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Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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designing for textiles and designs for decorating.

The great rush of recent years to the profession of designing has caused
no end of serious protest and complaint from the present corps of skilled
representatives of this branch of pattern designing in Germany; because, as
in every field of industry, extensive competition has a tendency to reduce
the standard of a profession through lack of time to properly acquire careful
and expert workmanship. On this account, much indignation has been di-
rected against the academies of fine arts, and wrongfully, since only the
smallest percentage of designers are graduated from these academies. The
larger number of late designers, so-called finished, are trained in the work-
shops of manufacturers or independent designers, which turn out many
apprentices with educations still sadly in need of further experience and

The Union of Manufacturers at Plauen, in common with expert designers
of that city, realizing this drawback to the future of skilled pattern drawers
and designers, have unanimously voted to exert every effort to bring about a
better and more thorough teaching of apprentices, or otherwise to entirely
put an end to the system of private apprenticeships or workshop methods,
thereby promoting the interest of learners and upholding a high standard for
the future of the pattern-drawing art. America needs more academies where

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proficiency in this art of pattern drawing and designing can be attained on
the principle of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Trades in Dresden or
in Plauen, as explained, as well as more preparatory schools, exclusively
devoted to this and all branches of applied design.

Glauchau, December 16, i8g6. Consul.


This consulate and, in fact, all consulates in Germany are daily in re-
ceipt of letters from American manufacturers and business houses, many of
them inclosing circulars and catalogues, printed in English, and some in
Spanish, requesting consuls to send them names of manufacturers and dealers
here. Some of them even go so far as to request the consuls to personally
represent their houses here, and offer a commission on all goods sold by
them. Others ask us to select a good, reliable agent for them, and really
expect us to be able to do so on the strength of their letters, circulars, and
catalogues. We can not do this, nor could they themselves. Of course,
we reply to all such letters and offer our advice and suggestions as to what we
consider the best method for them to adopt to get a start and foothold here,
but I think a statement issued by the Department of State and published in
our newspapers in America would be a most beneficial and effective method
of reaching those parties interested in doing, or desiring to do, business in
this country.

In my opinion, there is only one way for our merchants to establish
a trade or do business in Germany, and I write to all who inquire of me
that circulars, catalogues, and letters to consuls is money thrown away.
Consuls are perfectly willing to do anything in their power to forward the
interests of their countrymen and to help them in any way in their power,
but if Americans want to do business in Germany, they must sell directly to
the merchants and dealers and not through agents, brokers, and commission
men at the seaports, so that our products shall reach the consumer in better
shape, give the satisfaction due to their merits, command a good price, and
do away with the criticisms they are now so often subject to, such as being
stale, dry, old, etc. If our merchants will take hold of the European trade
in the right way, or, to be more explicit, in an American way, as they do
business in America, bring themselves either personally or through their rep-
resentatives into direct contact with their customers, bring or send over their
samples, and do one-fifth of the advertising they do at home, I am satisfied
the results will prove satisfactory.

A great many American houses have agents at the seaport towns or send
their goods there to brokers and commission men. This method, of course,
increases the price on all articles sold to dealers, buyers, and consumers
throughout the country, and, besides, the manufacturer himself, or through

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his representatives, never comes into contact with the people with whom he
is doing business. This is a great mistake ; they do not do business in this
way in the United States, and I am at a loss to understand why they should
expect to meet with any success in this country by this method. The Ger-
mans thoroughly understand how to get trade in a foreign country, and their
plan of action is what I have endeavored to make plain. If our people will
follow this plan, I have no doubt they will meet with success and be satisfied
with the results. But whether this country will permit them to hold the
trade once obtained is a serious and vital question. That the Germans
will throw all kinds of obstacles in the way, there is not the slightest ques-
tion. They will first commence by raising the tariff, and if that does not
suffice, they will adopt other methods. They have done this so often that
we always look forward to it and are seldom, if ever, disappointed.

Germans are for Germany, and Germany is for the Germans. Protec-
tion for home products is their watchword. They are perfectly willing to
spread out in every country in the world with their products, but they want
none here but their own. They want our dollars, ** silver or gold,*' but
they do not want us to have any of theirs.


Mavence, December i6y i8g6. Consul.


I inclose herewith a translation of an article entitled ** American wares
in Germany,*' which was published in the Deutsche Warte in its issue of
November 20, 1896. It may be of some interest to the Department and to
our manufacturers.

