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

Consular reports, Issues 252-255 online

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with free imports. The struggle is not quite an equal one, and if the British peo-
ple are to be successful in it, they will have to display a very high degree of intel-
ligence, enterprise, and industry. But the past history of the country shows plainly
that hostile tariffs can be fought successfully, and, so far as we can see, there is no
reason why this should not continue to be the case.


Under date of March 18, 1901,* I reported the construction of
one branch of a contemplated system of electric street railways to
supersede the old horse-car lines previously in existence. At that
time, about 2 miles of double track were in operation ; since then,
some 4^ miles have been added and put in operation, and track

*Advamcb Shbkts No. xoxa (April x6, X90Z); Consulajk Rsports No. 249 (June, 1901).

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5i6 Liverpool's threatened rival.

has been laid for several additional miles. The institution of this
modern system, which has been established without regard to ex-
pense and is strictly first class in all of its appointments, g^ve a
shock to the conservative element of the population, and prophecies
were freely made that the scheme would prove a financial failure.
That these prophecies were false is clearly shown by the first report
of the tramways committee, which I summarize below, and it must
follow that the system will be extended to take in several populous
suburbs already clamoring for the improvement. In fact, parlia-
mentary powers have already been applied for to widen the system
beyond its original scope, and it will surely be extended later on.
In moving the adoption of the tramways committee's report, the
chairman compared the receipts of the electric system, so far as
completed, with the revenues obtained from the old horse-car lines,
and his figures are instructive. The Sherwood line, he said, from
the opening of the system on January i, had brought ^15,396
($74,924.62), against the horse cars for the past year of ^4,258
($20,721.55), a difference of ^11,138 ($54,203.07). They carried
last year 616,000 passengers, and this year 3,063,000, an increase of
2.500,000. The Sherwood line was carrying an average of about
half as many as the whole of the horse trams last year. The Bul-
well electric cars were even more striking. In the five weeks the
cars had been running jC4yS54 ($22,162.04) had been earned, as
against ;^ 1,556 ($7,572.27) from the horse cars, an increase of
^2,998 ($14,589.76). The passengers had increased from 247,000
to 815,000, in round figures. The line was carrying an average of
8,000,000 passengers per year; that alone was equal to the whole
of the horse cars last year, while the cost per mile was not more.

S. C. McFarland,
Nottingham, September 20y igoi. Consul.


What is known as the Berehaven Harbor scheme was for a week
or so a subject of unusual interest in Liverpool. When Parliament
at the close of the recent session, without any preliminary notice,
passed a bill giving authority for the construction of a pier and
other shipping facilities at Berehaven, there was great consternation
in Liverpool, particularly in view of the statement of the promoter
of the bill that it was intended to establish a line of steamships
which would make the journey from America to Berehaven in four
and one-half days. Since the passing of the bill authorizing the
harbor facilities referred to, there has been an exhaustive discussion

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Liverpool's threatened rival. 517

in the press and privately among those interested in Liverpool ship-
ping and commerce, and the general conclusion arrived at is that
Liverpool has nothing to fear from the Berehaven scheme.

A reference to the map will readily show that Berehaven is ad-
mirably situated in a geographical sense as the eastern terminus of a
trans-Atlantic line, but, in truth, the southwestern and western
coasts of Ireland have a number of harbors much nearer America
than Liverpool capable of accommodating the largest ships afloat.
For many years Bantry Bay, in which is Berehaven Harbor, has
been a rendezvous for the British fleet, and it is admitted to be one
of the safest and most commodious harbors in the world. The pas-
sage of the Berehaven Harbor scheme bill in Parliament has revived
reminiscences of other schemes having for their object the shorten-
ing of the sea passage between Europe and America. Most of these
plans had in view the utilization of one of the numerous natural
harbors of the west or southwestern coast of Ireland as the eastern
terminus. None of these projects, however, has ever passed beyond
the experimental stage, and, so far as I can learn, the prospect is
very remote that the Berehaven scheme will, at least for many years
to come, become an actuality, and the probability is that it will
meet the fate of its predecessors. After having had time to duly
consider the possibilities of the new project, the shipping and com-
mercial interests of Liverpool have come to the conclusion that even
though Berehaven Harbor be completed as projected in the Parlia-
mentary bill and the most up-to-date railroad connections be made,
and even though the proposed rapid 25-knot fleet be established,
yet after all Berehaven can be nothing more than a port of call,
and at the most would take the place of Queenstown, en route to
Liverpool. The reasons back of this conclusion seem to be sound,
and may be stated briefly as follows:

