« ÎnapoiContinuă »
After the lumber comes from the preparator it is run out on elevated storage tracks. There are 78 of these tracks, each taking care of a certain grade, thickness and kind of lumber, the aggregate length of these approximating slightly in excess of two miles. These tracks are all constructed on concrete piers, are built 4 ft. above the ground, so that with the truck and the steel "I" beam foundations on the truck there is a clear air space below each pile of lumber of approximately 5 ft. The initial investment in this equipment and yard system is considerable, but the results that were observed in the condition of the lumber handled clearly established the wisdom of the expenditures made, for similar results would be impossible of attainment in any other manner.
The lumber remains on these storage tracks until ready for shipment, being left on the truck on which originally piled, and not being disturbed or rehandled in any way.
visitor. He starts in the woods of a forest primeval where magnificent trees are being cut in the interest of modern commercialism. They are not being cut in a haphazard manner, but are being selected and felled with care. After being felled, they are cut into logs, on the ends of which is applied a liquid solution for the purpose of preventing any deterioration. Almost immediately they are skidded to the private railroad by steam skidders and loaded to the cars by steam log rollers.
Then the visitor takes a ride to the mill, and here observes that once the log is on a car it never touches the ground again. He further observes that no man working here does any work that it is possible for machinery to do. The logs are mechanically pulled up an incline into the mill, where they are sawed into boards, but not before being examined by an expert, who determines into what class of boards the log should be sawed.
Each storage track leads to the railroad loading track, and as the newly treated lumber is put on one end of the track and the loading is done at the other end, it will be observed that the dryest lumber is always at the front end, or at the point where the lumber is loaded. In this manner all drayage or hauling of lumber, or re-handling of same is entirely eliminated. As the lumber is loaded on cars for shipment, another inspection is made, and such lumber as may have escaped observation or may have, through mistake, gotten into the wrong piles, as well as that which may have deteriorated in drying, is eliminated. The inspection is given very close and careful attention and every possible effort throughout the entire handling is made to eliminate errors.
Any one interested in the use of hardwood lumber, even in the slightest degree, will find a visit to this operation highly instructive, and the management assured the writer that any visitor would be cordially received, no matter whether that visitor be a prospective customer or a seeker after knowledge in the scientific production of lumber.
Before bringing this description to a close, let us consider some of the salient features to be observed by the
The boards pass through the sorting shed on conveyor chains and are given two inspections. Then they are piled on lumber trucks, each grade on a separate truck, and put through the Kraetzer preparator, where they receive the scientific treatment of steaming under pressure. This process insures a product uniform in color, and eliminates the tendency to check, warp and honeycomb.
As the visitor noticed that the log never touched the ground when once it was on a car, so he now observes that the lumber itself at no time ever touches the ground. It goes into the preparator on a truck, and as it comes out it is moved on the same truck to the storage track, where it remains until it is loaded to larger cars for freight shipment. This makes for efficiency in the elimination of rehandling one or more times, so common in most yards, and because of this fact does away with breakage or strain that reduced the grade of the product. If this operation did not have a thoroughly modern equipment, and yet piled its lumber with the care it does, the yard alone would be worthy of much comment in these columns. The Kraetzer preparator is not a dry kiln, though in addition to its other qualifications, it
does much to hasten the drying of the lumber. It is the kind of pile and the care exercised in sticking that makes this yard worth the study of every furniture manufacturer, or, indeed, any other remanufacturer of lumber.
First consider the sticker, which in most yards is considered as a necessary evil and given little consideration. This company uses what has been decided to be an ideal sticker by several concerns. This is one inch square. In many a yard can be found tier after tier in which the stickers in one tier range from a half inch to one and one-half inch in thickness, and from three-fourths inch to four inches in width. All stickers should be of even thickness. The one inch sticker will always lie the inch way, and therefore the course will lie straight. The moisture in the part of the board imprisoned between the stickers must either travel lengthwise of the board or else through the sticker to reach the surface. So it will be seen that the wide sticker impedes drying and thereby starts rot and stain. The narrow sticker calls for more care in placing it, and because the displacement is more apparent, the tendency will be toward more accurate piling.
honest grades and truthful representations, and while it welcomes the patronage of the legitimate and honest dealer, it will not practice the substitution or manipulation of grades, nor will it be a party to any such transactions. In order to make impossible such practice with its product every board of lumber, as it is loaded, is marked, showing the grade for which it is shipped. This, with the brand on the lumber as described, prevents any deception or misrepresentation and protects fully the purchaser of any of its product, either direct or through lumber dealers or wholesalers.
