« PreviousContinue »
but now find ourselves short. Still, we are progressing a little every year. We shall give you more and more of clean cotton as we get along. We want your influence, and for
say to the planters that you are determined to have clean cotton.
The CHAIRMAN. I would suggest to Mr. Skinner that he now exhibit his samples of cotton.
Mr. SKINNER. I shall be very glad indeed to do so. [Members came forward and inspected the samples.]
Ilere is last year's product. Here is the original, as gathered and taken from the pile. There is the product of the machine. This, which I showed you first, resulted in that which I now
This other sample, now in my hand, is the final result of this very cotton which I pointed out to you in the first instance. Here by the side of the last is a sample of that which went through the gin, without going through the cleaner, on the same plantation. We will produce the result which is indicated in the former exbibit every time.
The CHAIRMAN. In this connection, gentlemen, I would say that the correspondence which I conducted last year, having reference to the present mode of raising cotton, brought many replies to me to this effect : that the small growers of cotton would send their seed-cotton to what are called " neighborhood gins." They objected to the application of the trunks and other devices for taking out dirt and sand, upon the ground that they had rather have it left in ; that they could get as much money for the bale, or a little more than they could if it was taken out. On the other hand, the statement made by Mr. Skinner, of the welcome that he met with, and his account of his experience, show the tendency of the more intelligent part of the cotton-growers to attempt improvements in quality so soon as it shall become profitable for them
to do so.
If I understand Mr. Skinner, there is one point which, at the risk of repetition I will put to Mr. Skinner again. I understand him that the operation of this machine, preceding the ginning of the cotton, separates each particular seed with its own special fibre still attached by its point, from the trash and dirt which have been mixed up with it ; which trash and dirt are not attached to the fibre, but merely held, as it were, in suspension. It would seem that certainly this is a step in the
right direction, that the holding of the fibre by the seed itself is a necessary condition to the actual cleaning out of the other substances mixed up with it, and that any machine constructed upon that principle must, of necessity, be more effective in removing the loose trash, than any of our openers or pickers can be, operating upon the fibre after it has been detached from so heavy a weight as the seed itself. The specific gravity of the seed may carry the fibre away from the loose dirt and trash, leaving that behind. I understand Mr. Skinner also to say that these machines can be seen in Providence.
Mr. SKINNER. There is one of them which is not in operation, sir ; but it stands there in a large, open place, and can be
And I understand from Mr. Garsed, that some of them have been built by the Bridesburg shop. I have an idea that the gentleman visited us some few years since, when we were at work upon the crude machine.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is it, in Providence?
Mr. SKINNER. It is in what was formerly the saw-works, near the Stonington Railroad repair-shop. The building belongs to the Messrs. Duncan. It stands very nearly alone.
The CHAIRMAN. This matter assumes a new importance, in view of the fact, that, as I understand, the subject tbat will be presented by Mr. Adamson, will bring before you a proposition for moving the seed-cotton from the South to the neighborhood of the factory, and for the value of the seed itself.
Mr. SKINNER. I wanted to draw out more particularly the point that this separates each particular seed with its own fibre. I wanted to be sure that that point was more particularly made.
Mr. GARSED. After our last meeting, I had a conversation with Mr. Adamson in reference to this cotton-ginning. Ho assured me that he will take from the manufacturers of the East and North, all the seed that they will produce, and pay the freight upon the cotton and the seed from the South here, taking his pay in the seed. Hand him over the seed, and he will pay the freight for its coming from the Southern States, delivered in Boston and Philadelphia free — give him the seed only. He is a manufacturer of cotton-seed oil, and one of our largest practical manufacturers. His firm have a house in Boston, and are well known and abundantly able to do what they agree to. (We regret exceedingly that Mr. Adam
son is not here, but I have no doubt illness in his family prevents his presence.) With his offer, Mr. Adamson brings the matter to its simplest elements. He says: "I will pay the freight upon all the cotton that you will bring from the South in the seed; or give me the seed, and I will give you $19 a ton for all of it that you take out, you paying your own freight on the seed which you send me, but I paying the freight upon the cotton brought from the South.” This business would probably have to be started in a limited manner. It would not be possible to bring up here twelve millions of bales of cotton in the seed. We would probably have to build several new railroads (notwithstanding our feeling to-day that we have too many of them), even if the planter were willing to dispense with his cotton seed to be used as a fertilizing material. Some other gentleman who is more familiar with the subject than I am, makes the assertion that cotton seed is worth $42 a ton as a fertilizer. I am inclined to think that Mr. Adamson, in his conversation with me, admitted that it was worth $39 a ton ; and it was to me a surprise. Manufacturers, I think, have always looked upon it as a sort of nuisance, caused by the inperfect manner in which the cotton has been prepared for us. The machine that the gentleman has been describing to us,
I have no doubt, is Mr. Ralston's machine. Mr. Bates knows how far it has gone. I have seen the machine at work in the shop, and also at the Centennial, last year. It seemed to do its work very thoroughly; but I understood it was only for the balls that had fallen upon the ground and had mixed with the trash. The cleansing process was a rough one, but there was no doubt that it returned the cotton in a very much improved condition.
