« PreviousContinue »
with the importations of toys and playing cards to illustrate the insignificance of wool exports. In the seven years 1858–64, inclusive, our aggregateexports of domestic wool to all countries amounted to $1,725,799, and two-thirds of this was to bordering nations on our own continent, from whom we imported more wool than we exported. In the same period the toys and dolls imported were valued at $2,483,489. In the year 1860 our exportations of wool to all the manufacturing countries of the globe were of the value of $20,136, and our importations of playing cards amounted to $19,238. It is clear that we have never had a foreign market for our wools, and the higher cost of labor which prevents exports of woollen goods must limit the production of wool to domestic consumption. The success of our domestic woollen industry thus becomes identified with our agricultural prosperity. Such considerations would seem to place it beyond all question that our national interests require that we should repel the cheap fabrics of Europe even at considerable sacrifice, that we may appropriate for ourselves the labor and profit of their production. Such was the conclusion of the continental nations of Europe, when peace restored the nations to labor, at the close of the great wars of Napoleon. England then had the command of all the markets of the continent, and was ready to fill them with her cheap fabrics; each nation of the continent refused them, and built up its barriers of defensive duties, and with what results to their own wealth, and the industrial progress of the world!“Instead of a single workshop Europe has the workshops of France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Spain; each clothing its own people with substantial fabrics; each developing its own creative genius and peculiar resources; each contributing to substitute the excellence of competition for the mediocrity of monopoly; each adding to the progress of the arts, and the wealth and comfort of mankind.”
TIIE WOOLLEN INDUSTRY OF EUROPE.
Not the least of the advantages which the European manufacturer possesses is the superior facility which he enjoys of observing the processes and comparing the best products of the most advanced nations, It is hoped that the notices of the woollen industry of the leading manufacturing nations which follow may have some effect in stimulating our own manufacturers to study personally the operations of the most instructive establishments abroad, and at the same time convey to the general reader a more vivid impression of the important part which the woollen industry plays in the industrial movement of the world.
England and France are nearly equal in amount of production, but in excellence France is at the head of all nations in the manufacture of wool. Her products are the most worthy of being our models. Her native wools most resemble our own. It seems appropriate, therefore,
that we should avail ourselves of the full information conveyed by the vast display of her products at the Exposition and the precise documents furnished by French publications of authority, and occupy a considerable portion of this report with statements respecting the French industry.
The leading woollen fabrics at the Exposition were arranged in two classes-29 and 30. Class 29 comprised yarns and tissues of combed wool, including combing wools, yarns of combed and carded wool, tissues of pure combed wool, flannels and fancy stuffs of wool carded and slightly fulled, and tissues of combed wool mixed with other materials. The principal centres of production of these articles in France are Rheims, Roubaix, St.Quentin, Amiens, Mulhouse, Saint Maine, Aux Mines, Rouen, Fourmies, Cateau, and, finally, Paris. The following facts are derived from the committee of admission of this class:
In 1835 the wools of France played relatively a more important part than at present in the supply of her manufactures. At that period the wools of Australia were little known, of which, in 1865, 23,000,000 kilograms were used. On the other hand the importations from Spain, Germany, Turkey, and Algeria have not lost their importance, having amounted, during the year 1865, to nearly 50,000,000 kilograms. The great increase of supply has come from Australia. These different wools are now combed and spun by machines of great perfection. The weaving of stutt's of wool or dress goods by power was hardly attempted in 1855, but since 1862 has had a rapid development, which increases every day. The weaving by hand has not diminished, but has remained nearly stationary, while the great increase of production is due to the use of machinery driven by power. The number of workmen employed in power weaving is much less than those working at home by hand. The number of females employed in combing, spinning, and weaving is estimated at abont one-half the whole number of operatives in some districts, and onethird in others. All the combed wool fabrics made in France have been much lowered in price since 1855. The exportations of manufactures of wool of all kinds have increased from 165,000,000 francs ($33,000,000) in 1855, to 396,000,000 francs (879,200,000) in 1865. The yarns and stuff's of combed wool are valued at 279,000,000 francs, ($55,800,000.) The improvements observed are: new methods of combing and spinning; ingenious means of printing, facilitating the labor of the workman and the effectiveness of the machine; and the application of the products of aniline as a dyeing material.