A manufacturing company will be organized in Delphos, Ohio, to build combination portable mantles, invented by F. E. Smith and J. L. Mat Martin.
The Hall & Lyon Furniture Co., Waverly, N. Y., has completed the installation of electrical power throughout its plant. The steam equipment hereafter will be used only for heating purposes.
The Sterling Desk Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., recently occupied its new plant at Front avenue and Myrtle street,
Next consider the piling in this yard where the lumber is piled with one edge, instead of the end, of the board raised. This makes a sidewise pitched pile that is level lengthwise. The air, which naturally rises, goes up the incline without being obstructed by the cross strips, because they run the same way as the air. Again notice another improvement. Heretofore the general tendency has been to place the boards with the edges close together, depending on the shrinkage to open them up. This is not sufficient. The very time that the lumber most needs the open space to facilitate circulation is when it is fresh piled. So here a space of four inches is left between the edges of each board. Observe further that the foundation of the storage tracks is of concrete, which is cheap, strong and durable, and that there is a clear air space below each pile of lumber of approximately 5 feet.
Finally the visitor sees a third inspection being made as the lumber is loaded for shipment-this and the branding; for, like many manufacturers in other lines, the company is anxious to protect its patrons and all users of hardwoods against deception and misrepresentation, and for this purpose every board as it is loaded is branded "The Kraetzer-Cured Lumber Company." It stands for
formerly the factory of the Interchangeable Fixtures Co. The property was remodeled and a new power house constructed after purchase by the Sterling Desk Co. last year. The factory on Prescott avenue, formerly occupied by the Sterling Desk Co., will house a new wood-working concern in which Nicholas J. Alt, formerly with the Macey Company, and Ignatz H. Batsche, of the Davies-Putnam Company, are interested.
The Faribault Furniture Co., of Faribault, Minn., has passed into the control of L. D. Harkins, who has purchased the interest of John Hutchinson, who succeeded to the interest of A. W. Stockton, following his death in 1903. Mr. Harkins was originally in the employ of the company, but secured an interest in the Waterville Furniture Co., at Waterville, Minn., where he remained for a couple of years, returning later to the Faribault Furniture Co., of which he has been virtually manager for several years now. The company operates a factory making bookcases, buffets and like things, and conducts a retail store. They also own and operate a mill which has always been particularly prosperous. F. B. Beach, who was long superintendent and designer of the company, retains his interest.
Confidence in Good Fall Trade is Based on the Crop Reports Which Promise Much---Some Indications of Trade Revival Given by Raw Material Markets
WRITTEN BY MEN WHO KNOW
TITS bring writer on the one of the opening of the f...tre PAROTI in Grand Rapide.
I will be fing two weeks mutil tre senzom is in full xing, unl biers begin to come in any numbers to eather Grand Rapids or Chicago, and still later before the bugers will begin to visit New York. What they may do will be of unusual importance to manufacturers in the face of the experience during the past four or five months. During the month which has elapsed since the last survey of this character, the manufacturers have scented some light indication of an improvement in demand. Dealers have sent in hurry-up orders for goods which gave indication that trade, after all, has been good with many of the retailers, and that stocks have been so steadily drawn on that some replenishment must take place during the buying season. this condition is the present hope for the manufacturers. With the retailers hope and expectation spring from another source entirely. A good deal of confidence has been inspired, particularly in the distinctively agricul tural districts of the country, by the crop reports which have been issued. The greatest wheat crop in the history of the country is one of the predictions. The harvest has already commenced in the districts where winter wheat grows, and will have begun, before this can reach the render, in the spring wheat district. Fully a month more must elapse before it can be completed. Weather conditions have remained particularly favorable since the government reports were issued. The prediction is for a crop of spring and winter whent, which will total 900,000,000 bushels against 763,000,000 bushels last year. The estimate of the ont crop is 1,216,000,000, which is the preparation of many new patterns and the exhibitions ngainst 178,000,000 in 1913.
If these figures are realized it is certain that there will he trade in the districts where this crop is raised, for wheat is the one crop which turns readily into money, and the agricultural West is not so susceptible to the fear of adverse legislation, financial disturbance and things of that sort as is the East. The western retailers may not be seen in any number in the market places until well into July, but they are the men whose favor it will be well to cultivate at this time.
It is promised that the California fruit crop will walse also $500,000,000. This, together with the near approach of the opening of the Panama-Pacific Exposition should make the demand from the Pacific Coast above normal.
