Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/18

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8
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

young oysters, costing about 60 cents. After two years' growth, 200 will fill that measure. At present the Shrewsbury is accounted by many as the emperor of the bivalves, and will fetch in market at wholesale from $1.50 to $3.50 a hundred. What is called the summer oyster is brought from the York and James Rivers, Va., and planted north late in the season for summer use.[1] Some are brought from the waters of Maryland.

The Oyster-Trade.—Dragon, as it used to be called, Fair Haven now, near New Haven, was formerly the place where oysters were put up for Northern and Western use. The bivalves were opened and put into neat little kegs. Latterly the business has gone down to Baltimore. "Shipping is yearly becoming more extensive, and Baltimore—though ahead at present—has a powerful rival in the metropolis, as all roads lead to it, like those of the ancient world to Rome. In October the shipping to Europe and California commences, and latterly tubs instead of sealed cans are used. In shipping to St. Louis, Cincinnati, and other places within a distance of a thousand miles, oysters are shipped in cold weather in kegs protected by gunny-bags, but in summer the kegs are placed in larger vessels and the space packed with ice and sawdust. So expert has experience rendered the shipper that oysters seldom spoil, and the Western purchaser may rejoice in a comparatively fresh and wholesome article."

Even in the northern parts of the State of New York, thirty years ago, oysters were an unknown luxury. But the rapid transit "which has been developed in the last quarter of a century has given a great impulse to exportation, and statistics from reliable sources show that many millions of dollars' worth of oysters are yearly sent from this port alone. For instance, the average retail trade per week of Fulton Market requires 250,000 oysters, and one establishment is called upon to supply from 1,000 to 1,500 customers daily. The wholesale department packs and exports 100,000 weekly, and gives employment to a large number of men.

"The yearly returns from the home-market amount to $4,000,000 per annum, and from other localities to about $1,000,000. The trade gives employment to 2,500 men in New York City, and to 200 in Brooklyn. There are 750 oyster-saloons in the metropolis, and 100 in the City of Churches. On the North and East Rivers about 50 scows are employed receiving oysters from the vessels arriving from these various bays, and from these boats about 3,000,000 oysters are daily shipped throughout the country. Five hundred sailing-vessels are employed in this vicinity, which number includes every thing from a sail-boat to a schooner of 150 tons. A corps of 5,000 men is engaged in planting and bringing to market, who earn on an average from three

  1. For some of the facts cited above, and in a few paragraphs immediately following, I am indebted to an able article in the Brooklyn Eagle, the date of which I cannot tell.—S. L.