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recently made another very important move in the district for encouraging the study of Old English furniture. This is the conversion of an old, picturesque block of almshouses called Geffryes Garden into a permanent museum. The buildings, which are situated round an open garden, were erected in the early part of the 18th century and gradually, through loans from private collectors and from other sources, a collection of old English furniture is being got together so that those who are working in the cabinet-making industry in the district may have, easily of access, a place for study. About thirty-six per thousand of the male population resident in Shoreditch and neighborhood are engaged in the furniture making trade and the daily influx of workers who live in other parts is very large. A small point in connection with this museum which will appeal to any student of furniture who has spent much time in great museums, is the better sense of proportion which is obtained when furniture is arranged in suitable rooms, rather than in large galleries. The almshouses are small and although their conversion has necessitated a few structural alterations, the specimens are being shown in rooms of about the size for which such furniture was primarily designed. That charming degree of homeliness and intimacy which old furniture possesses will not be interfered with as is so often the case in large national collections arranged in halls of immense proportions.
Charles M. Partridge, 66 years old, a pioneer traveling salesman of New York, died suddenly of heart failure at Margaretville, N. Y., March 18. Mr. Partridge's death occurred without warning in the ticket room of the Margaretville railroad station. He represented the Peter Bradley lines in New York state.
Ernst F. Blum, who operated furniture manufacturing business in Hamilton, Ohio, for years, died suddenly when striken with apoplexy on the street near his home. Mr. Blum, who was 76 years old, served during the Civil war as a member of the military band of Company D, Ninth Ohio Volunteers, and later acted as director of the Appolo band, Hamilton. He is survived by his widow and four children.
Edward Schrenkeisen, one of the well-known family of furniture manufacturers, once prominent in the upholstery trade, committed suicide at his home in New York on April 7, by inhaling gas. Fourteen years ago his father killed himself in the same house on 75th street, New York, by drinking carbolic acid. Edward Schrenkeisen was found by his brother Victor, who with the mother of the sons lived in the old family residence. The deceased had been a widower for the past year and a half and the death of his wife had affected him deeply.
John Grant Dillon, secretary-treasurer of the Waite Furniture Co., of Portsmouth, Ohio, died on March 19, following a sudden attack of uremic poisoning. Three days before his untimely end, Mr. Dillon was at his accustomed place in the office of the Waite Furniture Co., his attention to business details giving no indication of the sorrowful developments that were to follow within a few hours. Mr. Dillon was born in Burlington, Ohio, the son of a Methodist minister and lived in many places, as the sons of Methodist ministers are wont to do, until he settled in Portsmouth, Ohio, at the age of twenty, where he accepted the position of bookkeeper for the Waite Furniture Co. This was in 1883 and he had been there ever since. In connection with his brother, the entire stock of the company was purchased in 1897. He was active all
his life in the church of his father. He was married in 1897 and leaves a widow and a son and daughter.
John N. Ahl, formerly of Seele & Ahl, of Binghamton, N. Y. now handles the goods of the Key Chair Co., in connection with the line of Prufrock-Litton, through New England.
Henry W. Medicus, of C. H. Medicus & Son, Brooklyn, whose health has not been particularly good since he was operated on about a year ago, has just returned home from the South.
L. L. Valentine, of the Valentine-Seaver Co., Chicago, Ill., accompanied by Mrs. Valentine, left early in March for an extended trip which will include the Hawaiian Islands. Mr. Seaver returned March 1st from a trip to Florida.
E. M. Hulse, the Colombus lounge and couch manufacturer, sends a postal card mailed at Singapore, but illustrative of an experience at Fort Agria, India. Mr. and Mrs. Hulse have been making a tour around the world and about this time should be in Japan. They were in Singapore on February 19.
H. B. Conaway has been made buyer of the SimpsonCrawford store of New York which has been purchased by a new company to be known as the Simpson-Crawford Corporation, of which Alexander McLachlan, of the O'Neil-Adams Co., is the president and is to have the direction of the business for a year on the basis of 25 per cent. of the profits for his services.
