Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/30

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22
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

in a nutshell. The scheme has already been tested in practice with favorable results, but the farmers in any community can do little until capital is more generally interested.

PSM V54 D030 California hemp.jpg
California Hemp.

This brings up an important point and presents another obstacle, for great harm has been done to all new fiber industries in recent years by the misdirected efforts of some professional promoters. In certain instances the organized fiber companies have been mere stock-jobbing concerns. They have had their rise and fall, men with idle money have burned their fingers, and the particular industry has received a "black eye."

The story of Government effort toward the establishment of the flax industry need not be told here; there has been widespread prejudice to overcome, with the opposition of the importers, discouragements to be studied and explained, the unvarnished truth to be told, and practical and authoritative information to be given to all who may seek it. The literature of the subject has been disseminated by thousands of copies, and new editions are being ordered.

As to the results: Superior flax has been produced in this country in limited quantities since the work began, and through extended field experiments flax regions have been discovered that are thought to equal the best flax centers of Europe. The department experiments in the Puget Sound region of Washington have demonstrated that we possess in that State a climate and soil that bid fair to rival the celebrated flax region of Courtrai, and from these experiments scutched flax has been produced that is valued by manufacturers in Ireland at three hundred and fifty dollars per ton, and hackled flax worth five hundred dollars per ton. Much has been done, but a great