With the reasonable assurance that there will be a heavy crop of frunt, and of small grains to move, the rar'way companies are begnming to place orders for Comptent, a ut TINE STate improvements long
tarting hat outtle of de tu cerul genters, and through
*re East, it is certain ta' the malkers Lave had a very fair spring trade, but have drawn on stork because they share in the conservative feeling which has prevailed for many months past and which is voiced elsewhere.
Fewer buyers have visited the western manufacturing centers during the past month than is usually the case. Whether this is because the disposition was general to buy nothing beyond what was actually needed—including job-it is impossible to state. But many of the men who have been wont to make pilgrimages to the western manufacturing centers during the latter part of May and early June recently were gathered together by the Jamestown manufacturers, transported in a body to that city, entertained and returned to New York and other eastern cities. This may explain, and it may not explain.
But there will be no lack of endeavor upon the part of the manufacturers. Exhibits are to be as many as usual, and as elaborate as usual. Opportunity has permitted the preparation of many new patterns and the exhibitions in all the recognized markets will be more extensive than ever. Which prompts the all-important question: Will the buyers come in corresponding numbers and will their confidence be fortified by the time they do come by the realized prosperity in their respective communities so that they will buy freely? We must wait and see. THE METAL MARKETS
Continued depression is the leading feature in the steel industry. Production is at a low ebb and new business is meager. Estimates of the volume of new business coming in vary from a quarter to a third of capacity. Naturally, the steel makers are blue in contemplation of the prospect. The industry as a whole is believed to be working on about 50 per cent. capacity. The chief factor is the absence of the railroads from the market, pending the rate decision. Their purchases have been confined to bare necessities for many months and no change is anticipated until the rate decision is rendered. Another factor which has the effect of restraining purchases is the steady downward tendency of prices in many steel products, especially noticeable in rolled steel. This is partly due to the keen anxiety of the smaller independent mills to obtain business, apparently at any price. In fact, most of the important tonnage has been absorbed by these smaller mills at prices from $1 to $2 a ton under the quotations of the big mills. The latter are in a better position as to resources and have shown a disposition to refuse, even attractive contracts at further price concessions. The larger factors in the industry seem disposed to make a strong stand for more profitable price levels, believing that the buying movement must begin soon. The structural sted department held up well until the latter part of May when it slumped off materially. Aside from municipal contracts there is very little busi ness in this lie. In the semi-finished sted line no farther e nessi us have been reported, although there is reason to believe that prices will be shaded In this departnant there has been a tire odering f foreign at prices ranging from $1 to $2 a 12 below the
finding it hard to dispose of their surplus output at home and have turned to this market as a possible means of working off their rapidly accumulating stocks. The tinplate mills are probably the most active feature of the industry, working close to capacity, although mainly on old contracts. Rod, wire and nail makers are also fairly busy, but competition is keen, especially in wire, and the independent producers continue to offer concessions. Throughout the entire trade, prices are at an extremely low level, especially noticeable in finished products.
Unsatisfactory conditions continue in the pig iron industry and further curtailment of production marked the end of May and beginning of June. Even on old contracts, calls for delivery have been disappointing and numerous cancellations are reported. A few large orders noted merely emphasize the situation, as they are orders that would have normally been placed a month or two ago and only come into the market now because the iron is needed for immediate use. Consumers generally are still holding back on their usual orders, evidently expecting further declines. At present producers seem to have balked at the level of $13 furnace for Valley basic whereas several large orders are pending at a lower figure offered. It is said that some Northern Ohio furnaces have even shaded this very low figure. It would seem that prices would be extremely attractive to consumers, but little interest has been evinced as yet. They have some ground for their belief that prices may go even lower for the quotations on iron ore for shipment later in the season have been reduced.
Consumers of brass products are unable to extract much comfort from the state of the copper market, except that it has strongly resisted efforts to force another increase. In fact, the tendency is rather in the other direction. The reports of the copper producers indicate that the present production of copper is the heaviest on record, while deliveries to domestic consumers continue to fall off materially. It is estimated from trade advices that the brass and copper consuming industries are operating to about 60 per cent. of capacity. The demand for finished goods from ultimate consumers continues very light, which enables the manufacturers to present a strong front to the holders of copper. About the middle of May one of the periodic attempts to force a rise in prices was inaugurated, but actual transactions were so small that the movement soon died out. There was some activity in copper shares, but this speculative feature seems to have been the only thing materially affected. Authorities believe that the only real factor which prevents a radical decline in prices is the strong foreign demand. It has been alleged that much of this foreign demand is fictitious and that the stocks are merely being put into warehouse, but this scheme could not be kept up very long and the government figures show that the exports of copper for the six winter months were the heaviest on record, equaling the total for the entire year 1906. In the domestic market, the average price of copper was 14.9 cents in January, 14.7 in February, 14.4 in March, about 14 cents in April and May, and at present is about 13.7 cents. This slow downward trend shows that the market is conservative and gradually reaching down to former levels.
