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In the year 1794 the first incorporated woolen company in the United States built a factory and commenced manufacturing at B yfield, Mass. with Arthur Schofield and other English operatives in charge. This, factory in the year 1804 made a little fine broadcloth from merino wool, the first made in the United States.

In 1809 another woolen company was formed at Pittsfield, Mass., and began manufacturing fine cloths.

It is believed that the above-named 5 mills were the only mills in the United States making fine cloth in 1810. There were, however, 9 other factories at work in 1810 making cloth of coarser grade and averaging over 10,000 yards each annually, besides 10 more smaller factories. The estimated factory product of cloth for that year (1810) was nearly 200,000 yards, worth in the market from $1 to $10 per yard. The estimate of woolen cloth manufactured in private families the same year was about 9,500,000 yards; so that the mills of that day only made about one-fiftieth of the whole woolen product of the country.

The total value of the manufactured product of 1810 was $25,608,788. The principal mills were located at Byfield, Mass.; New Ipswich, N. H.; Warwick and Portsmouth, R. I.; Derby and Hartford, Conn.; Watertown and Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; and Baltimore, Elkton, and Frederick, Md.

In 1812 steam was first introduced in woolen mills in the United States at Providence and at Middletown, but no power-looms for broadcloth were used until 1825, when they were first used by the Pontoosac Manufacturing Company for making broadcloth, and also superior allwool, cotton-warp, drab, and fancy cloths.

The first large woolen factory built in the United States was erected by Mr. L. Pomeroy, who, however, used hand-looms entirely.

The war of 1812 gave a great impetus to woolen manufactures, especially those of military and naval cloths, blankets, and negro cloths, and factories sprung up everywhere, but nearly all of these enterprises met with disaster when peace was established in 1815, and the superior English goods were imported, as at that day in this country there was not the skill or machinery required. In one year the foreign import of woolens amounted to $155,000,000 in value, and nearly all of our woolen mills failed, as all enterprises of sudden growth without a solid founda. tion are liable to do.

The extent of the disaster to our manufacturing interests is best exhibited by reference to the statistics of wool manufacture during the thirty years subsequent to 1810.

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Urgent appeals to Congress by the woolen manufacturers in the mean while resulted in several changes in the tariff.

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In 1816 Congress laid a duty of 25 per cent. ad valorem for the next three years, and provided that after that time it should be reduced to 20 per cent.

In 1824 the tariff was again increased to 25 per cent. ad valorem ou goods costing as much as 33 cents or less per square yard, and 331⁄2 per cent. ad valorem on all goods costing over 333 cents per square yard. Congress at the same time laid a duty of 30 per cent. ad valorem on raw wool costing over 10 cents per pound and 15 per cent. ad valorem on wool costing under 10 cents per pound.

The tariff law of 1824 did not, however, go into force fully until June, 1826.

England, in order to offset this statute, reduced her import duty on foreign wool in 1825, so as to enable her manufacturers to furnish woolen goods to America notwithstanding the tariff laws of 1824, and she competed successfully with our factories.

In 1828 Congress increased the duties on woolen goods costing 48 or less per square yard to 45 per cent. ad valorem, and on all costing over $4 per square yard to 50 per cent. ad valorem, and at the same time laid a higher duty on raw wool equal to 100 per cent. ad valorem on wool costing 8 cents per pound.

In 1846 raw wool was admitted free of duty if it cost 20 cents per pound or less, and the tariff was reduced to 30 per cent. ad valorem on raw wool costing over 20 cents per pound. In the same year the tariff on woolen manufactures was reduced to 30 per cent. ad valorem.

In 1850 the value of the manufactured wool product was $43,542,288, or an increase of between $17,000,000 and $18,000,000 over the product of 1810, in a period of forty years. The number of woolen mills of all kinds (exclusive of fulling-mills) in 1840 was 1,420. Four-fifths of these were located in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. In 1850 the number had increased to 1,559, and some of them were located in each of thirty-two States of the Union. The capital invested was $28,118,650, the number of hands employed was 39,252, the value of the product, $43,207,545, making the average annual value product for each mill less than $27,000.

