine Republic, however, is capable of
almost unlimited expansion, as all parts of the great provinces of Buenos
Ayres, Santa F6, Entre Rios, and Cordoba, and the territories of Formosa,
Chaco, and Rio Negro are well adapted to the growth of flax. It is esti-
mated that I acre of the flax will produce from $20 to $35 worth of the
seed and about 2 tons of fiber, worth from $4 to J5 per ton.

The price of linseed is quoted on the Buenos Ayres exchange per 100
kilograms, and that quantity of the seed is now worth about J3 in gold.

The duty on vegetable oils imported into the country is 10 cents per
kilogram. There is no export duty on linseed. The house which has of
late been doing the largest business in linseed and canary seed with the
United States is that of Messrs. Bunge & Borne, of this city.


I have no means of determining the amount of linseed consumed in the
country; but there are now more than twenty-five oil mills in the Argentine
Republic, whose producing capacity amounts to 40 tons of oil per day, or,
say, 12,000 tons per annum. ' These mills, however, are not confined to the
manufacture ©f linseed oil. They also turn out olive, peanut, turnip, and
colza, or rape-seed, oil. The product of olive oil alone last year was esti-
mated to be 5,000 tons. So far as linseed oil is concerned, the country is
now quite able to produce all that it requires, and each year shows a decreas-
ing importation. In 1892, the imports of linseed were 792 tons; in 1893,
they were 290 tons; in 1894, they were 137 tons; and for nine months of
1895, they were 109 tons. Meanwhile, the exports of linseed oil are becom-
ing quite an important item in the commerce of the country. In 1892, the
shipments amounted to 809 tons; in 1893, to 1,236 tons; and in 1894,
to 424 tons — a falling off", which was owing to the partial failure of the

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The exports of linseed oil during the years 1893 and 1894 were as
follows :




Great Britain








31, 2?*^

The oil mills have also found in Europe a market for the refuse, or oil
cake, and there are now regular shipments of that article. In 1892, tlie
exports were 4,366 tons; in 1893, 3,364 tons; in 1894, 6,885 tons; and for
nine months of 1895, 6,339 tons.

The linseed-oil manufacturers and dealers in the United States inquire if
there are opportunities for extending their trade to the Argentine Republic.
In reply, I have to say: In view of the large quantity of that oil now pro-
duced in the country, and which is already greater than the necessities of
the home market, the prospects would not seem to be very promising. The
linseed-oil industry here has already assumed such proportions that the de-
mand for the foreign article is growing less and less every year. As we
have seen, the trade returns show that the Argentine Republic already
exports more linseed oil than it imports. Thus, in 1893, ^^ imported 2 So
tons and exported 1,236 tons; in 1894, it imported 137 tons and exported
424 tons. The trade returns of the last year have not yet been published.
The importations of the oil in 1893 and 1894 came from the following

From —



United Sutes .



Great Britain .,
Not named




















. 4,309


I, Baa















» 37, 254


Thus it will be seen that nearly the entire importations of the oil into
the country came from Great Britain. The custom-house valuation of the
oil is 20 cents per kilogram. The duty in 1894 was 12 cents per kilogram;
for the present year it is 10 cents per kilogram. On crude oils of ihq
weight of tar the duty is 5 per cent ad valorem.

The oil that comes to the Argentine Republic is put up in wooden casks,
and also in drums or cylinders holding 4 and 5 gallons, respectively.

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In wooden casks, ihe price for crude oil is about J5 (paper currency) per
10 kilograms, and for boiled oil about J5.50 (paper) per 10 kilograms; in
drums of 4 gallons, the price for crude and boiled is J9.50 (paper), and
in drums of 5 gallons about Jii (paper). The value of the paper dollar at
present is about 30 cents in gold. The terms of payment arc conventional.
That from Great Britain is always sold on credit; but, of course, there
would be a discount for cash payment.

I can hardly say what would be the best method of introducing Ameri-
can oil, though certainly, unless there were a special agent here to dispose
of it, it would have to be done through dealers in that line of goods.


Blienos Avres, March 5, i8(p6. Consul,


Referring to the Department's instruction of the 3d instant requesting
information for the linseed-oil dealers in the United States, I have to say
that from inquiries made of the leading importers of the article in this city,
I learn tliere is no market here for linseed oil of American manufacture or
of other foreign countries, owing to the differential duty favoring the same
article of Si^anish production, which is imported here from Spain in barrels
of about 50 gallons each and sold at ^9.50 to %\o per quintal (100 pounds)
for cash, with 8 per cent discount, and pays 15 per cent duty on the tariff
valuation of ^10.05, or, say $1.50 per 190 kilograms (220.46 pounds),
while that from foreign countries pays on the same weight J10.05, plus 15
per cent, making ^11.55, giving thereby a protective duty in favor of
Spanish linseed oil of %\o.^^ per 100 kilograms.


Habana, February ig^ i8g6. Consul- General.


