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be blown further by the gin, and the cotton thus blown be separated into two or three portions, as the quality varied according to its distance from the gin, and then packed into separate bales, are strongly to be urged upon the planters to be used.
Under the present plan, very many of them are so short and small that the dust and sand are blown all about the room, and are thus continually distributed throughout the cotton. I have been frequently asked my opinion about condensers, in connection with the gin, and I have invariably opposed them for general use, as like the small gauze-rooms, they carry into the cotton all these useless and deleterious substances, and should only be used when the cotton is very clean indeed. These improvements are all needed, and another still greater would be, either an increase of labor, or some machine that would practically take its place, in gathering rapidly the remaining part of the crop after frost has matured it.
Some machine for preventing these difficulties is very much needed. If some Yankee genius could invent a machine to gather that cotton rapidly, he would make money for the United States and for the world, and very much of it, too.
This Association, by its influence and advice, might reach the minds of many of the leading planters on these important points, and induce them to use and make some of these desirable improvements, which would soon be copied by the smaller ones, if practicable. And certainly the consumers have it in their power to urge upon their buying agents to discard as much as possible purchases of these low cottons containing so much Southern real estate at from eight to twelve cents per pound.
Feeling that this Association, so highly appreciative of what is needed in procuring a clean and desirable staple, could have a powerful influence in inducing the cotton-growers to produce such a desirable article, instead of the damaged and dirty article so much of which now comes to market, my associates requested me to appear before you and solicit any and all the influence and assistance that you can extend to us toward furthering this desirable end. At any rate, the cotton producers of the South who are now marketing annually so much of their soil at high figures as almost seemingly to warrant a suspicion of intentional fraud, should be reached by making them understand from you, the consumers, joined by the voice of the European consumers, that it will pay them better, in the long run, to make clean cotton, than dirty, trashy cotton. Impress upon the planting interest, that if the gathering of so many and much of these deleterious matters is a necessity in order to secure their crops, that they should use some intermediate agent, either machine or hand labor, to remove these substances before the cotton is ginned, and thus allow the cotton-gins to escape the many pretended faults that are now pinned upon them unreasonably. Under the old system of labor, crude machines, like whippers, and the younger portion of the hands, were employed to remove these useless substances before ginning; but now, in the changed condition of labor, this has become quite impracticable, and, if done at all, or to any considerable extent, it must be by machinery. If manufacturers could associate and put up works at a few central points in the South to produce their own clean cotton, it would not only be a very profitable business, but thus start the idea that the preparation of the staple should be an independent business from its production. I have no doubt it would exert a strong influence on the planters generally, and much might be gained thereby for all the consumers' interest. way can I illustrate better to you, gentlemen, the management of the gin in the South generally, than by saying, that it is necessary to throw off the belt (generally an 8-inch wide one), to stop the machine, where other than horse-power is used, and then, by crying out" whoa !” No doubt this plan bas so generally obtained from the almost universal use of horse-power in past time for ginning purposes. One of my associates has recently applied a clutch and loose pulley to several gins operated by steam-power, and from the attention and approbation it is meeting with the planters, I think it may rapidly be adopted. This will show you somewhat the disposition of the planters to adopt any little improvement in the working of their gins.
Recently, in pussing through the different mills in this Stato and Rhode Island, and seeing your machinery, a Southern friend of mine got the idea that a clutch and loose pulley could be applied to and put upon a gin as well as upon anything else. The people in the South are very much interested in the contrivances embodied in your machinery, and thought it a very
interesting thing that a clutch should be made to stop a gin, instead of saying " whoa !”
But they should hear the united voices of the cotton consumers of the world protesting against this constant damage and loss they are sustaining through their dirty, trashy cotton; and the planters should be urged to try to remedy as much as possible these faults, by adopting such means as are most practicable to prevent it. Your buying agents might do much to help remove these faults, by discriminating strongly against this dirty and trashy cotton. One of the great difficulties to overcome is to make the planters generally believe that their crops, made dirty and slovenly, will not net them so much as if they were made with care and turned out clean. Many of them now believe the reverse, and until convinced to the contrary, will continue to follow on in this way. It is not possible to make them believe that they could make just as much money if they tried to sell the cotton alone, free from all this soil.