After the year 1850 the worsted goods manufactures assumed such proportions that the statistics were made separate from the woolen manufactures. Carpet and hosiery required separate statistics also, and since 1870 felt goods, woolen hats, and shoddy are also put in separate tables.

The first decided advance towards perfection in woolen manufactures seems to have been in flannel goods. In 1821 flannels made in New York were equal to the best Welsh flannels: In 1823, 30,000 pieces of flannel were made near Boston; in 1827, three mills near Newburyport made flannel valued at $684,000. In 1829, Henry Stevens started a flannel mill with the capacity of 3,000 yards per week. In 1849, two flannel mills were in operation at Dover, N. H. In 1860, the Bay State

and Ballard Vale mills and the mill of Gilbert and Stevens, at Ware, Mass., made flannels in every way equal to any imported, and the shawls, balmorals, fancy flannels, shirtings, and opera cloakings manufactured at Waterloo, N. Y., and Laconia, N. H., could not be excelled. Since 1860 our flannels have continued to maintain their high repu tation.

The first large mill for blankets was established in 1831 in Pendleton District, S. C.; the blankets made there were of cotton warp and designed for negro use.

During the same year a large factory was built near Buffalo, N. Y., for the manufacture of Mackinaw or Indian blankets. From 1831 to 1860 blankets began to be made in nineteen different States, and in the year 1860, 616,400 were manufactured, principally in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and California. Since that time blanket manufactures have steadily increased, and are equal to any imported blankets in beauty of texture and finish.

In the year 1860 there were in the United States 1,263 woolen establishments, with a capital of $30,922,654, consuming 83,608,468 pounds of wool, paying $10,153,938 wages to 43,738 employés, and yielding a product valued at $65,596,364; the average annual wages had increased from $205 in 1850 to $237 in 1860; the average value of the product per hand had increased from $1,248 in 1850 to $1,496 in 1860. New England produced in 1860 about 65 per cent. of the manufactured product of the United States. In 1870 the number of woolen mills had increased to 2,993 as against 1,263 in 1860; the amount of capital, $108,910,369; the number of pounds of wool consumed, 172,078,919; the number of hands employed, 92,973; the amount of wages paid, $31,246,432, and the value of manufactured product, $177,495,689.

In the year 1880 the number of woolen factories had increased to 2,689, but of these only 1,992 are properly woolen mills (the remainder, viz, 991, are simply fulling and carding mills); the number of hands employed in 1880 was 161,557; the amount of capital invested was $159,091,869; amount of wages paid, $47,389,087; the value of the annual product, $267,252,913.

In 1870 the following were the seven leading industries, yielding annual products of value in the order named: (1) flour and grist mills; (2) slaughter and meat packing; (3) iron and steel manufacture; () saw-mills; (5) foundries and machine-shops; (6) cotton goods manufactures; (7) woolen manufactures.

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In 1880 woolen manufactures had outstripped numbers 4, 5, and 6, above named, and stood fourth of the seven named industries.

Mr. J. R. Dodge furnishes the following statistics, not yet published for circulation :

The annual requirement of wool for manufacture in 1840 was 3.4 pounds per capita for our population, and the annual requirement for 1860 was still only 3.4 pounds per

capita, showing no increase of manufacture per capita for twenty years, while from 1860 to 1880 the annual requirement has increased to 6 pounds per capita. The proportion of this manufactured wool grown in this country has also increased greatly. The home-grown wool of 1840 amounted to 2.5 pounds per capita; in 1850, to 2.7 pounds; in 1860, to 2.3 pounds; in 1870, to 4.2 pounds; in 1880 to 4.2 pounds, and in 1885 to over 5 pounds.

The importation of woolens has relatively decreased, notwithstanding the enormous increase of wealth and the greatly enlarged rate of consumption. The average value per capita of woolens imported between 1850 and 1860 was $1.09. In the following decade, which included the war period with its immense waste of clothing and high cost of goods, the average importation for each individual was reduced to 91 cents, and between 1870 and 1880 it fell to 86 cents.


