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The cuts represent each side of the Ralston Cotton Cleaner. In its operation the cotton, as it has been hastily gathered from the fields, is placed upon the apron of the independent feeder, which carries and drops it upon the apron of the feeder proper of the cleaner; the speed of each being adjustable by means of ratchet-wheels and pawl levers moved by cranks on the main shaft of each machine, which cranks can be lengthened or shortened so as to regulate the proper supply by driving the slatted aprons at any required speed. Thus the seed-cotton is carried and distributed to the saws of the cleaner, which are of sixteen inches diameter, with peculiarly cut teeth, being five-eighths of an inch long, and of such form as to project forward nearly horizontally when they are at the extreme top in revolving. These saws pass between peculiarly shaped ribs, which are firmly fixed to a cross-beam framed into the frame of the machine, and are suspended downward, being only fixed in place at one end. These ribs are flanged or recessed on the side opposite the saws, and catch the hulls and coarse trash as the saws take the cotton, with seed attached, forward, the hulls and trash dropping downward, from their own weight, upon another set of flattened ribs, inclined and carried forward, which carries them entirely ahead of the cotton not yet carried forward, so as to not get mixed with it again. This trash then falls on the forward end of the apron of the cleaner, which, constantly revolving, drops it upon the floor. A peculiar stripper is placed in front of the saws, with long and strong steel teeth, revolving between the ribs, just above the point on which the saws pass, and prevents the cotton from clogging. These teeth are set spirally upon a cylinder, and thus pick up any burrs that may be in the cotton, forcing them sideways from tooth to tooth, until they are thrown out of the machine. The steel tooth-bladed fan-stripper, which takes and strikes the cotton, with its secd attached, upon the apex of the saws, as each tooth reaches there, stands directly over the saws, and is calculated to run fast enough to give each seed, with its fibre attached, a powerful blow; the seed, from its specific gravity, receiving the blow like the base of a shuttlecock; and the fibre is thereby distended, and hangs backward in feathery form, and is urged forward by the current of air produced by the fan-blades to a short distance, where the powerful force of an independent blower, through a trunk that joins
the fan-stripper trunk, drives it forward through a trunk slightly ascending, with screen bottom, over tight-fitting boxes, like the opener in factories. The seed and cotton are thus driven forward, while the sand, dust, leaf, and all extraneous matter which have been detached by the process, fall into the boxes through the screen. We have these machines set upon a platform raised some three feet above the floor, on which the gin is placed, and thus utilize the force of the wind from the fans of the cleaner to drive the cleaned cotton against a screen, where it drops down upon another feeder of ours that has been attached to the gin, and which brings it forward and feeds the gin with regularity; the whole being adjusted and worked by belts and pulleys, so as to work automatically, and save handling.
All the difficulty we have experienced thus far has been in trying to make these planters believe that we will not get out too much of their dirt. Thousands of times it has been said to me, " Those manufacturers do not care ; they have machines to get out this dirt.” I said to them, "Just put that dirt into a bag and mark it twenty pounds, and say 'we must have our pay
for it at the same rate as for the cotton,' and the manufacturers will be glad to pay it, if you will only send it to them separately." Still we keep on and get the dirt out, and we are very willing to bring forward the samples of our cotton, and show every Southerner that we do it, and can do it easily and freely, at the rate of ten bales of cotton to a machine per day.
In the first place, the peculiarity of these ribs is that they separate or pick out these hulls or burrs, etc. There is a peculiarity about it where the cotton passes into that point which I now indicate on the drawing. There is a peculiarity about the stripping, that it picks those burrs out and throws them over the rail on either side. This inventor worked a great many years on it, and he succeeded.
We are now moving along gradually with the enterprise. We have put up three machines in Texas, and we are getting on as fast as possible. We have, unfortunately, "slipped up” in regard to our capital, through one of our proprietors who was connected with the great American Screw Company, and in going into another operation in another line, he came out short; and the consequence has been that we have been obliged, since then, to work along with one or two machines at a time. We thought we had capital enough,
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 you to 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.]
Here 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 show you. 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 tho 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 sced 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 that 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
SKINNER 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. He 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.
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. IIis 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.
Mr. 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 has 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