(i) The terminus of a steamship line should be within easy reach
of the objective point of passengers. Berehaven does not meet
this condition precedent. The objective point of most trans-Atlantic
passengers is London or the Continent. In order to reach either
point, passengers who disembarked at Berehaven would have to.
make an additional change to cross the Irish Sea.

(2) It is necessary for a terminus of a trans-Atlantic line, both
on the European and American side, to be convenient for the rapid
and cheap distribution of cargo. The population of Ireland, as
compared with the rest of the British Isles, is small, and indeed de-
creasing, and very little of American cargoes have Irish points as
their ultimate destinations, and Ireland's exports to America are but
small. The transshipment of cargo which would be necessary with
Berehaven as the eastern steamship terminus seems to put that place
out of the question.

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5i8 Liverpool's threatened rival.

(3) As a trans-Atlantic shipping terminus, Berehaven would be
under the great disadvantage of having to bring coal from a con-
siderable distance (Wales being the nearest point) ; there would be
lacking an ample supply of seamen from whom to select crews;
and the commissariat would be much more costly than from, say,
Southampton or Liverpool.

Possibly Berehaven might become a rival of Queenstown as a
port of call, but even that is doubtful. Not only would several
million dollars be required to construct the necessary piers and
wharves at Berehaven, but the place at present is entirely lacking
in railroad connection. The promoters of the Berehaven scheme
bring forward, as against Queenstown as a port of call, the conceded
objection that passengers have to reach shore from the ship bj
tender. It is true also that sometimes communication can not be
had at Queenstown when the weather is very rough, and accounts
agree that Berehaven Harbor would be available at all times; bm
the Liverpool steamship people say that it is very doubtful whether
it would pay in a commercial sense to adopt the Berehaven scheme,
as against the present fs^cilities at Queenstown, for the reason that,
comparatively, but few passengers embark or disembark at Queens-
town, and they argue that not many more would utilize Berehaven.


While Liverpool shipping and commercial interests do not fear
that Berehaven, or any other port on the west or southwest coast
of Ireland, can become a rival of Liverpool, there is much specula-
tion and some uneasiness as to the future of the trans-Atlantic
trade. In this connection, the press and the public seem to be more
apprehensive than the managers of the steamship lines. There is
undoubtedly in Liverpool a deep-seated popular fear that the British
steamship lines — and reference is more particularly made to the
Liverpool lines — may be outdone by American and German enter-
prise. A great deal of apprehension exists among the British public
as to the possible competition through the inevitable development
of the American mercantile marine; and there is keen disappoint-
ment at the failure so far of the Liverpool companies to wrest "the
Atlantic blue ribbon" from Germany. Here, one meets a sharply
defined difference of views. The popular demand is for the con-
struction of vessels that will not only excel in size the DeuUhland
and Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse^ but also surpass them in speed. The
Liverpool steamship managers profess to believe that under pres-
ent conditions the limit of speed has been practically reached, from
the standpoint of commercial success. The claim is made that it
would not pay to build faster ships than those now running be-
tween New York and Liverpool. The position of the Liverpool

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shipowners seems to be that at preseat the best policy is to build
ships of large capacity and of only fairly great speed, and to await
developments. Intimations are made that future competition will
be duly met, and a keen watch is being kept on rival enterprises.
It is very difficult to obtain reliable information as to the intentions
of the large British shipowners, the policy of each company evidently
being not to **show its hand." There are rumors that the Liverpool
lines are awaiting the results of the experiments that are being made
with the ** turbine" system, and that if these prove successful ves-
sels will be built for the Atlantic service of greater size and speed
than any now sailing.

