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

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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1902. From that year, it is intimated, Hungary will act under a
customs law of its own, whereby a duty will be imposed on the im-
portation of Austrian as well as other foreign products. Coincident
with this change, Hungary will offer special encouragement and in-
ducements to the establishment of factories within its borders. Now,
it has practically none, being essentially an agricultural country.

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Grave fears are entertained by Austrian manufacturers as to the re-
sults of such a policy. It may not be carried out, but the possibility
tends to restrict improvements and extensions in Austrian factories.


In view of present adverse conditions and threatening prospects,
Austrian exporters are strengthening and solidifying the association
which they have for years maintained, and are seeking substantial
cooperation from the Government. The Ministry of Commerce has
prepared a series of suggestions, which were laid before a conference
of exporters on the 8th of this month. The document presents food
for thought to American exporters, as well as to those for whose
benefit it is specially intended, as will appear from the following
summary of its principal points:

(i) It is proposed that technical experts be sent to foreign coun-
tries, to such places as themselves export the class of articles which
the experts specially represent. Each expert must first demonstrate
the necessary knowledge of languages and of the wares he is to rep-
resent, and must devote a certain time to studying the home manu-
facture of the article with which he is specially concerned.

(2) Each expert will receive from the Austrian Government for
the first year of his service abroad 5,000 to 8,000 florins ($2,000 to
$3,200), according to the expense to which he is subjected. He must
during this year study the conditions and possibilities of each place,
introduce the goods which he specially represents, and eventually
procure and send orders to Austria.

(3) The expert will receive from the principal whom he repre-
sents such additional compensation for business he creates and con-
cludes as may be agreed on by contract between them.

(4) For the second year, if his service prove useful, the expert
representative will receive from the Government an additional sum
of 3,000 to 4,000 florins ($1,200 to $1,600).

(5) The Ministry of Commerce will bind every representative by
a contract, in which the details of his work are set forth. His atten-
tion must be devoted exclusively to the Austrian export trade.

(6) The business connection between the representatives and the
Austrian industries shall be such as to insure direct communication
with both individual firms and export syndicates. These syndicates,
unions of various individual concerns, are for the purpose of gaining
strength by harmony of action, of improving the credit of the firms
belonging thereto, of preventing ruinous competition, and of aiding
in the enlargement of the productive force of those firms. The Gov-
ernment will relieve these syndicates of all taxes in their export

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(7) The business relations between exporter and representative
abroad will be promoted through the medium of a home financial
institution. It is to be insured against loss by elaborate provisions
respecting the securities required for the use of its money.

The Minister of Commerce has submitted his plan to the various
chambers of commerce in Austria, together with a separate docu-
ment containing an earnest appeal for united and vigorous action
on the part of all concerned to repair mistakes that may have been
made and to op€[n new avenues through which to push Austrian


Unfortunately, the proposition of the Government encounters
opposition from the Austrian industries. At the present writing,
that opposition seems to be unanimous. A circular has been issued
and widely distributed by the Central Union of Austrian Industries,
of which practically all the large factories and exporters of the Em-
pire are members, declaring that the Government plan of export
promotion is materially different from that contemplated by the asso-
ciation of exporters; and that the Government sprung its plan with
suddenness, which indicated a purpose rather to thwart the aims of
the association than to open new avenues of foreign trade. The
circular refers to the fact that the Government has appropriated
250,000 florins ($100,000) for export purposes, and declares it reason-
able to believe that this sum will find its way into the pockets of
politically favored exporters.

Influential newspapers join the exporters in opposing the Gov-
ernment plan. In some quarters, the race antipathy crops out, mani-
festing itself in insinuations that the Government is truckling to the
Tschechs and Poles, to the detriment of the German element. There
is no visible ground for such an assumption ; but it serves to show
how, on every possible occasion, the race question comes forward in
Austria. The most valid objection to the Government plan, and the
one entertained by exporters generally, is that it contemplates bureau-
cratic control and active management of export transactions. This,
the exporters say, is both undesirable and impracticable. They
claim that officials and clerks in the Ministry of Commerce can not
be informed, as they and their employees are, concerning the best
methods to be adopted in the export trade, and that, consequently,
the direction and control should be solely in the hands of the export
association. But the exporters are anxious for Government aid.
The appropriation of 250,000 florins they consider wholly inadequate,
and regard 5,000,000 florins ($2,000,000) as none too large an annual
sum to carry out their plans.

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The generally accepted idea of what should be done includes the
establishment of commercial houses in charge of skilled and ener-
getic young business men in China, India, Egypt, South Africa, Asia
Minor, and Japan, and in the United States one at an interior central
point like Chicago and another on the eastern seaboard. It is said
that such a house in Singapore is already assured. Each of the men
in charge of these missions must contract to remain there a period of
years, and must understand the language there spoken and have a
thorough knowledge of the wares the export of which he is to pro-
mote. The Government proposition essentially covers this plan,
excepting in its provision for Government control.

