|Capital.||Hides.||Skins.||Total value of|
There were, besides this, 2,319 currying establishments in this country, with a product valued at more than $71,000,000. The census figures for 1890 will undoubtedly show even larger increases in production. This increase is reflected in the importation of hides, which for the year 1891 aggregated $27,930,759. During the decade important tanneries have been started in some of the Southern States, and the industry is constantly expanding. This fact appears in the extension of the American leather trade abroad, but this is by no means what it should be. The exports of leather in 1891 aggregated $12,026,556, a gain of a little more than a million dollars as compared with the previous year. Sole leather led, with a sale of 40,084,833 pounds abroad, at a total sum of $6,430,764. It is interesting further to compare the exports of leather and the manufactures of it for the past five years:
|Year.||Value of Exports.|
The gain in the exports of leather, indeed, have kept pace relatively with the sale of the manufactures of it abroad, such as boots and shoes. But Americans possess certain important advantages in the making of leather that should give them a stronger hold in the European markets. The continental tanneries have no better facilities for getting hides, and they are handicapped by the lack of oak and hemlock bark which our own manufacturers have at hand. But, despite all this, the leather industry stands among the first in this country in dignity, enterprise, and magnitude. Important advances are yet to be made: but with the natural advantages of our tanners, their thrift and inventiveness, with a constantly expanding home market and a possible foreign one, there appears to be no reason why it should lose its relative rank.