James Boyle,
Liverpool, September 12, igoi. Consul.


I have recently talked with a number of firms handling Ameri-
can goods, and the views of Mr. S. C. Hardy, of G. Hardy & Co.,
wholesale manufacturers and importers of furniture — a firm which
caters to the middle and lower classes — can, I am sure, be profitably
studied by our exporters in that line. It should be borne in mind
that this firm is typical of thousands of others in England, and that
its scope of operations is not confined strictly to furniture as under-
stood in the United States, but that it handles general household
furnishings, including washing machines, wringers, office supplies,
and appropriate hardware, such as casters, etc. Much of this stock
is already of American manufacture ; and in response to my sugges-
tion that he give his experience with American goods and criticise
the methods in vogue from the standpoint of a practical importer,
Mr. Hardy dictated the following:

The import of American furniture, we are pleased to say, is still on the increase
here, although we have great difficulty in getting the manufacturers to conform
to English styles. We think that if these people would pay a little more attention to
English requirements, there would be very much more trade done in this country,
and the demand would assume large proportions. The different requirements of
the English trade are of a very trifling nature, but, if not carried out, seriously
affect sales here. The English people are still prejudiced against American goods,
because the fault had been made of shipping over a very common grade. What is
wanted here is a good medium quality, finished in the best style, but sent over
absolutely in the white — that is, unpolished. The American polish is far too thick
and rough for the English requirements. It is liable to get chipped in transit, and,
when here, it is impossible to make good without entirely repolishing. The English
designs are very little different from the American, but we do not see so many
appliqu^ carvings. The American exporters seem to be reserved, and will not

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alter the smaller details. Of course, on account of freight charges, all goods mosi
be built to enable them to be shipped knocked down, and it would be well to remca-
ber that the wood in most cases is seasoned far too dry for this climate, which is
much more humid than that of the United States. A few months after the wood
arrives here it begins to swell, and becomes badly distorted. What is wanted is a
iirm that is prepared to make up bedroom suites, dining tables, and all ordinary
furniture to English designs, of properly seasoned wood, constructed knocked
down, and shipped in the white. If such a firm will place its name before ihe
English buyers, we feel convinced there is a large future for its goods.

We are also importers of brass cabinet handles, which trade is fast on the increase
nere. We find the goods compare very favorably with English manufactures, as
regards prices; but here again the Americans have too fancy and floral a style.
What is wanted in this class of goods is a very much plainer pattern and the bafi
or handle of all pulls to be made solid instead of hollowed out at the back. Tbe
finish-'.s of these goods have lately varied in England, and a large number of cop-
pered and oxidized brass handles arc being used. This can be easily done in tbe
States, and we feel sure that if the American manufacturers would only uke
the trouble to carry out some, if not all, of the alterations required by the English
market, the trade would increase twofold in a short space of time. Although trade
has not been so good in England during the past twelve months, we are lookiog
for a revival next year, and we should be pleased to communicate with any
American firm desiring to increase its foreign trade.

S. C. McFarland,
Nottingham, September 20y ipoi. Consul.


The Department of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce has
just published the mineral statistics for 1900, and from that report
I have taken some of the more important details.

The value of the mineral production was $57,714,651.44, or
an increase of $8,857,549 over 1899. The value of the mineral ai
the mines in 1899 was $23,786,076.39; in 190c $26,914,274.65; in-
crease, $3,128,198.26. The value of the products at the manufac-
tories in 1899 was $25,071,031.94; in 1900, $30,800,376.79; increase.