The antagonism of purpose between Government and exporters
may prevent action from any quarter. Pessimists say it will. Op-
timists are confident that compromise will eventually clear away all
difficulties. The long-continued depression has driven many ex-
porters almost to desperation. On this fact, if on nothing else, can
be founded an expectation that something will be done. The case
is one of dire necessity.

Among the generally discussed means of advancing Austria's
export trade is that of securing colonial possessions. According to
report, the Government is already looking toward the Orient with
that end in view. An Austrian war ship sailed this week from Trieste,
and it is rumored that she is bound for a Chinese port on a mission
connected with the promotion of the export trade.

Frank W. Mahin,

Reichenberg, March 2j, iSpp. Consul.


Since the ist of October, 1898, there has existed in Vienna a com-
mercial school of an entirely original organization. This is prima-
rily shown from the fact that the institution is directed by a high official
of the Austrian Ministry of Commerce. This direction is not merely
nominal, but is evidenced, -apart from daily influence on the life of
the pupils, by weekly conferences under the chairmanship of the
director himself, which have the purpose of receiving from each of
the teachers a report of the studies of the past week and those to be
taken up in the coming one. Every topic, even in its smallest de-
tails, is in direct relation to the object of the institution. This
object is the promotion of the Austrian export trade. No serious
patron of the academy wishes that the young men, immediately
after finishing their studies, should become Austrian exporters. On

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the contrary — and this is the second original phase of the scheme —
it is desired that the graduates, on leaving the academy, act as clerks
in exporting and manufacturing firms, there to learn the practice of
some special branch of business, whereupon, under further support
of the Ministry of Commerce, the graduates are to be placed with
larger foreign firms; and finally, by joint protection of the Austrian
Government, the, chambers of commerce, and the particular foreign
. consulate concerned, they will be aided to establish themselves

One hears constantly the complaint of Austrian exporters of the
sad lack of national commercial representation abroad. It is much
more difficult for an Austrian exporter to find in India, China, or
South America a market or bank for Austrian wares or drafts than it
is for the German merchant, who is naturally preferred by the Ger-
man firms in foreign countries. Austrian merchants are rarely to be
found, even in the most important cities of other lands. This state
of things it is now proposed to remedy, by educating ambitious and
gifted young men in all the branches necessary for the future ex-
porter to know, and inducing them to adopt such career by the cer-
tain prospect of aid from the Austrian Government.

The academy has a preparatory course of one year and a regular
course of two years. Further, there are special courses of greater
or less duration. The tuition fee is 150 florins ($60) a year. The
pupils will, besides, be given opportunity to visit occasionally, under
the supervision of thoroughly informed teachers as guides, the prom-
inent industrial establishments of all typical export articles, as well
as certain commercial cities and ports of special importance. Thus,
for instance, an excursion to Hamburg is now planned, while trips
to mills, sugar refineries, breweries, and furniture factories have
already been undertaken.

The Imperial Royal Commercial Museum, of which the export
academy has been made an integral part, has put at the disposition
of the academy its library, its valuable trade collections, and the
requisite geographical maps and apparatus. The academy has a
yearly subvention from the Ministry of Commerce of 20,000 florins
(J8,ooo), and a like sum is being raised by popular subscription.

First of all, graduates of the higher commercial schools are en-
tered as regular students in the academy. Further, pupils are
admitted who have passed the grammar schools and possess such
knowledge of commercial branches and of the French and English
languages as can be acquired in a commercial school of two classes.

All desiring to be admitted as regular students must pass a pre-
liminary examination. In exceptional cases, pupils who have com-
pleted their studies in an unusually excellent manner in a commercial

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school, and can show testimony of already having done praiseworthy
work of a practical kind, may be admitted as regular students by
the faculty without preliminary examination. This rule of excep-
tion has already been applied in many instances, and gives the acad-
emy some of its most promising pupils. Two groups of students
can be plainly distinguished — those with and those without practical
experience. The academy would perhaps attain its highest plane if
only students who have had practical experience were admitted.

In no class of the academy are more than thirty students admit-
ted, and only twenty in the preparatory course. The actual number
of pupils at present is near the maximum allowed.

Attendance at the classes and lectures of the export academy is
compulsory and subject to strict supervision. An absence of eight
days without proper justification is followed by striking off the stu-
dent's name from the roll. This is another distinguishing feature
of the school, wherein it differs from all other Austrian and German
high schools and recalls the Paris Ecole des hautes Etudes, as well
as French schools in general.