RAW MATERIAL MARKETS
In the careful scrutiny of all the factors which go to make up business, the agricultural situation has received unusual attention of late. One of the most important features in this line is that of the cotton crop. The first government report of the season on this staple was somewhat discouraging, showing the average condition of the crop on May 23rd as 74.3 as against 79.1 a year ago, and a ten year average of 78.9. This is partially offset by the report that this year's cotton acreage is about 380,000 in excess of last year's, making a new high record.
Speculators pushed the base price of cotton over the 13 cent mark upon receipt of the news, and the cotton goods manufacturers express disappointment at the prospect of another year of high priced staple. They complain that they have not been able to make the price of the finished merchandise pay its relative share of the cost that should come from the high priced cotton now being used, and the idea of further advances in the staple is depressing. It is far too early to indulge in pessimistic talk on this score, however, and it is probable that there will be an ample supply of the staple at reasonable figures. There is at present a big over-supply of short staple, off color, and damaged cotton, suitable for use in the heavier fabrics and the attitude of the mills is shown by their refusal to buy at the advanced prices. Curtailment is increasing if anything, and it is estimated that 25 per cent. of cotton mill operatives are idle. Cotton spinners have curtailed heavily, especially in the South. The market in this line is firmer and much more settled in consequence. The demand shows no increase, but the selling pressure has been relieved. The advent of warm weather has stimulated the market in some lines of cotton goods and prices have firmed up a little. Buyers are disposed to resist advances, however. Sheetings, tickings and other heavy goods are well sold up and some mills making this class of goods are busy. Holders of merchandise of this class seem confident of the future and show no disposition to make concessions. Current ticking quotations are:
The market in carpet and upholstery grades of wool continues quiet. The carpet season opened but indifferently well, and mill owners are displaying no particular anxiety as to the future. Heavy purchases in the past for future delivery seem to have cleared up the market for some time and no resumption of active trading is anticipated for some time. There is a large amount of stock in this country, but it is held in strong hands and there is little prospect of weakening, especially in view of the prospects for the future. Reports on the clips of nearly all carpet wool producing countries are more or less unreliable, but from all sources the indications are that the supply is diminishing. The season in China wools is practically over and the supply is practically cleaned up. New crop will not begin to arrive here before October. The present Chinese crop has been short, some authorities estimating the yield at 5,000,000 pounds less than the previous year. The market has been tested by offering comparatively high prices which the shippers are unable to fill. The receipts of Russian wool have also been considerably below normal. In fact, the only country whose exports showed a gain was Argentina, all the other important sources showing a decline. Part of the poor showing may be attributed to the fact that the European demand was good, while the domestic carpet mills experienced a dull season. However, there seems to be little prospect of cheaper wool in the near future.
The raw silk market continues to show strength and prices have advanced very nearly to the record levels of August, 1913. The lower grades are especially firm and apparently the only thing which is holding back further advances is that the demand for silk fabrics in this country has slackened somewhat. The current Japanese crop is exhausted to all intents, and it is believed that the new season, beginning the latter part of June, will open at a level, but slightly, if any, below present quotations. However, the prospects are excellent for the coming Japanese crop, present estimates running as high as 220,000 bales, which would establish a new record. In spite of the slackening tendency in domestic manu
facturing circles, consumers seem apprehensive of the future and are displaying considerable interest in the new crop. It is believed that the mills are working close to their supplies and have little if any reserve. Under these conditions the market is distinctly firm. Chinese silks of the current crops are practically all under contract and holders show no disposition to shade prices. Tentative advances on future shipments show that quotations on the new crops will be practically unchanged.
In the continued lack of active demand for finished goods, the leather market is featureless. The continued high price of hides is the principal factor of interest, because quotations are firm in the face of almost total Curtailment lack of support by purchasing interests.
of tanning activity is even more pronounced than before, and despite the scarcity, some accumulation of hides is noted. Tanners are purchasing for their bare needs and seem unwilling to consider their future requirements. A little spasmodic demand comes to the surface from time to time, merely serving to emphasize the prevailing dull
There seems to be a general belief that hide prices would go even higher if the demand should become more brisk. The curtailment in tanning has now begun to be apparent in finished leather, for it is reported that finished stocks are becoming smaller, despite the lack of consuming demand. There has been a little improvement in the demand for upholstery leathers, but chiefly from the automobile trade. Even this is far below normal. The demand from the furniture trade is said to be at a minimum. Prices are unchanged, but it is complained that consumers do not seem to appreciate the situation and the necessity for high prices if the producers are to continue in business.
