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BUREAU OF STATISTICS, September 6, 1887.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to transmit a special report on the imports, exports, &c., of wool and the manufactures of wool, in which will be found a brief history of the development of sheep husbandry, and of wool and woolen manufactures in the United States and other countries.

Among other interesting statistics are tables showing the production and consumption of wool, and the progress of our manufactures of wool and worsted, the number of machines and employés engaged in their manufacture, capital invested, wages paid, and the materials consumed in each State of the United States in 1880.

Tables are also presented showing the tariff duties on imports of wool and its manufactures into the United States from the first wool tariff of 1789 to the present time, together with synopses of all the decisions in customs cases made by the Treasury Department relating to wool and the manufactures of wool under the tariff act of 1883. The tariff duties imposed on imports of wool and the manufactures of wool in foreign countries are also exhibited.

I was induced to prepare this report on these great and growing in. dustries of our country, and of other countries, because of very numerous calls for information in respect to them and of their prominence and increasing interest in the discussions of Congress and among the people. Respectfully,

"Ward Sirtzles


Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D. C.

Chief of Bureau.





The wool industry of the United States has assumed such proportions and importance, and the calls for information in respect to it are so numerous, as to justify a special report, more or less exhaustive, present. ing the history of its development and disclosing its present condition and future possibilities.

It is not intended, of course, to enter upon a discussion of any of the phases of the economic problems involved in the past, present, or proposed tariff legislation of Congress in regard to raw wool or any of the various forms into which it has been or may be manufactured; the proper function of this Bureau being discharged by the collection and publication of full and accurate statistical and other information demanded by the current of public thought and the growing importance of the subject.

That it is of increasing interest and value to the people of the United States will be plainly seen by the following statistical totals of the proggress of sheep-raising and of the manufactures of wool:

Number of sheep in the United States in 1875, 33,783,600; of which there were 4,683,200 in California; 4,592,600 in Ohio, and 3,416,500 in Michigan; seven other States containing on an average about 1,500,000 each. The remaining States had much less.

The total number of sheep in the United States and Territories in 1886, was 48,322,331; in 1887, 44,759,314, being a decrease in one year of 3,563,017. Considering, however, the period of the past twelve years, we find an increase of 10,975,914, or of 32 per cent., since 1875. In 1887 there were in California 6,069,698 head of sheep, in Ohio 4,562,913, in Michigan 2,156,127, and in Texas 4,761,831, showing since 1875 a decrease in Ohio and Michigan, while Texas more than tripled the number in the State in 1875. New Mexico in 1880 (we have no data for 1875), had 2,088,831 sheep, which number increased by 1887 to 4,025,742. Oregon, in 1875, had 634,400 sheep; in 1887, 2,593,029. Kansas, in 1875, had 118,000 sheep; in 1887, 1,106,852. Colorado, in 1875 (no returns for


1878), had 600,000; in 1887, 1,149,178. Nebraska, in 1875, had 42,600 sheep; in 1887, 439,700.*

The quantities and value of wool produced in the United States and Territories, as estimated by the statistician of the Department of Agriculture, were: In 1865, 155,000,000 pounds; value not given; in 1875, 192,000,000 pounds, value, $94,320,652; in 1880, 240,000,000 pounds, value, $90,230,537; in 1886, 285,000,000 pounds, value, $68,400,000.

The value of the manufactures of worsted and woolen goods was: in 1850, $43,207,545; in 1860, $65,596,364; in 1870, $177,495,689; and in 1880, $267,252,913.

Respecting the quantities and values of imports and exports of raw wool into and from the United States for a long series of years, by principal foreign countries and geographical divisions, also the value of domestic

*Observing a remarkable decrease in the number of sheep in certain States in 1887 as compared with the number reported in other recent years, the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics addressed a letter of inquiry to the Agricultural Department as to the causes of the decrease. On July 16, 1887, Mr. J. R. Dodge, statistician of that Department, replied as follows:

The figures for four years as to sheep in Connecticut are:

January, 1884.

January, 1885..
January, 1886.

January, 1887.



50, 419



The number of sheep in Connecticut is very small at any time, and has been reduced slightly in consequence of low prices of two years past.

As to Ohio, the following figures give our estimate in January and the State enumeration in the following May:

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The numbers of sheep of Ohio fluctuate, usually, within narrow limits, as the in; dustry is as firmly founded in the rural economy of this State as it is in any district of the United States, according to prices obtained for wool. The decline in prices of wool always causes a decrease in the numbers of sheep in this State.

The sheep enumeration of Texas is more difficult to calculate. There evidently has been a recent increase in the numbers of cattle and a decline in the numbers of sheep, as is shown by our returns, and by those of the State authorities of Texas. But this does not account for the whole of the reduction of the present year. The State returns have only been made once since 1884, and they showed that our county estimates of increase for previous years had, been too sanguine, requiring a correction. Therefore, while all returns indicate a reduction of numbers since 1884, the apparent decrease is partly due to the above-mentioned error. It has always been far more difficult to estimate accurately the changes occurring, sometimes rapid and sweeping, in ranch flocks than in farm stocks.

There is no kind of farm animals so sensitive to changes in prices as sheep-not even swine, which are cheap when corn is cheap-while the cost of caring for sheep is quite uniform and relatively inflexible.

manufactures of wool exported, and the values of manufactures of wool imported, the reader is referred to tables on pages 1 to 11 of the Appendix.

An examination of the totals above given, without reference to the more elaborate tables to be found in the Appendix of the report, will confirm the indications of the rapid development and the increasing interest of the people in the production of wool and in its manufacture.


It is not improbable that a large number of those who will examine this report have a vague and indefinable, and in some respects a misleading idea of what wool in a commercial sense really is, and how it differs from hair or fur; hence it is deemed proper in this place to attempt to disentangle it from popular misconception.

While it is true wool is a variety of hair, which in ordinary language is accepted to mean a smooth, straight filament, growing from the skin of animals, like human or horse hair, and without serrations of any kind on its surface, wool is not hair, nor is hair wool.

Primarily the term wool is applied both to the fine hair, or fleece, of animals, as sheep, otter, beaver, rabbits, the alpaca, and the cashmere, some species of goats, and other animals, and to fine vegetable fibers, as cotton. But in this report the term wool refers only to the fleece of the sheep—an article which from the earliest periods of human history to the present time has been of primary importance, ranking next to cotton as a raw material for textile fabrics, and forming a very large part of the clothing of mankind in the temperate regions of the globe. Hair is straight; wool is wavy. Hair is crisp and hard; wool is soft. Viewed under the microscope, hair presents a smooth surface, whereas each woolly filament is covered with scales underlying each other, and projecting wherever a bend occurs in the fiber. If each fiber were straight and smooth, as in the case of hair, it would not retain the twisted state given to it by spinning, but would rapidly untwist when relieved from the force of the spinning-wheel; but the wavy convolu tions cause the fibers to become entangled with each other and hold the fibers in close contact. Moreover, the deeper these scales or teeth fit into each other, the closer becomes the structure of the thread and consequently the cloth made of it. This gives to wool the quality of felting, which with hair is impossible.

The New American Cyclopedia, page 535, says that, "placed under a lens of high magnifying power, each fiber of wool has the appearance of a continuous stem, showing along its margin minute serrations, like teeth of an extremely fine saw; and a closer inspection reveals the fact that these are severally continuous around the entire fiber, so that they may be compared to as many circular leaves, cups, or calyxes, set successively into each other, and all opening or pointing in the direction from the root toward the free extremity. It was by examination of a

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