Consulting Engineers of Experience
ANUFACTURERS who contemplate making changes in their plants, and particularly those who are planning to introduce individual motor drive-and there are many such-are apt to hesitate for the lack of exact scientific knowledge. But this obstacle is removed by the announcement elsewhere of the Thos. S. Watson Company, consulting engineers, who are in position to handle electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and illuminating problems. Mr. Watson is the longest established consulting engineer in the Northwest. He has been for many years a designer of electrical apparatus in general, and motors and generators in particular. He is the inventor of the famous Watson motor and his name has always been connected with high grade propositions. He has now devoted his attention to the application of electrical energy to woodworking plants for nearly six years and has electrically equipped a number of large plants in the Northwest. With his extensive and varied experience he should be able to serve well the manufacturers contemplating applying direct drive. In a future issue of THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURER AND ARTISAN Mr. Watson will contribute an article on "The Use of Electric Power in Wood-Working Plants."
Gum Manufacturers to Meet
HE Gum Manufacturers association will meet May 19 and 20 at the Gayoso Hotel, Memphis. The program for the meeting has not yet been completed, but there will be reports of the officers and standing committees, and a special feature will be the report by R. M. Carrier, chairman of the committee on technical research. This report will deal with the question of properly manufacturing and caring for gum lumber. A cordial invitation is extended to all manufacturers and users of gum lumber to be present and to participate in the meeting. Every effort will be made to make this meeting a meinorable one in the history of red gum.
TELEPHONE IN THE FURNITURE PLANT
Short Cut in Accomplishing Results---Simple Systems Which Can be Applied to the Furniture Factory---Get Rid of Running to Various Departments
By ALEXANDER T. DEINZER
HE large furniture manufacturer of today finds competition keener than it ever was before. He finds material more costly and wages higher than any time in the history of the industry. The labor unions have shortened the working day and naturally the output per man is greatly lessened. Accordingly the value of every employe's time has increased and the necessity of utilizing every moment of it becomes evident. In order to meet this keen competition and utilize every moment of this valuable employe's time, the manufacturer must avail himself of every short cut and adopt every method possible to eliminate the waste of time in the conduct of his business.
The average furniture factory, with its many large departments, covers a great deal of ground. This is the more evident when one considers the bulkiness of the product. In fact, the furniture plant is a small city in Naturally, there is a lot of inter-departmental business to be transacted, which necessitates the foreman of this or that department spending half an hour or so in a visit to the superintendent or the superintendent wasting his valuable time in a trip to some distant department, etc.
Of all the time savers adaptable to the furniture industry the telephone reaching to every part of the plant. is the greatest. With an inter-communicating telephone system, the superintendent can do his work much quicker and better. A system of this kind connecting every department would save an aggregate amount of time in a year, the value of which would pay for the system itself
many times over.
The high-salaried superintendent, loaded down with important matters, can ill afford to hunt up his assistant
IN THE OFFICE
when he wishes to talk to him. He cannot waste time going from this department to that to talk with the foremen. He cannot afford to take half an hour off and go down to the dry-kilns and straighten out the trouble there. Nor will it pay him to send a messenger to bring
go so well, work slackens at once and loss ensues. You know, yourself, the great amount of time that is lost by people moving about the factory and going from one department to another, asking questions and in many instances doing a little talking after the business is transacted.
An inter-communicating system will save all this running around. The superintendent may want to talk to the boss in the lumber yard; instead of sending a messenger and bringing this man way up to his office, he just takes the matter up by telephone. Maybe there's a little difficulty in the shipping-room and the clerk wants the advice of the superintendent; instead of walking way up to the office, he telephones. Perhaps there is trouble with the power; the engineer is summoned by telephone from the department where the trouble occurs.
Altogether, the establishment of a telephone system in the furniture plant will mean the actual lessening of the number of employes on the pay roll to turn out the same amount of work. All messengers may be dispensed with immediately. The lack of interruption in the daily routine of business will be noticeable in the first day's output. It will give the superintendent a better control of his men; they will work better realizing that they are within the reach of his voice.