The French products of class 30, comprising yarns and tissues of carded wool, form four principal series: 1. Soft, black, and uniformly colored cloths, cloths for billiard tables and carriages, black-faced goods, ealled satins, and beaver cloths; 2. Fashioned or fancy cloths for paletots and women's garments; 3. Novelties for pantaloons; 4. Articles for Waistcoats and complete garments. These products are manufactured by establishments situated in five principal groups ::
1. The group of Normandy, the centre of which is the town of Elbeuf. This city and Louviers, and the towns of Vire, Lisieux, and Romorantin, produce specially fabrics for general consumption, such as fancy and pilot cloths, novelties for pantaloons, and articles of wool velvet, and cloths for women's garments.
2. The group of Ardenne, the centre of which is Sedan; here fine black broadcloths and cassimeres are largely manufactured, as well as cloths for paletots and wool velvets.
3. The group of St. Isère, the centre of which is Vienne, which produce generally articles of low price for pantaloons, paletots, &c.
4. The group of High Rhine and Moselle, the centre of which is Bichwaller, which produces the fine-faced black cloths, called satins. The heavy stuffs for country use are made chiefly at Nancy.
5. The group of the Midi, comprising the towns of Carcassone, Mazamet, Saint Pons, and Bidarieux, which produce all the tissues of low price mentioned above.
The greater part of the wool employed in the card-wool industry comes from abroad; the ordinary French wools, from unimproved races, being used for the common cloths. Hand labor is almost everywhere replaced by power. Hand-weaving is employed only for the fabrication of articles, the designs of which, being subject to the caprices of fashion, are required to be in great variety, such as stuffs for pantaloons, waistcoats, and garments for ladies' wear. It is observed that power-labor, by reducing the price of the manufactured article, causes greater consumption, and employs more workmen. It is estimated that the manipulation of card-wool stuffs, and the general expenses, taking the winter and summer goods together, add one-third to the cost of the raw material. The number of workmen employed by patrons in manufacturing establishments, or mills, properly called, is estimated at nearly two-thirds of the total number; the rest work by hand at their own homes, but in both cases they generally work by the piece. The women employed in the card-wool industry comprise about two-fifths of all the laborers. The goods are generally sold directly to the great commercial houses of Paris and the departments, and these send commercial travellers through France and abroad to place their goods. The exportation of card-wool fabrics in 1865 was about 5,500,000 kilograms, of an approximate value of 71,000,000 francs. The annual production of these fabrics is reckoned at about 250,000,000 francs.
GENERAL FEATURES OF FRENCH INDUSTRY.
Before proceeding to a description of the several centres of manufacture it will be proper to refer to the general features of the French woollen industry. Some passages from “The Fleece and the Loom,” published in 1866, may be appropriately quoted in this connection :
“In studying the characteristics of the French manufacturers, and the Address before the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, by John L. Hayes.