The following shows the increase in the number of concessions,
plants, and the workmen employed:

Mineral concessions at work-


In the mines.

In the mills



in tgpo.





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The table below shows the producing and nonproducing mines,
arranged according to provinces:


Producing mines. | Nonproducing mines.











A cres.




















A cres
157. 005

In all Spain, there are 2,046 producing mines, with an area of
1,140,980 acres, and 17,401 nonproducing mines, covering 1,034,471

The following table of minerals gives the distribution of the
producing mines:


Pit coaL




Argentiferous lead.



Common salt



Mineral waters ,

Producing mines.



A cres.






Nonproducing mines.

























Mineral waters. — Barcelona figures in the first place with a pro-
duction valued at $89,489.62. The provinces of Alicante and Tar-
ragona follow.

Antimony, anthracite, arsenic, and jet, — Antimony is produced only
in Lugo, with two mines, the value of the output being $640.35;
anthracite, in Cordoba, $27,047.81; arsenic (pyrites), in Gerona,
$224.12; and jet, in Teruel, $35.58.

Quicksilver is produced in three provinces, as follows: Ciudad
Real, 17,392 tons; Oviedo, 11,000 tons; and Granada, 1,658 tons;
total valuation, $785,664.63.

Sulphur is produced in three provinces, as follows: Murcia, 35,000
tons; Albacete, 23,579 tons; and Almeria, 5,785 tons; total valuation,

Zinc. — The total production of zinc is 86,158 tons, valued at
$426,901.17. The mineral comes from fourteen provinces. Among

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those figuring as the largest producers are: Santander, 38,050 tons;
Murcia, 30,620 tons; and Cordoba, 6,808 tons.

Iron. — The iron-ore-producing provinces are shown in the follow-
ing table:


Quantity. Value,


Viscaya {

Santander I

Murcia I

Almeria « I


Granada '




$3. 594.479*:







352. *8*




The total production of iron ore in Spain last year was 8,675,749
tons, having a value of 5^5,406,632.29.

Lead. — The production of lead is chiefly in two provinces, as
follows: Jaen, 101,273 tons, valued at $3,576,603.49; Almeria, 22,624
tons, valued at $145,570.34. Ciudad Real produced 3,860 tons;
Granada, 1,254 tons; and Tarragona, 1,148 tons.

Argentiferous lead. — The province of Murcia outranks all in the
production of lead, with 121,435 tons, valued at $3,110,453. 45.

Salt. — Common salt is produced in twenty provinces. The first
in importance is Cadiz, with an annual production of 270,000 tons:
Baleares second, with 72,875 tons; Alicante third, with 60,843
tons; and Almeria fourth, with 21,000 tons. The approximate
value was $498,932.40.

A. E. Carleton,

Almeria, August 2p, jpoi. Consular Agrnt.


The new German monthly periodical, Russia and Germany, con-
tains a long article concerning the commercial relations between
Russia and the United States. It notes that although the trade
between the two countries is not yet large, American enterprise has
gained triumphs in another field in Russia. The transportation prob-
lems in the Asiatic possessions resemble those solved in the United
States. American engineers have rendered valuable services in the
Manchurian Railroad and the East Siberian line. In European
Russia, also, the Government is availing itself of their experience.
The ice breaker /ermal: was modeled on those employed on the Great
Lakes in the United States. An American has shown Russia how to
dredge her rivers at a great saving of expense.

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The journal adds: •

These facts show that American competition, even if to-day it does not figure
formidably in the trade of Russia, will surely be felt in this rich country in the
future. The advantages of the Americans must be offset by a new German-Russian
treaty. The German is much superior to the American in adapting his goods and
his mode of conducting business to the requirements of the Russian market.

Richard Guenther,
Frankfort, August 28^ ipoi. Consul- General.