There are several different private telephone systems, each one having its own particular feature. The first thing to be considered in selecting a system is the number of stations you need at present and also the number you will probably need later on as your business expands. Always figure on putting in a system that allows additions to be made later.
A private telephone system with an operator's switch
board is the most flexible. It will take care of more stations, and in many instances is considered as a great advantage because the operator acts as a bureau of information in addition to her switchboard duties. There is practically no limit to the size of this type of system. The operator in attendance at the switchboard answers all calls coming in and makes all connections.
Another type of system is called the Inter-Comm-Phone system. This system requires no operator, as each person makes his own connections. Pressing the button makes your connection and calls your party.
This system is intended for concerns that will never require more than thirty-two stations, this being the largest capacity in which this type is made.
Either of these systems can be so wired and arranged that any station in the system can communicate direct with the main or city exchange.
The cost of a private telephone system is dependent, of course, on the number of stations required, but on the whole the installation is nowhere as expensive as is generally believed.
PHASES OF THE FURNITURE MARKETS
Manufacturers Could Fill More Orders---Factories are Being Generally Worked on Short Time---Less Than a Normal Business can be Expected
Written by Men Who Know
HE furniture trade is unmistakably dull. This is the only statement which can be made in truth from the manufacturers' standpoint. There are comparatively few factories which are being operated more than forty hours a week-some of them less than that-for the manufacturers are actuated by some of the same conservatism which governs the retailers. The retailers, who have been affected by the hesitation which is everywhere evident, have had added to their other negative poles recently a cold, late spring. Signs of spring are not very many at this writing in the North, and the traveling men who have the courage to go out over their territory encounter but little readiness upon the part of the dealers to replenish their stocks. If there should be a sudden burst of spring weather and the demand for baby cabs, linoleum, the things which are called for about housecleaning time, and summer furniture should as suddenly become general the conditions might change radically. Some improvement is reported by our New York correspondent who writes: "Retail trade in New York city and vicinity shows distinct improvement over previous conditions and a corresponding feeling of optimism is apparent. The depressing influence of a cold and late spring has been somewhat discounted by the comparative lateness of the Easter season this year and retailers in general report fairly satisfactory business. How much of this applies to the retail furniture business is a question, but there is no doubt but that any expansion in general business activity will be shared by the furniture trade. Confidence is evidently increasing among the buying public but it has not as yet shown itself in such proportions as to warrant any sudden expansion in wholesale buying, and the wholesale dealers in all lines still complain of the 'hand to mouth' methods of buyers." There are some encouraging conditions in the financial world. The demand for money has slackened, although this can be readily traced to the slackening of trade in all lines. There is a decreasing number of bankrupts, although this, in turn, is less significant than would be the statement had it come mid-year. The January liquidations not infrequently result in a large number of failures, while there is usually in turn a falling off as we move into the year. But in the face of tight money and poor collections it is encouraging to know that failures are fewer than they were a month ago. Even the Siegel stores, in New York, are gradually resuming. Some merchants are reporting slow collections from a most unexpected source that of the rich agricultural sections
of the Middle and North-West. It is believed that the bountiful crops and high prices obtained produced a spirit of extreme optimism which led to unwonted extravagance and, in many cases, to an over-extension of credit. Several leading agricultural machinery concerns have been reported in difficulties owing to their inability to make collections.
It is undoubtedly true that no more than a normal spring trade possibly not even that--can be expected during the ensuing sixty days, by which time we ought almost to be in the swing of the summer buying season. Something must depend upon the action of Congress. While there seems to be a disposition upon the part of Congress to modify the trust-busting policy of the administration, there is no mistaking the temper of the business public that the time has come to cease baiting Big Business, and there is an unmistakable growth of sentiment in behalf of a more liberal policy toward the railways. The gross earnings of the railways show a steady decline and many employes have been laid off. This certainly, and seriously, affects the furniture business, particularly the trade of the installment dealers. It not only means loss of volume, but bespeaks slow collections. Until the demands of business impose upon the railways the restoration of trains, etc., and until it is possible for the transportation lines to begin expenditures for replacements, etc., not much improvement in the retail trade of railway centers of importance need be expected. Although the steel companies are still operating about 75 per cent. capacity, they are not able to resume, evidently, the optimistic statements which were current in January and February. Much building is being done, it is true, and it is certain that the automobile manufacturers are still thoroughly busy, making their peculiar, but substantial, demand upon the steel industries. But this will not suffice. The railways are the big consumers of steel products.