Curiosity led me to carefully gather and weigh the cotton from the opened bolls with their seed attached. I tried it in most of the different States, and found that it took the cotton and seed from 96 to 103 of these bolls to weigh a pound, generally approximating 100 bolls to the pound, and 100 pounds of this clean-picked sced-cotton to make 31 pounds of staple ; thus requiring about 170,000 bolls to make a 500-pound bale. Ten days and more are generally required by an average
hand to pick the cotton for one bale of average grade and the poorer qualities. To pick it clean from all these impurities, it will take three or four days more.
Thus you can see the immense amount of hand-labor required to gather this immense crop. It is a process that makes very sore fingers. I thought I would attempt it once, and I was very glad when I got a hundred pounds picked and could quit. Even in a rough manner, is it any wonder, then, that the planter expects the gin to do the rest? That some mechanical device that will enable the crop to be made clean, even if gathered roughly and slovenly, is very desirable, no one can doubt. To accomplish this was the desire for many years of my associate, Mr. Ralston, the inventor of our machinery; and we feel certain that our machines will produce this result whenever they are used, and well-ginned, clean cotton once again become easier to find in the market.
Mr. Ralston conceived the idea of this machine, and spent years and years in getting it up. But it was thought among the associate planters that the man was “ loony.” They laughed and said, "He really thinks that he is going to get something to get rid of this burr."
In reference to the compressing of cotton for transportation, as it appears necessary to compress the bales of this bulky material for economy in cost of transportation, yet, as it seems to be thought that the cotton would be more desirable if uncompressed, I would suggest that the consumers should provide storehouses of such capacity as will enable them to remove the bands when they store the cotton, as much as possible, and leave it again to expand in time to the full size it originally was in the bale before being compressed, which it will most assuredly do, if they will only try it.
On the question of transportation of the seed-cotton to the North before ginning, it might possibly do for a manufacturer south and west of Philadelphia, as he would have but slight competition along the northern edge of the supplying district, and taking it from the interior he would have to pay but a low cost of transportation comparatively. But should the cotton manufacturers of New England generally attempt to do it, I fear they will add to the cost of their material considerably, instead of economizing. The cost of transportation would be increased over treble what it now costs to get it forward after being giuned. I suppose that the cost of transportation of cotton between the plantation and the Northern consumer will average over one and a quarter cents per pound. Treble this and it will make the cost of transportation approximate four cents a pound for the cotton. Of course, the seed might be used by manufacturers to net them about one-half cent per pound, when their mills were sufficiently concentrated and enough of them combine to keep works in operation. This would probably be too favorable an estimate. Let us take a 500-pound bale of cotton as a basis, at 14 cents per pound, is $6.25. Double the ties and bagging will be required to bring it in the seed, as seed-cotton enough to make a 500-pound bale will take two bales, or 1,650 pounds at 11 cents = $20.62. Eleven hundred pounds seed, at one-half cent per pound, gives $5.50
to add to the $6.25, making $11.75 to deduct from $20.62 = $8.87 loss per bale.
Strict care will be required in buying, packing, and transportation of seed-cotton against any wet or any exposure to wet, for if the staple be only moderately moist inside of the bale the seed will ferment or heat and rot the fibre in ten days, unless the temperature is below forty-five degrees. If during transportation or transshipment, the packages become wet and the temperature reaches above that point, the fermentation of seed in the inner parts will increase this heat sufficiently to sprout all that has become damp and exposed to the atmosphere. In my experience, in such a condition the bagging was completely filled with sprouts, and much of the cotton rotted within eight days after it had been exposed to a heavy shower during transshipment. The cotton while in the seed, if pressed into bags or bales of sufficient rigidity to facilitate shipment, will wet through very much more rapidly than even compressed cotton. I feel bound to put my repeated experience in this matter before you, although I would gladly, for my own interest, have it otherwise, were it practicable.
I have samples here of last year's growth, and of the older growth also, from Texas, showing the action of the intermediate machine. We have also here the same cotton of last year, late in the season, passed through the gin without this intermediate process. What we desire to ask of the manufacturers of New England, is, that they will give us their influence to push this thing forward among the planters, by saying, "You can get something for making the cotton cleaner, which you ought to get"; namely, this machine ; and to show them that they can make clean cotton, and that the machine does not interfere with the staple, but brings it out cleaner than it was ever brought before.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you show those samples to the members present, and describe the machine?
Mr. SKINNER. Yes, sir; if you please. Here are righthand and left-hand drawings of this machine. It is a large machine, heavy and expensive, as it was first made. I was buying cotton myself in Texas, and travelling there for my health, and I happened to meet this gentlemau, and he was very