From information I have lately gathered, it would seem that we should,
with competent agents, be able to do a good business in cheese, if it is of
the best quality and all the ingredients beyond doubt; furniture, if the Ger-
man agent does not ask prohibitive prices, as some are doing on roller-top
desks, for which they ask 280 marks ($66.64) when the desks cost but |2o in
New York and should be offered here at not more than 150 marks (I35.70),
which price would give the importer a good profit. I have received a sug-
gestion that the office chairs should be packed with the desk and save much
of the cost of freight. Certainly, chairs that sell in New York for $3 and |4,
should be sold here for less than 70 and 80 marks (|i6.66 and I19.04), and
that is the price the importer is asking. My informant also suggests that
the furniture should be imported unpolished, on account of a cheaper rate of
duty on such goods.

Our merchants should have Americans as their agents and not trust their
ventures to Germans. It is only natural that if the agent is handling goods
of his own country he will give them the preference.

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The article referred to is (translated) as follows :


It is known that the United States ha^e caused much anno3rance and vexation to the Ger-
man exporters by their ever-changing customs policy, and that they have, with great eager-
ness, endeavored to secure new fields for the sale of their articles in Germany. These efforts
have been crowned with success in the same measure that the exports of Germany to the
United States have decreased.

The value of the goods exported from the United States to Germany amounted, in 1894,
to $92,357,163 ; in 1895, to ^^92,053,753 ; and in 1896, to 597.949»95o.* (The report year
begins on the 1st of July of every year, viz, 1896 from the ist of July, 1895, to the 30th of
June, 1 896). The export of Germany to the United States amounted, in 1 894, to $94,240,833 ;
in 1895, ^^ $81,014/^65 ; while 1896 showed only an export of $69,387,905.11.

From the United States ** everything" is sent to Germany — china, feathers, yarn, thread,
furs, glassware, hats, hides, hardware of all kinds, meerschaum, colors, paper, soap, shells,
spice, sugar, toys, walkingsticks, wool, medicines, machines, leather, petroleum, bicycles,
gloves, jewelry, wood (lumber) and articles of wood, articles of metal, goatskins, etc. They
have also begun to export barley for breweries to Germany, and not without success. The
import from there of barley amounted in former years to but a few hundred centners, while
from January i to August of this year there was sold to Germany 267,799 double centners;
formerly, Austria and Hungary, and, since 1894, Russia alone exported barley to Germany.
There are also in Germany districts which raise excellent barley for breweries. The conse-
quence will be (if the United States continue to send large supplies to the German market)
the sinking of the price of barley, and hence wild competition.

The American dealers in flour have also said to themselves : " In Germany, they have
money; there a good business can be done." While the si>eculators in 1891 only sold 3,221
double centners of ground production in Germany, they succeeded in 1895 ^^ selling 46,998
double centners. Neither have they been inactive this year, as their import for the first eight
months amount to 45,536 double centners, against 28,199 double centnersf in the same period
last year. In order to promote the export of flour, the Republican members of the Commit-
tee on Ways and Means have suggested to the House of Representatives a modification of
the customs regulations and a return to the system of reciprocity; so a great danger is over our
producers of meal.

The import of American dried fruit has increased in the same manner, and also that of
American apples.

At the present time, particular attention is given in America to the cultivation of fruit. It
is no wonder that the import in 1895 amounted to 52,624 double centners, against 21,339 ^^
1894. We think that there is hardly any need of mentioning that this year a great, far greater
amount has been imported ; in the first eight months, there were almost as many double cent-
ners as in the whole year of 1895, viz, 52,337. This should set us to thinking. Wine of
American origin now comes in large supplies to the German market. In 1894, the import
of wine amounted to 7,000 hectoliters; in 1895, to 12,000 hectoliters. The importation of
American mixed wines especially advanced on account of the reduction of the duty of 10

America is avaricious, and for this reason she has commenced to sell horses to Germany.
In former years, the number received was not more than ten, twenty, or thirty, and these

•The editor of the Deutsche Wartc evidently underestimates German trade in the United States and over-
estimates American trade in Germany. Our imports from Germany in 1896 amounted to 194,340,833, nearly
all manufactures, while our export to Germany during the same year amounted to ^2,791,639, nearly all raw
material ; for insunce, raw cotton amounted to $41,750,000, and breadstufiis and provisions to about $1 5,000,000
in our exports to Germany in 1896.

t Our exports of flour to Germany in 1896 amounted to only 190,844 barrels, valued at $632,569. Holland
took 664,435 barrels, valued at $3,390,861, during the same yeiur.

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338 Germany's export methods.

horses were for sporting purp>oses ; but thb has changed, for, since 1894-95, German dealers
have purchased thousands of American horses. This fact is illustrated by the report of the
American consul at Bremen, who estimates the horses imported from America into Germany
from the beginning of 1895 to the spring of 1896 at ten thousand at least. They were
chiefly work horses that fetched an average price of 850 marks each, i. ^., a total of 8,500,000

Dealers in Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg make regular purchases of American horses
and through their sale put enormous profits in their pockets. So great has the trade become
that large freight steamers have been chartered for transportation of horses from America in
lieu of the small steamers hitherto used.