Of late years the productive power of woolen machinery has greatly increased, so that the number of mills or number of sets of cards is no index of the condition of manufacture. For example, in 1870, 8,352 sets of cards used only 208,916 pounds of all materials, or 25,014 pounds per set; while in 1880, 5,961 sets used 276,949 pounds of all materials, or 46,460 pounds per set, thus nearly doubling in productive power. Again, in New England there was from 1870 to 1880 a reduction in the sets of cards from 3,358 to 2,922 (nearly 13 per cent. decrease); and during the same period the pounds of material used increased from 116,511,379 to 156,091,549 (an increase of about 33 per cent.).

In 1880 the great bulk of woolen manufacture was carried on in nine States, and in the order named: (1) Massachusetts; (2) Pennsylvania; (3) Connecticut; (4) Rhode Island; (5) New York; (6) New Hampshire; (7) Maine; (8) New Jersey; (9) Vermont.

The following were the seven leading cities in woolen manufacture in the order named, viz: (1) Philadelphia; (2) Lawrence; (3) Provience; (4) Lowell; (5) New York; (6) Manchester; (7) Boston.

In the same year (1880) 61 per cent. of the hands employed in woolen mills were natives and 39 per cent. were foreigners.

The statistics heretofore given include all branches of the woolen industries, but each demands a separate history.


Under worsted manufactures are included all wool and cotton warp, delaines, challies, bareges, imitation bareges, all-wool and part-wool reps and worsted yarns for carpets and hosiery. In the year 1860 these goods were made in several States, but nearly all in value were made by three mills, viz: Manchester Print Works, Manchester, N. H.; Pacific Mills, Lawrence, Mass.; and Hamilton Woolen Company's Works, Southbridge, Mass. These three mills made in 1860 about 22,750,000 yards, valued at $3,701,378.

These mills employed 2,378 hands, and paid in wages $543,684; their capital was $3,230,000.

Prior to 1868 worsted manufacture was confined to the goods before named, but in 1868 diagonal and other worsteds for men's wear began to be made, and grew so rapidly in popularity that they created a revolution in worsted manufactures. In 1867 there were only a few combs running, but in 1880 there were 360 combs, and in 1886 there were 563 in active operation.

In 1870 the capital invested in worsted mills had increased to $10,085,000; the number of mills had increased to 102, employing 12,920 hands, paying $4,368,857 in wages, and producing annually in value $22,090,331.

In 1880 capital in worsted mills had increased to $20,374,043; there were 18,803 hands employed, receiving $5,683,027 in wages, and producing in value $33,549,942.

Since 1880 the worsted goods industry has continued to increase, and in 1885 Mr. Truitt, of the house of Dolan & Co., eştimated that the combing-wool clip of the United States fell 80,000,000 pounds short of the amount necessary to run the machinery to its full capacity.


The first carpet seen in the United States, of which we have any knowledge, was a small Turkish rug, said to have been in the house of Kidd, the pirate, who was executed in 1701. As early as 1760 a few Scotch and other carpets were advertised by persons in New York, but prior to the Revolution they were very rare, and then only in the houses of wealthy Dutch merchants.

In 1791 William Peter Sprague started a carpet factory at Philadel phia, and wove a national pattern with a device representing the arms and achievements of the United States, and in the same year Secretary Hamilton recommended that Congress encourage the industry by increasing the duty on wool carpets.

Several years later John Dorsey started another factory at Philadel phia; but in 1810 there were only manufactured 9,984 yards of carpetings in the whole country, worth about $1 per yard. This industry increased very little, however, until 1827, when H. R. Knight & Co. established a factory in Hartford County, Connecticut. The next year the Thompsonville Company started another in the same county. The Lowell Manufacturing Company also started in 1828. Samuel Given put another in operation at Carlisle, Pa., in 1830, and in the year 1833 3 carpet factories were built in Columbia County, New York, and 1 at Rochester, N. Y. During the same year carpet factories were started in New Haven and New London Counties, Connecticut, Somersworth, N. H., Baltimore, Md., and Steubenville, Ohio.

In 1834 there were 18 or 20 carpet factories, running 511 looms, of which 18 looms were for Brussels, 21 for treble ingrained, 44 Venetian, 4 Damask Venetian, and 424 for ingrained carpets other than three-ply. They made 1,147,500 yards, worth about $1 per yard.

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