At Christmas and Easter, during every year, oral examinations
are held in all the branches of study. During the first year, the
annual examination takes place in the first half of July.

By reason of a special order of examination, the regular students
have to undergo a severe final examination at the close of the second
year before a board of examiners presided over by a representative
of the Ministry of Commerce. The names of students who do not
pass one oral examination without good excuse are stricken from the
rolls. In some cases, the board of examiners may permit the repeti-
tion of a year's course, or of the severe final examination.

Only those students are admitted to the second year who have
favorably passed the annual examination in all branches of the first
year's course.

There are thirty-four hours weekly in the preparatory course, and
in the first year thirty-four or thirty-five obligatory hours every
week, besides some that are not obligatory. The preparatory course
has for its purpose to advance graduates of gymnasia and **rear'
schools about as far in one year as an ordinary commercial school
does the undergraduate in two or three years.

Of the two yearly courses of the academy, only the first has so
far been opened, and the students have in all the examinations up to
now given brilliant evidence of the excellent curriculum. In this
course, great stress is laid on the study of the French and English
languages, with practice in correspondence (six hours each weekly).
Four hours a week are devoted to domestic and foreign law, so far as
it concerns commerce. Three hours are given to practical exercises

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in the office work of export, import, and factory businesses. In-
struction in this important branch is intrusted to the vice-director
of the academy. The limited time given to this work, ** muster
comptoir," is only the natural consequence of the fact that all stu-
dents must be familiar with the principles of office work before their

In view of the burden entailed by the large number of school
hours, home time is demanded only for languages and office lessons.
Instruction in economics, with special regard to tariffs, in the usages
of export trade, in commercial geography, and in knowledge of the
world's wares according to kind and production is imparted in so-
called seminaries — that is, institutions which afford immediate prac-
tice of what has been learned from the teacher's lecture, and, as far
as possible, actual inspection of the modes of production and of
samples. This experiment of giving the pupil the most important
facts right in the school, instead of letting him learn by heart what
he is sure to forget speedily, and to have him practice it on the spot
until indelibly engraved on his memory, is one of the most daring
as well as important innovations in the field of pedagogics, and de-
serves to be propagated.

Besides all this, lectures on selected subjects of actual interest
are given by the professors of the export academy, by manufacturers
in the various industries, and by ministerial officials, and are attended
voluntarily by the students, who display deep interest in them. In
this manner, they become acquainted with special questions of the
day that are engrossing public interest, in a manner that is unbiased
by party standpoints.

I had the pleasure of observing the practical working of this
feature of the academy, in a lecture which was a comprehensive
description of the world's commercial institutions devoted to the
export trade. The lecturer spoke, in particular, with great ad-
miration and thorough knowledge of the Philadelphia Commer-
cial Museum and the National Association of Manufacturers, as
well as of our other export associations. About the lecture room
was displayed printed matter bearing on the subject. In the Amer-
ican exhibit, I noticed a copy of the tariff, consular invoice certifi-
cates. Consular Reports, the newly issued American Trade Index of
the National Association, a copy of American Trade, and a number
of other publications.

This export academy should be of special interest for us in the.
United States. The addition of a similar school to the excellent
means for information at the command of the Commercial Museum
in Philadelphia might cause young men to be of great use in our
export trade and achieve even better results than the academy here.

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which is proving so practical a measure. Such a school would be
of untold benefit to our national commerce, if attended for a year
by men about to enter our consular service. It would be an ideal
consular training academy.

Carl Bailey Hurst,
Vienna, April i8, i8^^. Consul-Gcneral.


American fruit growers have informed me that in certain por-
tions of the United States they have succeeded in raising fig trees of
healthy appearance, which bear an abundance of fruit; but that,
fo,r some reason unknown to them, the figs do not mature so that they
can be dried and packed for the market. I have made inquiries in
regard to the Greek method of fig culture, and a well-informed resi-
dent of Athens, Mr. George Nicolaides, has favored me with the
following paper on the subject.

While waiting for wild fig trees to grow and bear in the United
States, growers might profit by importing the wild fig and fasten-
ing it to their trees at ripening time.

Daniel E. McGinley,

Athens, April 20, iSpp. Consul.


Wild fig trees are found both in Greece and in Asia Minor. The fig tree which
produces the famous sweet fruit was well known in ancient Greece, and very prob-
ably was cultivated in the same manner as at present. Herodotus says:

"In the plain of Babylon, one finds date trees everywhere, the majority of
which produce fruit; and these trees are cultivated in the same way as the fig trees
are cultivated in Greece, viz, by hanging on the trees bearing edible dates the fruit
of the date trees of the masculine kind, as the Greeks say, which trees do not pro-
duce dates, so that the insect which comes out of the fruit of the masculine tree
may inoculate the fruit of the tree bearing dates, and thus prevent it from falling
before ripening."