There is nothing in the late spring which is yet interpreted as adverse to the growing crops. But it is too early yet to base firmly on the crop outlook, words of encouragement, which will contribute to the restoration of confidence, now apparently lacking.
charged that the railroads are sparing no effort to influence the pending rate decisions in their favor. The large number of employes which the railroads have discharged of late, the reduction in the number of passenger trains run, and the refusal to purchase steel and other equipment materials are all said to be part of a carefully considered plan to emphasize their position. Whether this is true or not, the effect upon the steel trade has certainly been all that they could wish. The manufacturing trades also appear to have their present needs well covered, and if it were not for the substantial increase in structural steel for the building trades of late. the steel trade would be in bad shape. The agricultural machinery manufacturers are reported in more or less financial straits owing to over extension of credit and have been noticeably backward in submitting their estimates for requirements for their ensuing fiscal year which begins July 1st. The automobile manufacturing trade has been fairly active in taking steel bars and has helped this end of the industry. The falling off is principally in new orders for forward positions, and specifications against old contracts have held up surprisingly well under the circumstances. For this reason, the actual volume of business done for the first quarter of 1914 shows up remarkably well in contrast with former years, but the apathy of buyers in regard to the future indicates that this statistical feature is misleading. Under the influence of this lack of interest, competition for business has again increased to such proportions as to start prices on the downward path and this has the effect of still further increasing the reluctance of buyers to place contracts ahead. Some instances of sales of structural steel as low as 1.10e base have been reported and steel plates at less than 1.15c base, Pittsburgh. Naturally, on a falling market, there is a disposition to sit back and await further developments. Finished product mills have been working to about 75 per cent. capacity of late, but it is admitted that further curtailment will be necessary unless there is a prompt revival in buying. Prices are softening in nearly all departments and it is believed that in most cases business could be done well under the published quotations. Although efforts to import foreign steel have met with little encouragement so far, this specter is ever before the trade and probably has had some slight influence upon the situation. Altogether the outlook is rather cheerless at this time.
Although the pig iron market is no longer as sensitive to changes in the steel trade as in former years, a pronounced reaction has also taken place in this line. Total pig iron sales for the first quarter of 1914 were more than double those of the corresponding period in 1913 and a half million tons greater than 1912. On the other hand, March sales dropped to 240,000 tons and at present the market is flat. While the heavy sales of the first quarter enable the furnaces to maintain quite a firm front at present, it is evident that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain prices in the face of growing competition for business, and scattered reports of shading prices are beginning to come in. At present there is hardly enough new business to test the market, but concessions of about 250 a ton have been reported on steel making grades which are, perhaps, the dullest on the list. Producers of foundry grades are making a strong effort to hold prices at the higher levels recently established, but it is believed that orders of important size could be placed at concessions. Foundry and machinery manufacturers are backward in taking their allotments even on old contracts, and seem extremely reluctant to place new business for the second quarter. A strange feature of the situation is that quotations for pig iron in the third quarter have hardened in an unexplained manner and furnaces are unwilling to quote iron for the third quarter at the prices asked for April-May deliveries. This would seem to indicate a confidence in the future trend of business, which the present situation does not justify. Foundries appear to be working on an average of 60 to 70 per cent. of capacity, and in spite of their
small takings and requests for delay in shipment, are believed to be accumulating pig iron faster than they can dispose of it. The prospects are for lower prices in the immediate future, with a possible hardening again after July 1st.