part they have taken in advancing the general progress of the woollen industry, and in adding to the means of consumption, we observe that they have not attained that economy of production which so eminently distinguishes the British manufacturers. Supplied with abundant labor, supported by cheap sustenance, the French manufacturers have been content to remain far behind the British and Americans in the substitution of machinery for human labor. But the tendency of machinery, as they think, is to give mediocrity to manufactured products; and the French aim at the utmost excellence in their works. The individual skill or handicraft of the workman is developed to the utmost extent. All machinery is rejected which will not surpass the manipulations of the hand. Spinning, the foundation of good textures, is carried by them to the utmost perfection. Yarns, spun from combed or carded wool by the rival nations, exhibited at the great London Exposition, were carried 10, 20, and even 30 numbers higher by French spinners with the same wool. They excel equally in ameliorating raw materials, in making them softer and more flexible. The French, in the textile arts, are creators; while the English are exploiteurs. The one nation invents new fabrics, new combinations of old materials, new styles and patterns, or what, in a word, are called French novelties. The other works up these ideas, copies, transforms, dilutes, and, above all, cheapens. Most other nations follow the English example, and our own is as yet no exception. To specify the contributions of inventive or creative genius of France to the woollen industry, we must class, first among the machines, the Jacquard, already referred to, whose wonderful products are seen in all figured textures; and next, the machinery for combing wool and also cotton, of Heilman, of Mulhouse, an invention which possesses interest, not only on account of its vast importance, but the circumstances of its origin. The most novel and valuable part of this machine, as stated by the inventor, which he had long unsuccessfully endeavored to obtain, was ultimately accomplished by carrying into mechanical operation a suggestion which occurred to him while watching his daughters combing their hair. He was at that time meditating on the hard fate of inventors generally, and the misfortunes which befell their families. This cir. cumstance, says Mr. Woodcroft, being communicated to Mr. Elmore, of the Royal Academy, was embodied by him in a picture which was exhibited, and greatly admired, at the Royal Academy in 1862. We all practice or Use French creations without suspecting their origin. Before 1834 the colors of all fulled cloths were uniform. At that time Mr. Bonjean, of Sedan, conceived the idea, to give beauty to the productions of his looms, of uniting in the same stuff different tints and figures. His thought was that the domain of production would be as illimitable as that of fantasy, which was the name given to his goods. He was the originator of the product and name of fancy cassimeres, by far the most important branch of our own cloth manufacture. The French, already skilled in making light gauzes of silk, first macle baréges in 1818; a tab.
ric with a weft of wool and warp of silk. The English imitated the fabric by substituting cotton for silk in the warp. In 1826 M. Jourdain first produced, at the establishment of Troixvilles, that invaluable fabric, mousseline delaine, made of fine wool, for printing. In 1831 the manufacture and printing of this tissue was fully developed. In 1838 he also created challis, made of a warp of silk organzin and a weft of fine wool. In 1833 first appeared at Paris, simultaneously introduced by three French houses, that fabric so appropriate for the consumption of the masses, the mousseline delaine, with cotton warps. The English adopted the manufacture in 1834–35, and it prevails in every manufacturing nation. This fabric, which is unquestionably a French idea, has been an inestimable blessing. Its products are counted by millions of pieces, and it enables the most humble female to clothe herself more comfortably and becomingly, and as cheaply, with wool, as she could 30 years ago with cotton. In 1858 plain baréges were introduced, for printing. These had before been made of colored threads; at the same time balsorine, having the effect of alternate fabrics of cloth and gauze, was created in wool in imitation of a flaxen fabric. The foulards, with a warp of silk and weft of English combing, were introduced about this time at St. Denis. The fabric, however, most appreciated by female taste, and the most unrivalled of modern woollen textures, and the only one not degraded by imitation, is that beautiful material which derives its name from the fleece of which it is made, the French merino. This tissue was first made at Rheims, in 1801, by a workman named Dauphinot Palloteau. The invention, for which a patent was asked, whether successfully or not is not known, consisted solely in the adaptation of a peculiar type of wool, and not in the fabric.
“The creative genius of the French is more conspicuous in their arts of design and color, as applied to all textile products. There is an tinlimited application of these arts and a boundless field for novelties in the modern use of printed woollen goods. All the manufacturers of France, in producing new styles of fabric or figure, nourish their tastes by Parisian ideas, the inheritance of the ancient splendor of Versailles. Says M. Benoville: "At Paris each consumer is a judge, and becomes a guide to the merchant and manufacturer. The Parisians appreciate only what is good, and consecrate only what is beautiful. The grisette as well as the grande dame, the artisan as well as the dandy, has received, and practices without knowing it, the traditions of art. Although important commercial houses are now established for the sale of designs elaborated in this school, there is no manufacturer in Europe who scruples to copy French patterns. We have even so framed our patent laws that, while protecting all other foreign works of invention, we might appropriate with impunity the works of the Parisian pencil and pallet.
“ Thus, by importation as well as imitation, all over the world, the true lovers of the beautiful, as well as the sophists, economists, and calculators,' whose advent, upon the fall of Maria Antoinette, is so patheti