Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/33

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FIBER INDUSTRIES OF THE UNITED STATES.

efforts to produce a successful machine. The commercial history of ramie, therefore, does not extend further back than 1869.

PSM V54 D033 Growth of jute in louisiana.jpg
Growth of Jute in Louisiana.

The first French official trials took place in 1888, followed by the trials of 1889, in Paris, at which the writer was present, and which are recorded in the official reports of the Fiber Investigation series. Another trial was held in 1891, and in the same year the first official trials in America took place, in the State of Vera Cruz, in Mexico, followed the next year by the official trials of American machines in the United States, these being followed by the trials of 1894. Since that year further progress in machine construction has been made, and a third official trial should be held in the near future.

The first records of Chinese shipments of this fiber to European markets show that in 1872 two hundred or three hundred tons of the fiber were sent to London, valued at eighty pounds per ton, or about four hundred dollars. India also sent small shipments, but there was a light demand, with a considerable reduction in price, the quotations being thirty pounds to forty pounds per ton for Chinese and ten pounds to thirty pounds for the Indian product.

Those who are unacquainted with the properties and uses of this wonderful textile may peruse with interest the following paragraph from Fiber Report 7, on the Cultivation of Ramie, issued by the Department of Agriculture:

"The fiber of ramie is strong and durable, is of all fibers least affected by moisture, and from these characteristics must take first rank in value as a textile substance. It has three times the strength of Russian hemp, while its filaments can be separated almost to the