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Technology, is reported to have demonstrated that $120,000 000 is annually spent for wood containers ased only once and then destroyed. Mr. John H. Leonard, editor of the last report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in Freight Handling and Terminal Engineering, says:
During the year our railroads paid $32,000,000 for loss and damage claims, of which amount fully one-half could have been saved by substantial containers and the whole question is now recognized as a question of containers.
In strong containers, eggs, the most fragile of staple commodities, have been brought uninjured from Russia to Pittsburgh (9,000 miles). In weak, three-sixteenths-inch wood cases, or crates, prescribed by the railroads, eggs are destroyed or damaged every month to the value of thousands of dollars while being carried short distances-frequently less than 100 miles.
In the old days when cases were made strong, damage claims were rare, and under free rates the empty cases were returned and used again and again.
To-day the railroads are urging the shippers to use strongly built cases which would weigh twice the present weight, and three-fold charges for carrying them. Even if built strong enough for repeated use, the return freight would bar this, for even on short hauls, these would exceed the cost of the present fragile containers. Plainly the first move toward the solution of this problem must come from the railroads and the mode seems easy. Let them decide, jointlyif possible with the shippers, on a standard type of container of such strength and quality as will afford the utmost protection against all forms of loss and damage and invite and encourage its use by free transit one way, or the same charges that are now made on fragile containers of like capacity.
One of the most recent indestructible containers is that provided by the Pneumatic Scale Corporation.
This is a collapsible device designed to avoid many of the defects of the one-trip containers. This device is illustrated in Fig. 32.
Cases should preferably be marked with brush or stencil. Tags and labels ought never to be employed. The method of marking foreign shipments, however, may depend on regulations established by various countries. In shipping to Chile, South America, brush addresses are not permitted; stencils only must be employed. Shipments to the Argentine may be marked either by brush or by stencil; the address must be printed on four sides of the package.
The illustration shown in Fig. 33 shows the operation of the shipping room of the National Cash Register Company. In the case of this plant, a machine is shipped to one customer to-day and a similar machine to another one to-morrow and for such a product the company has found the Dart Marking Machine, made by the Dart Marking Machine Company, of Hartford, Conn., almost invaluable. It prints in legible and unmistakable characters the name and address of the party for whom the box is intended and rarely, if ever, is this company confronted with any query as to whom a shipment may be intended for.
Rough iron castings, iron bars, and similar goods, which are shipped without any packing protection, frequently do not present a surface large enough to receive the address, and, as a consequence, tags must be used. The classification regulations of the carriers contain elaborate rules for marking, and usually require that tags, if used, must be of some construction strong enough to withstand the strain they must endure.
The necessity for extreme care in marking is evidenced by the numerous consignments that turn up at various points on the lines of the carriers of this country without any marks or directions which will enable the carriers to determine where the property belongs.
The question of weight and weighing produces much controversy between shippers and carriers. Upon receipt the railroads weigh property delivered to them in less than-carload lots, except that covered by an authorized weighing association agreement. Because of haste or carelessness, the weight so obtained often differs materially from the actual weight of the consignment.
In weighing carload shipments, the practice of weighing cars coupled in trains, and even in trains in motion, obviously is likely to produce error; and not infrequently an error in the gross weight or the tare weight will produce a serious overcharge on an incorrect net weight.
In weighing less-than-carload shipments, the scaler sometimes neglects to deduct the tare weight for the truck and truckman. Shipments are sometimes billed out on a weight that includes the consignment proper, the truck on which it is loaded, and the truckman who is to take the shipment to the proper car, as shown in Fig. 34. While, fortunately, these cases are relatively few, the possibility makes necessary an efficient system of weighing and of recording the weights of shipments in the shipping room, so that in extreme cases, or in those which involve considerable money, the shipper can protect his interests.
Since the railroad charges vary according to the