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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.” 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. buying cotton myself in Texas, and travelling there for my health, and I happened to meet this gentleinau, and he was very
anxious to bring this crude machine to my notice. (You cannot imagine how simple and crude a machine can be got up in the first place, that will show the principles of an invention which a man has thought out. I was induced to advance him money, and bring him on to Philadelphia, in order to advance the undertaking.)