The production of linseed oil at Marseilles, it has been found upon inquiry
since the receipt of the Deimrtment instruction concerning the subject, like
other vegetable oils, is of considerable proportions, but, unlike other oils,
particularly peanut and copra, the annual product appears to be decreasing.
The average imports of the grain or seed for the ten years ended with 1893
were in excess of 10,000,000 kilograms (22,046,000 pounds), but in 1894, the
total quantity was 8,164,000 kilograms (17,998,000 pounds), while in 1895
the total decreased to about 6,000,000 kilograms (13,227,600 pounds).
This decline will be seen to be of very great importance when it is stated
that for the ten years from 187 1 to 1880, inclusive, the average imports
were 16,244,600 kilograms (35,822,845 pounds), while from i88x to 1890
(he average was 10^841, 5^0 ki}og;rams (2^,poi;286 pounds).

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The seed has commanded a price, recently, varying from $4.63 to ^5. 07
per 100 kilograms (220.46 i)ounds), or, in our weights, from 2 to 2}^ cents
per pound. The seed is imported from Roumelia and Anatolia, in Turkey,
from Syria, and from J^ombay. Much the larger part at present comes from
Bombay, and the prices given above are those quoted for Bombay seed.

Naturally, the amount of oil produced has declined in like proportion to
the seed, the total product for 1895 by the refineries at Marseilles being
2,500,000 kilograms (5,511,500 pounds). This total was produced by four
manufacturers, viz: B. Roberty & Co., i Place de Lurette; Victor Regis
& Co., 13 Rue Estelle; Juillard & Guiol, 39 Rue Dieud^; and Gardair
Frcres, 2 Rue Villeneuve.

This home product was augmented in 1894 by the importation of 77,000
kilograms (158,754 pounds), of which 74,000 kilograms (153,140 pounds)
came from England and the balance from different countries. Of course, this
does not take into consideration the considerable quantity which is brought
annually from other parts of France, particularly the neighborhood of Paris,
and which, for a reason explained below, is gradually growing. The figures
of the chamber of commerce for 1895 ^^^ "^^ X^' complete, and at this time
it is not possible to state the amount imported during 1895 ^^ ^^^ countries
of origin. The quantity, however, was practically the same as in 1894, and
nearly all of the imported oil, as in that year, came from England. Indeed,
the relatively small (quantity imported is annually derived from the latter
country, though the United States furnished 10,000 kilograms (22,046
pounds) in 1893.

As above stated, the home product for 1895 was 2,500,000 kilograms
(5,511,500 pounds). About one-half of this quantity is what is known in
the market as ** superfine oil," and this is sold in the northern and central
parts of France and used for table purposes. As salad oil or for cooking
uses, it must be consumed at an early date after refining, as, miless mixed
with other oils, it tpiickly becomes rancid and unpalatable. It is, perhaps,
for this reason, that we consume in the United States but little, if any, lin-
seed oil bearing a gold label and stamped as a superior quality of olive
oil, the dealers, or ** blenders," as they might be called, finding it more
advantageous to supply American tables with the oil of peanuts.

The other half of the Marseilles product, amounting, in round figures, to
1,250,000 kilograms (2,755,750 pounds) in 1895, ^^ sold to the wholesale
dealers and druggists by the manufacturer, and is used principally for mixing
paints. Of this amount, perhaps 900,000 kilograms (1,984,140 pounds)
was consumed at Marseilles and on French territory drawing its supplies
from this city. The remainder, about 350,000 kilograms (771,610 pounds)
was exported to the following countries in approximately the quantities
named: Italy, 1,000 kilograms (2, 204 pounds); England, 1,000 kilograms;
Algeria, 1 37,000 kilograms (302,030 pounds); Spain, 1,000 kilograms; Rus-
sia, 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds); Austria, 7,000 kilograms (15,433
pounds; ; Turkey, 55,000 kilograms (121,553 pounds) ; west coast of Africa,

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8,000 kilograms (17,637 pounds); all other countries (none to the United
States), 138,000 kilograms (304,235 pounds).

The oil is sold by weight, and always by the 100 kilograms (220.46
pounds). At present the superfine oil, for table purposes, commands 60
francs per 100 kilograms ($11.58 per 220.46 pounds) net. The common oil
for paints is bringing from 48 to 52 francs ($g. 26 to $10.04) ^or ^he same quan-
tity. These prices are for cash payment, and it may be stated that this is
the rule of business at Marseilles in all branches of industry. No discount
is allowed, and the price when given is usually meant for cash. The French
business man, particularly when selling abroad, is intensely hostile to any
suggestion in the nature of future payment.

The so-called superfine oil is sold in barrels that have contained Ameri-
can cotton-seed oil, and these are bought on the market here at about 8
fiancs($i.54)each. New barrels of the same, or similar, quality cost 15 francs
($2.90) each. For the commoti oil the manufacturer obtains empty petro-
leum barrels, and it is sold in these either for export or home consumption.
The barrels cost about $1.15 each. It should be stated that the prices of the
oil given above do not include the barrel, which is paid for by the purchaser,
or, in the case of druggists or others located at Marseilles, is often furnished
to the manufacturer by the buyer.

An important feature connected with the production of linseed oil, as
will be readily understood by those interested in the trade in the United

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 79 of 102)