Ir. BATES. I represent the Bridesburg Manufacturing Co. In the earlier part of the centennial exhibition Mr. Ralston came to our place, and under his direction we made the plans, and built him one of these machines, and put it in the Agricultural Hall at the centennial exhibition.
The object of the machine was to clean the cotton as it came from the field. You take the cotton picked roughly, (as Mr. Skinner bas said,) from the field, with its leaf, trash, and everything that is gathered up with it, and put it upon the feeder, which feeder carries it to the cleaner; the cleaner separates all the
leaves, trash, and dirt, just as has been explained, and leaves the seed, with its fibre attached, clear and clean, and then passes that to the gin. The fibre is separated from the seed very much in the same manner that you would hold the seed in your hand, and, with a motion of the fingers, remove the fibre from the secd. This has been done in our own shop at Bridesburg, and it has been done at the centennial exhibition, to the surprise of all. And the only objection that we have met with in endeavoring to introduce this gin to the planters in the South, is just the objection that it makes the cotton too clean, and that they don't get paid for sand, nails, hides, stones, trash, and various other substances that have been mixed with the cotton sent to the Northern market, and which the manufacturers have bought at the same rate per pound which they paid for the cotton. Mr. GARSED.
The only way to get the cotton here is in the seed. It was said at the last meeting that a manufacturer who is accustomed to handle cotton machinery can certainly take the cotton from the seed much better than it could be done by hundreds and thousands of persons in the South, who know nothing whatever about machinery.
Mr. Bates. I would also say, that if any gentlemen feel interested in this matter at any time, they can see all these plans and drawings, or they can see the complete machine; or we will build one if any manufacturer desires to bring it out. It was demonstrated that the thing would work successfully. Let the manufacturers themselves go through with the whole operation. Let them get the seed-cotton from the South, and put it through cleaners at their own mills in the New England States.
[Mr. Adamson, who had been appointed to deliver an essay at this meeting, having now arrived, said that he regretted that this machine was not in the catalogue at the Centennial.
Mr. Bates said that that was explained by the fact that they hadn't got the machine finished, and didn't get it into the exhibition until August of that year.
The President said that he thought the attention of the judges was not drawn to it.]
The CHAIRMAN. In respect to the question of the value of the seed as an element in this discussion, when I first began a thorough investigation of the cotton question in 1861, the future
value of the seed became apparent, and the possibility of its being moved long distances for the sake of its value. The exact facts may perhaps be well re-stated here: that each bale of the fibre of cotton contains about four pounds phosphate of lime and phosphate of potash, taken from the soil; but that the seed that belongs to that bale of cotton, from which that bale of cotton bas been ginned, contains about fifty pounds of phosphate of lime and phosphate of potash, and nearly the whole of that proportion is in the hull, and not in the kernel, as I am informed; so that it is possible to take off the fibre, take out the kernel, press out the oil, then burn the hulls under the furnace, restore the ashes to the soil, and you nearly keep up the original fertility of the soil as it was before the process was started. In the oil mills of the South and West, established a few years ago (they may have been improved since), the ash of the hull was shovelled out and wasted. It was nearly pure pearlash. I sent to Memphis myself and bought several casks, and had it brought on here, to test it, and I had to dilute it and dilute it, for the first application burned up
all the grass I applied it to.
I believe that the process which has been detailed to us will result in a saving. It would not surprise me in the least if the $39 or $12 per ton value which we have heard about here were actually realized.
The question is still before you, gentlemen.
Mr. LEIGH. My experience with regard to cotton-gins has been in Egypt. I have made a large number of gins for Egypt and India. But the system of ginning there, is, as I have said here before, entirely different from what it is in the Southern States. In Egypt it is a business of itself. The gins are put in factories of from twenty to one hundred gins. The building is built purposely for this business-probably three stories. The basement is the place for the seed. The first floor is the place for the gins; and then there is a place above to store and dry the cotton. The seed is sold in the market for oil and
These establishments or factories are managed like mills. The cotton is brought from the field by the planters in the sced, and so much a pound is charged for ginning it; and the gins are kept in perfect order, because there are mechanics there to keep them so.
I know several firms who