I have been informed by the acting consular agent at Fiume,
Hungary, that the Societa Fiumana di Costruzione Navalc Howaldt
has just finished one of the best and strongest floating dry docks
ever built on the Continent. It is for the Russian Steam Navi-
gation and Trading Company, of Odessa, and is now on its way,
being towed by two steamers. The voyage is expected to take at
least thirty days.

It has a lifting power of 4,800 tons and can raise a vessel of this
weight in two and one-fourth hours. Constructed in two parts, it
has the advantage of putting only one-half into action, in case a
smaller vessel is to be lifted.

One part is built on four pontoons, each 11 feet i-^ inches high
and 53 feet long, having a lifting power of 2,740 tons. The other
part is built on three pontoons, each of the same dimensions, having
a lifting power of 2,060 tons. The total length is 381 feet; width,
63 feet; width of walls, 8 feet 4^^ inches.

It is fitted with electric light and accommodations for office and
cabin for crew.

The construction was begun December 12, 1900, and finished
August 18, 1901, employing 600 men a day. The laborers received
from 60 to 80 cents a day, the mechanics from $1 to $2.

The exact contract price is unknown, but the dock is valued at
about $403,000.

Frank Dyer Chester,

Budapest, SepUmjber lOy jgoi. Consul,

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Sweden imports yearly large quantities of coal and coke, and
this trade is increasing steadily, in pace with the industrial activity
and the building of new railroads. Several millions of dollars arc
annually paid out to foreign countries for fuel. This has caused the
authorities to consider whether Sweden could be made more inde-
pendent in this respect. It has been suggested that the State rail-
roads could get their motive power partly from waterfalls, and
experiments will probably be made in this line.

The managers of the State railroads have been instructed to
make trials of peat, peat charcoal, and peat briquettes as fuel for
locomotives. The intention is to construct a special locomotive to be
used in these experiments, and if they are successful other engines
will undoubtedly be built, because peat is abundant in this country

The navy and the State railroads have also tried to use Swedish
coal, but without much success; the efforts will he continued, how-
ever. A Gothenburg newspaper reports to-day as follows :

In the new briquette factory at Elmhult, belonging to the State, experimenu
will be made this fall in the production of a cheap and practical fuel for Swedish
railroads. In locomotive furnaces, Swedish coal can not be used alone, be<:ause it
contains too much scrap and incombustible substances, which are not consumed,
but form offal and ashes. It must therefore be mixed with English coal, but this is
becoming more and more expensive. The possibility of using Swedish coal aloce
is therefore ideal, and the above-mentioned factory has been built to be emplo3red
in the attempts to make or refine Swedish coal into a good fuel. The factory wili
operate according to a German patented method, and has been put up under xhe
supervision of a German. It will be started this fall, and the Work will contiaiK
night and day. It is calculated that the output will be 36 briquettes per minute-
that is, 51,840 per 24 hours, or 15 carloads of 10,000 kilograms per car. Experi-
ments will first be made with 40 carloads of Swedish coal of the lowest grade.

Robert S. S. Bergh,
Gothenburg, September 25, i^oi. Consul.


The iron sea lighter, sometimes rigged with single-sail roasts
and with a carrying capacity of from 500 to 1,350 tons dead weight,
is an important factor in the North and Baltic Sea trade. German
steamship companies first made extensive use of them shortly after
the opening of the North Sea Canal, making an easy water route
between the North and Baltic seas. To-day these lighters are in use
in England, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark The North

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German Lloyd and the Ham burg- American Line have each a small
fleet of lighters.

Denmark has a fleet plying between Germany, Norway, and
Sweden. Only quite recently, a local German steamship company
had two steel lighters of about 700 tons dead weight built, to run be-
tween Sweden and Stettin. The small towing steamer is continually
under way, leaving Stettin with one empty lighter and returning with
a full one.

The principal advantages claimed for sea lighters are: Small cost
of operating (crew consists of three or four men), low draft, rapid-
ity of discharging or taking on cargo (there being practically one

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 252-255 → online text (page 55 of 65)