Finally, we must say a word of the imjwrt of American butter, for it will give the German
producer a headache.* In 1893, the United States exported to Germany only 430 centners;
in 1894, this amount was increased to 5,968 centners, and in 1895, ^^ 7)5^^ centners, and the
import of 1895 has been surpassed in the first eight months of this year, for, according to
official statistics, it amounts to 7,976 centners.

All these statements, which were taken from ofBcial records and carefully arranged, show
a danger to Germany from the west, which should not be undervalued — a danger both to
German industry and agriculture, and it would be a daring undertaking to repel it, consider-
ing our circumstances.

The only means of recovering the enormous sums that are going abroad and to America
is in following the exhortation we have so often addressed to our German manufacturers —
conquer new fields of trade in foreign countries.

Plauen, November 21 ^ i8g6. Consul.


Much has been written on the subject of the extension of our trade with
Europe by officers of the consular service and valuable advice has been given
by that body, which, if followed, would, by this time, have borne fruit.

The manufacturers of the United States, in a half-hearted way, through
circulars, which are not even written in the language of the customer for
whom they are intended, hope they will, by their written words and illus-
trated price lists, be able to compete with the pushing German or French
traveler, who visits every small town in the district assigned to him with the
samples of his wares, explains the construction of the machine or the utility
of the article he represents, and in every other way known to an experienced
salesman induces his customers to purchase.

Against this force, the American manufacturer places his circular; is it
any worder that he gets no trade?

What do our manufacturers do at home ? Do they confine themselves to
the issue of circulars to the American public? No. Our manufacturers,
when they are seeking for trade, advertise in every paper that will reach
their customers through advertisement agencies; they .send their travelers

* In 1896, our exports of butter to Germany were valued at only $140,000, while our exports of oleoiiiai:gariDe
thereto amounted to $1,775,454.

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all over the country; they canvass every corner of the Republic; in fact, they
do just as the German manufacturer does, but they do more of it and in a
better manner, for they have learned by years of experience that they must
do this if they wish to keep even with their competitors. Knowing this
condition and the requirements of the trade and the way it is conducted in
every manufacturing country of the world, is it not strange that our manu-
facturers should base their hopes of placing their articles on the markets of
foreign countries through the medium of circulars alone, and circulars that
are printed in a language that can not be understood by the very people for
whom they tire intended?

We have, among our manufacturers some exceptions, some who under-
stand that they can not build up their trade through circulars, who have
boldly sent out their agents and gathered the fruit of trade, but they are few.

Let us turn from the methods adopted by our manufacturers to those
prevalent in Germany. We will see that the circular, while it plays its part,
is but the smallest of the agents used in the development of trade. Their
agents cover the whole world with their sample cases; they study, not how
to force what Germany thinks the people should purchase, but what the peo-
ple of the various countries want; tastes are consulted as well as the wishes
of the people; the conditions of purchase are modified to conform to the
wishes and customs of the country in which the agent is. When we consider
all these facts, there is no need to wonder at the rapid advance of Germany
or of her trade covering the globe.

One of the great forces employed in spreading German trade are their
export associations — cooperative societies formed by the manufacturers of
the country, each member paying his yearly proportion of the cost. These
associations have travelers who cover every country of the globe, and each
traveler has his special article. It is the duty of these travelers to study the
requirements of the people of the various countries, to purchase samples of
the manufacture of the foreign nations, report from time to time to the home
office and forward his collection of samples. With their prices, these sam-
ples are formed into collections for the benefit of the members of the asso-
ciation. Thus they see what other countries are manufacturing and the
price of manufacture ; they then can judge the possibility of competition.

Not only do the agents of the association do this for the manufacturers,
but they do more; they bring back new ideas which give a fresh impulse to
the home manufacturers, which results in new articles, or old ideas are im-
proved and developed.

The German export associations, backed by the technical schools and
energy of the people, are demonstrating to the world that there is no country
that can manufacture better goods.

In no manner is the strength of organization against feeble, unorganized
efforts better portrayed than in the results obtained by the export associa-
tions of Germany in placing their manufactured articles on the markets of
the world.

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How shall we remedy our condition ? This is the question to be answered,
the problem to be studied, and upon its solution, as our country increases
in factories, as our people increase in numbers, we must depend for the in-
crease in our foreign trade, which is demanded if we wish to keep our work-
ers working and our ever-growing population happy and contented.

