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The cause of this failure may be the want of experience of the cultivators of upper Egypt as regards the methods of cultivation of lower Egypt cotton.
Picking commences in September and continues until November or the beginning of December. Two, and in some districts three pickings are made. The greater the number of pickings the better for the quality because the fibres lose their lustre when open bolls are exposed to the sun.
After picking, the cotton is usually stored, except in some districts where the small cultivators place it in sacks as soon as picked. In the interior, the cotton in seed is sold to the merchants. The buyer oversees through his employees, the placing of the cotton in sacks, each quality is packed separately and the sacks are marked with different marks. This supervision is entrusted to men of experience to avoid the mixing of qualities. Many growers have large well aired stores which protect the cotton from any deterioration even if it is stored for several months.
Weighers licensed by the government are usually employed to weigh the cotton but this is not obligatory.
The sacks of cotton weighing 380 to 400 pounds once filted and weighed are transported to the ginning factory by the means which best suit the buyer; the railway, canal barges, camels, or carts. During recent years there has been a considerable improvement in the facilities of transport. Besides the state railways, roads have been built all over the country to replace narrow cross country paths, but they are not kept in good repair. Narrow gauge railways have proved of great advantage. They have reached districts which had previously been inaccessible from stations of the state railways.
On reaching the factory the cotton is once more classified and weighed.
GINNING. The large export houses have a network of factories in the principal districts. These factories usually contain 40 to 120 roller gins. Quite recently some factories have been enlarged and contain 160 and even 180 gins. The
Egyptian ginning factory is as a rule, fully equipped for treating the cotton with all the necessary care. These factories have vast storing space for cotton in the seed and besides their equipment of gins, they have hydraulic presses, automatic conveyors and sieves for the seed.
The Platt's knife gin which is in use, gins 100 to 110 pounds of lint per hour. Experienced hands are employed for regulating the gins because this requires special attention and experience. An experienced man runs the gins according to the quality of the cotton to be ginned, and by regulating the distance of the knife from the roller, he avoids damaging the fibre whilst running the machine to its full capacity. The gins are placed in two and sometimes four, parallel rows facing the centre of the ginning room. The car running between the gins collects the lint and delivers it to the light hydraulic press which turns out bales weighing 800 to 900 pounds.
The seed falls in an aperture below each gin and is automatically conveyed to sieves which free it from dust and dead cotton, "Scarto" which escape the gin with the seed. The Scarto separated by the sieve is then passed through saw gins in a special room and separated from the seed. The ginned Scarto is sold at very low prices on the spot.
The seed of the best lots of cotton is carefully laid aside to be sold as seed for the next crop. The large houses give special and very careful attention to the selection of this seed. The remaining seed is sold as commercial seed in the interior, or in Alexandria to oil factories, or it is exported.
Some of the ginning factories are equipped with presses which turn out heavy pressed bales ready for export. Such presses are used by some of the large export houses. The latest system
adopted for presses in the interior is the Elsworth patent. Mr. ELSWORTH is an engineer in Egypt. This press is inexpensive comparatively to the other presses and it works by hydraulic It has three shallow pressure through pumps worked by steam.
boxes pivoting on an axle and turns out 25 to 30 bales per hour. It can therefore bale the daily production of a large
factory. It is not expensive to run. Each bale is made with the cotton contained in the three boxes. For the two first, the pressure is given by a ram of small diameter. At the third box the pressure is applied by three rams. The cotton is pressed to a density of 37 to 38 pounds per cubic foot.
From the ginning factories the cotton is transported to Alexandria according to the merchant's convenience by barges or by rail. Each important factory has a railway siding running into its yards.
Presses also exist in Alexandria for the heavy pressing of bales which arrive from the interior light pressed. These presses, considerably improved by the late Mr. DAVISON, engineer to Messrs. CHOREMI, BENACHI & Co., of Alexandria, are of a different pattern to the presses used in the interior. They are more expensive, but they can turn out 50 to 60 bales per hour. They have three deep boxes large enough to contain sufficient cotton for one bale each. The first pressure is applied by steam and changed to hydraulic pressure for finishing the bale. Both in the interior and in Alexandria each bale before leaving the press is circled by eleven hoops fixed with studs.
This brief sketch of the treatment of cotton from the time it is picked will show that no pains or expense are spared to give Egyptian cotton every necessary attention. The picking, the classing and the packing are done in a manner that should contribute to maintain the good repute which this staple has attained.