UPHOLSTERY AND BEDDING SUPPLIES
Upholstery and bedding supplies are unusually active for this time of year, but prices show little change. The interest in "pure bedding" legislation may account for some of the activity, but there is little complaint of dull business among the jobbers. Weakness in curled hair continues, especially in the South American grades. The reason for this is not clear, but supplies seem to be ample. In the cheaper grades, which are largely composed of hog hair, and other inferior grades, prices have also weakened. In some quarters this is attributed to the active competition between the big packing house interests who have been making a strong effort to secure control of the hair market and have largely succeeded in eliminating the older individual factors. While price cutting has not reached the cut-throat stage, it is apparent that each of the five or six big concerns is endeavoring to obtain a hold upon the trade, not only by price concessions, but by prompt service and other trade builders. Moss, tow and other stuffing fibers are practically unchanged and the supply seems adequate.
The local burlap markets display a weaker tone, reflecting unsettled conditions at primary sources and contradictory reports as to the growing jute crop. A recordbreaking jute crop had been anticipated, but about the middle of May it was reported that the growing crop had been damaged 15 per cent. by excessive rains. This statement came from so many sources that it received some credence, although real confirmation is lacking. It was enough to unsettle the market, however. Spot jute prices are still over the £33 level. On the other hand, there is evidence that the Calcutta manufacturers are anxious to sell and concessions have been made in several cases. This makes it difficult to ascertain just how prices are tending. Locally, the demand has been so light, especially on heavy weights, that quotations are hardly representative. Light weights and odd widths have been in fairly steady demand, but little heavy goods
has been moving. The price tendency is downward as a general rule. The latest quotations on 10% oz. 40s in large lots are about 5.65 cents. There seems to be an ample supply of the heavy weights in the local market. Feathers
Although the supply has been increased materially of late, feather prices tend upward strongly. Chinese feather shipments have been heavy, probably attracted by the prevailing high prices, but without effect upon the market, except to share in the advance. The strength of this market is more noticeable, however, in the cheap domestic feathers, which have advanced a cent to a cent and a quarter per pound. Such an advance is obviously much more important in a grade whose average price is about five cents than in the fifty cent or higher grades. High grade downs are held at prices which are almost prohibitive.
Kapok, or silk floss, is firmly held and trending upward, mostly because of the increasing demand for this fiber. With the perfection, after years' of experiment, of a process for spinning and weaving kapok, a large new field is opened for it. The government is also using considerable quantities for life preservers.
The linseed oil market is quiet. Flax seed prices have advanced slowly, but steadily, although there has been little demand for seed. Stocks now arriving at primary points are reported to be of undesirable grades and crushers display little interest. The leading oil producers claim to be supplied with seed for normal requirements up to October 1st, or practically until the new crop may be expected to start arriving. Such business as is now being transacted is mainly that of the smaller producers filling up their supplies to the same point. The advance in seed prices is therefore more statistical than a record of actual buying. The strength of the seed market is not derived from the demand for oil, which continues at a minimum, but from the practical certainty that the coming crop of flax seed will be much smaller than that of 1913. There will be no shortage this season; in fact, there will be considerable seed left over, but it is common knowledge that the acreage devoted to flax this year is considerably less than last. It is yet too early for reliable figures on this point and estimates vary widely, but the fact of a material decrease, both in this country and Canada, is generally conceded. The Argentine seed market is steady, but quiet, and India seed prices are weak. No support from foreign sources is to be expected for the present, therefore. Linseed oil prices are now generally considered below the level of seed cost and are unsettled, but without material effect in stimulating demand. The attitude of the large consumers is especially disappointing. They purchase right along in routine lots for current consumption, but display no interest in the future or in providing for needs in the coming months. Practically all the business that is stirring is in small lots and present quotations are the same for small lots as for big orders, an unusual condition. Consumers appear to be still waiting for further developments and for increased demand. Holders have offered oil at 50 cents for the balance of the year without arousing any interest. In actual transactions prices have been cut freely below this figure and quotations are largely a matter of individual circumstances. There is some surprise that speculation has not appeared in this commodity, for present conditions would seem to favor such action. There seems to be little indication of any material price change for the present.
The turpentine market has been fairly well supported by foreign buying and spasmodic domestic buying has caused several spurts in price, but 50 cents seems to be the sticking point and this level has not been passed. Liberal receipts have been reported, but supplies are