Brass and Copper
Quotations on brass tubing and other brass products continue unchanged because of the unsettled copper market. While quotations have been in the vicinity of 1412 cents for some weeks, there has not been enough domestic demand to really test the market. Statistics of domestic Consumption show a continued decline and the chief cially from Germany. Consumers in that country appear source of strength is the large European demand, espeto have been frightened by the strikes and other disturbances at the sources of supply and to have decided to accumulate a surplus which would tide them over any ordinary period of shortage. This probably accounts for the heavy exports of copper to Europe of late, and has helped to stiffen the local market. Domestic holders seem a little more anxious to dispose of their stocks than they have been for some time, but they have not yet reached the point of making more than trifling concessions. The situation is still a waiting one as far as actual consumption and buying are concerned, and there is no real basis for advancing an opinion as to the future trend of prices.
THE RAW MATERIAL MARKETS
The final figures of the government on the current cotton crop bring assurance to users of cotton fabrics that there is enough of the staple to meet demands. The crop was the most valuable ever grown and the second largest in point of quantity. Its quality, however, is distinctly low, despite high prices, and it is now apparent that there will be no surplus of spinnable grades. The crop contained an unusually large amount of low-grade staple, much of which the mills have been forced to use, but the demand has now slackened off to such an extent that the mills are becoming more particular. Widespread accounts of the enormous size of the crop have fostered an idea among buyers that there would be a great surplus of cotton and that prices should be much lower than they are. As a matter of fact, it appears that the mills have been unable to secure cotton of grades which they could use at anything like the prices quoted on the speculative markets of New York and other centers. The mills have realized this right along, but have had hard work to convince buyers of the fact and the demand has fallen off sharply. There is little disposition among the mills to make up stock and the market has become very sensitive. Although there is little buying, there is very little stock anywhere in the market. A revulsion of feeling is now beginning to manifest itself, with an increasing realization that fabric prices are far cheaper in proportion to raw cotton now than they were a year ago, and wise buyers are beginning to place their orders ahead. The comparative cheapness of cotton goods at present is more and more apparent since the size of the crop is definitely settled and the future trend of prices will probably be upward.
The market in carpet and upholstery grades of wool is surprisingly strong in view of the serious depression in the carpet manufacturing trade. Most of the leading manufacturers have curtailed production sharply, as much as 50 per cent. in some cases. On this ground, manufacturers have been making a strong effort to depress wool prices, but apparently without material effect. The continued interest in the raw material market is taken by the holders as an indication that manufacturers are confident of the future, in spite of present indications, and there is no disposition to make concessions. Some large transactions have been reported at high prices. Chinese wools, which are used in the cheaper lines, are especially firm and competition has been keen for all offerings. Russian and East Indian wools are also
firmly held and the manufacturers seem rather disgruntled at the lack of result of their efforts to depress values.
The continued heavy demand for silk fabrics of all descriptions contributes materially to the strength of the raw silk market. The supply is certainly not excessive and the Japanese holders in particular seem to be in a position where they can practically dictate terms. In fact, some observers express surprise that there have not been further advances than have been made. Domestic manufacturers, however, are fairly well covered for their present needs, and are not operating actively in the raw silk market. The current Japanese crop is now well cleaned up and the higher grades are scarce. Prices advanced early in March, then checked, and have since ruled irregular. Italian silks are at a high level, and holders seem unwilling to make any concessions in spite of cabled advices to the contrary. Chinese producers seem to be well sold up and very firm in their views.
The linseed oil market continues rather dull. The big buyers are starting to enter the market, but are conservative in their purchases and little interest is shown in future positions beyond July. Prices are firm with a slight tendency upward, but not marked enough to be quotable. Oil quotations in foreign markets are slightly lower and foreign oil has been offered locally. It has not attracted much attention as yet, but since the duty was reduced to 10 cents a gallon, it may yet be a factor in the domestic market. The world's consumption of linseed oil has been undoubtedly increased by the development of the hydrogenating or "hardening" process which makes this material available in the soap and certain edible product industries, but the supply seems to be adequate. There is some talk of selling linseed oil by weight instead of measure in the future, this being the usual method with oils of its class. Local prices on linseed oil are 51 to 522 cents, both for spot and nearby future positions.