We have in New York three associations which are formed on somewhat
similar lines to the German — the American Association to Aid Exports, the
American Export Association, and the United States Export Association.
There are also some others in Chicago and Philadelphia. In the latter city,
there is a museum where there are collected samples from the various coun-
tries of the world. The manufacturers of our country should see that in
every city of the Union there is such an association and museum, for it is
through these, and associations of a like nature, that they will gain the in-
formation they require, which will enable them to place their articles on the
markets of the world.

A single manufacturer would hesitate before undertaking to send his
agents out in the world to hunt for new markets, for the expense would cer-
tainly be considerable and the experiment, costing, as it would, many thou-
sands of dollars if it were well done, might bring him nothing back.

The association does this for him at a very slight expense in comparison
with the information it supplies.

Take, for example, an American export association with a membership
of five hundred firms. Each member paying $500 yearly to the association,
we have a working income of 1^250,000. The home office would require,
say —

For expenses, printing, salaries, etc $50,000

Salaries of travelers 100,000

Expenses of travelers 75. 000

Samples purchased by agents 20,000

Minor expenses 5, 000

Total 250,000

Would not this money be well spent and for the best interests of our
manufacturers? Could they get the same information at the same cost in
any other way? Would not the information, sample collection, and other
reports of the agents of the association furnish them with the best data re-
garding foreign markets?

The agents of such associations would have the hearty support of every
United States consul, who would work hand in hand with them for the ad-
vancement of American trade.

The report of the Saxon Export Association for the years 1895-96 is before
me; I give a few extracts from it :

We especially call the attention of our members to our new collection of samples of the
home industry. The importance of this collection can not be exaggerated, for a purchaser is
not always able to visit every factory. Their time will not allow them to do so. In the col-
lection of the association, the samples are so listed and placed that a purchaser is able to see

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pegamoid: a new industry in glrmany. 341

the entire lot in the shortest possible time. We earnestly request every manufacturer to be-
come a member of this association. The use of the samples of our members for any dishonest
purpose is impossible, and, if required, we will place them under lock.

In the foreign agencies of the association, several changes have taken place, as some agents
did not seem to answer the requirements. Our agents in the Balkan States and Turkey had
to work under many unfavorable conditions; some of our members have also suffered, but the
association worked energetically to protect its members against loss, and, in most cases, suc-
ceeded in securing a satisfactory settlement.

New agents have been appointed in the principal places, on recommendations from experts.

The general idea is that the agent should only handle those lines of merchandise ^ilh
which he is thoroughly familiar.

In protecting the interests of our members, the information bureau is happy to say that it
has made great advances, as also in the development of solid business relations. Many firms
have been repaid a thousandfold through this bureau of the association, which draws its data
from sources not open to the pub.ic.

The reports received from the travelers of the association in South Africa tell us that they
have had a marked success, and have good hopes of more ; but it must be borne in mind that
the English influence had to be combatted. The home manufacturer must now take the
matter in hand and advance his business on the lines indicated by the reports and addresses
procured by the travelers of the association.

The association sent to Japan and China a native Chinaman, who had lived for many
years in Europe and understood German trade and manufacture. He was accredited from
the German Government to all German consuls ; this insured his being well received.

His report states that it will take some time to open those countries to our trade. His
exertions have met with some good results, for orders have been received from those countries.

These are but a few of the principal points in the report of the Saxon
Export Association, but they suffice to show that it has become a most valu-
able aid to the manufacturers of Saxony.

If our manufacturers will combine to support such associations as already
exist and form new ones, doing the work as Americans do, they can be sure
of remunerative results.


Plauen, November 14^ 18 g6. Consul,


A new industry of great importance is to be established in the city of
Crefeld. A number of wealthy, influential citizens of this city have secured
the sole right and privilege of manufacturing, for Germany, an article called
"pegamoid," concerning which I have gathered some information that will
prove cff sufficient interest to submit the same in the following report:

Under the name and firm of Deutsche Pegamoid-Gesellschaft, Crefeld, a
company has just been organized for the purpose of manufacturing for the
Empire of Germany an article invented by a photographer of London, Eng-
land, and known in the market by the name of ''pegamoid.'* Pegamoid is
a crystal-clear, gelatinous fluid, which is easily applied to almost any mate-
rial. After a substance has been saturated with pegamoid it resists all and
No. 198 4.

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every influence of humidity, acids, oils, and various other fatty substances
without the least deprivation of quality and appearance. It is claimed that
every texture, from the finest to the coarsest qualities, and also papers of all
kinds can be manipulated with this new invention.

The association at Crefeld intends to start with imitations of all kinds of
leather, tapestry, and wall paper. All fabrics and articles treated with pega-

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 48 of 82)