In all parts of Greece where figs are grown, from May to June the cultivator
tries to procure fruit from the wild fig tree. Last year, the wild fig trees of Smyrna
not producing a sufficient quantity for local needs, the proprietors of plantations
were obliged to buy the necessary fruit from the isles of the Greek archipelago
and even from Crete, paying a very high price.

Wild figs are ill shaped, rather hard, and dry. They are strung in bunches of
ten on a piece of strong cord or rope, and are fastened on the sweet-fig trees.

This method is not universally adopted. In Tuscany, for instance, it is never
employed. Perhaps, the wild fig trees there multiply to such an extent that the in-
sects can pass to the other trees unaided. On the other hand, a practice followed

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with persistence for more than twenty-five centuries ought not to be disregarded.
The opinion that the wild fig tree may by cultivation be made to produce edible
fruit is erroneous. In Greece, this tree has existed during centuries in proximity
to cultivated fig trees, but has not in the least changed its nature.

It would seem advisable to introduce the wild fig tree into California, and to try
the method in vogue here.


Industrial economists in Germany are just now greatly interested
in the development of an invention which promises to solve more
effectively than has been done hitherto the problem of consuming
bituminous coal,- slack, sawdust, and other inferior forms of fuel
without smoke and under conditions of extreme economy. This is
the process of Mr. Paul Cornelius for the consumption of low-grade
fuels, patent No. 100437 in Germany and No. 613359 in the United
States, although the practical process has been greatly modified and
improved since the original patents were issued.

The process consists simply in distributing heated and slightly
compressed air through hollow grate bars to the whole lower surface
of the furnace, which, being injected upward through the mass of
burning fuel, secures equal and perfect combustion and an intense,
regular heat from materials that would not be available if burned
by ordinary methods. This system has been in practical use since
September last at the works of Messrs. Reissner, Wahl & Co., man-
ufacturers of cloth at Guben in this district, and since December
last at a large hotel in Berlin, where a steam engine supplied by two
boilers is kept in service to drive a dynamo that generates electric
current for lighting purposes, elevator, etc.

In view of the extraordinary interest which attaches to this sub-
ject and its prospective importance in abating the smoke nuisance
in cities and bringing into use vast quantities of material which are
now practically worthless, I have visited the installation in Berlin,
and this is what was there exhibited:

The two boilers are of the ordinary flue pattern, placed side by
side and their furnaces separated by a dividing wall, so that one can
be thrown out of use or turned on, as occasion may require. The
furnaces are about 10 by 4 feet in area and the smoke passes by sub-
terranean flues to a stack chimney standing in a central court and
rising above the roof of the building. Near the furnaces is located
an ordinary fan blower, driven by an electrical motor of one-half
horsepower, the speed of which is easily controlled and which drives
the air through a 6-inch pipe into a hollow iron chamber about 10
inches deep, which forms the front section of the hearth of the fur-

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naces. Into this air chamber is fitted one end of the hollow grate
bars, which are about 2]/^ inches in diameter, extend backward the
length of the furnace, and are supported by ordinary bearings at
the farther end. These hollow grate bars are round on the bottom,
but at the top are hexagonal, presenting three faces, each pierced with
holes about 2 inches apart and beginning with a caliber of one-eighth
inch, which increases slightly throughout the length of the bar, to
equalize the discharge of air from the gradually decreasing pressure
within. The hollow grate bars are laid about 6 inches apart, and
there is placed between each pair three solid triangular bars, which
assist in sustaining the weight of the burning fuel. The air being
forced by the fan blower into the hollow chamber, is there heated
from the fire on its upper surface, then passes into the hollow grate
bars and is injected upward in three rows of jets, one vertical and
two inclined to right and left, so that the entire under surface of the
burning mass resting on the grate is fed constantly by jets of fresh-
heated air, which generate from the most ordinary grades of fuel an
intense white heat, which can be perfectly controlled by regulating
the speed of the fan blower and produce a combustion so natural
and perfect that the smoke is entirely consumed.

At the time of my visit, the fuel in use was what is known as
* * Coaksgries, " or coke dust, the fine slack that comes from screening
gas coke, the scrapings of retorts, etc., which has hitherto been re-
garded as worthless, except for ballasting roads and footpaths. The
bed of burning fuel was maintained over the surface of the grate about
5 inches deep, and the fire was white, intense, and evenly distributed.
The air current being stopped, the fire at once dropped to a reddish
tinge and began to smoke.

Mr. Cornelius' original invention contemplated reinforcing the
combustion by impregnating the injected air with a small proportion
of cheap oil gas; but- experience soon taught that pure heated air

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 58 of 92)