Early in March the linseed oil market was startled by the publication of a statement which seemed to show that the domestic supply of flax seed was so far below the needs of this country that it would be necessary to import twelve million bushels of seed from other sources. This created quite a flurry for a time, but the matter was thoroughly threshed out by leading authorities and the alarm seems to be baseless. The best indication of this is the unruffled attitude of the oil manufacturers, who would be glad to take advantage of any such "bullish" situation if it actually existed. The concensus of opinion seems to be that there is an ample supply of seed in sight, although seed prices are slowly advancing, as is natural with the progress of the season. The European demand for seed seems to have been well supplied by the big Argentine crop, and there seems to be no cause for apprehension of a sudden increase in prices. Crushers do not seem anxious about future supplies and are still discriminating against the poorer grades of seed which are offered.
Increased importations of tow are expected under a recent decision of the Board of United States General Appraisers in favor of several importers of upholstery supplies who had imported flax straw in the rough and had been assessed at the $20 rate. It was held that this was properly dutiable as flax straw at $5 per ton.
realize that this is a good opportunity to cover for future needs. Some grades are especially cheap at present, including the bleached variety. The near approach of the uncertain shipping season is also a factor locally. During the summer, shipments of shellac are apt to be seriously damaged by heat, arriving in what is known as a "blocky" condition, affecting their value seriously. This season is assumed to begin June 15th. Local published quotations show no change with the exception of the higher priced grades which are 12 to 1 cent lower. Turpentine
There has been a slow but steady expansion of the turpentine market. Receipts have been few and scattered and stocks are small. Operations are not impressive, being mostly in small orders, but the aggregate is large. There has been little fluctuation in prices, which are steady at 49 to 50 cents.
Domestic glues are quiet, but prices are well maintained. There is little new business reported, but substantial deliveries on old contracts. The foreign glue market, however, is active and considerable movement is reported.
The varnish gum market has quieted down and the larger consumers seem to be well covered. Stocks of the more desirable grades are low and in some cases sold ahead. The other grades have not been neglected, however, and the whole market is in a comfortable situation. Batavia and Singapore Damar have been particularly active. Price changes are nominal.
UPHOLSTERY AND BEDDING SUPPLIES
During the early part of March, the domestic burlap market was distinctly dull, and transactions were SO meager that there was difficulty in getting at the true state of the market. Consumers seemed to be well supplied and wholesalers and importers were awaiting developments in consequence of changed conditions at the sources of supply. Toward the end of the month much more interest was shown, especially in the heavy weight descriptions. Some cheap lots were disposed of and the market well cleaned up. Quotations on jute moved up steadily, but burlap prices remained steady nearly up to the end of the month.
April 1st, 80 per cent. of the Calcutta mills started on a five-day-a-week schedule, which is to continue for five months, and the market both here and abroad reacted at once. Considerable excitement prevailed in Calcutta and prices moved up sharply, both on nearby and future positions. The consumptive demand was not sufficient to warrant this, and the movement so far seems to be mainly speculative, but it will undoubtedly be felt here. There is no suggestion of a scarcity unless the demand should broaden out suddenly, but domestic holders feel that their position is stronger and prices have been moved up all along the line. Carload lots of 1012 oz. 40s are At this quoted at $5.70 to $5.75, and 11 oz. at 6 cents. writing, there seems to be little chance of lower prices, with a fair prospect of further advances when the demand brightens.
The yield of cotton linters this year reached a new record of 600,000 bales. As a result of improved machinery, there has been a closer delinting of the seed from year to year, and production has doubled in the past five years. Prices show a distinctly weaker tendency as
Prices on hair and other upholstery fibers have not changed materially and there seems to be no immediate prospect of fluctuations. The increasing use of horsehair in various manufacturing trades is something of a factor in the situation, but has not assumed material importance.