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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/303

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JANUARY, 1890.


 

THE FUTURE SITUS OF THE COTTON MANUFACTURE OF THE UNITED STATES.[1]
By EDWARD ATKINSON, LL. D., Ph. D.

I have been asked to treat two subjects: 1. Is the present number or the recent increase of cotton-spindles in the United States actually or relatively in excess of the requirements of the population?

2. Is the South likely to become a formidable competitor with New England in the cotton manufacture?

I submit the facts from which I have made my own deductions, and from which each one may draw his own conclusions according to his own judgment.

When dealing with the first branch of the subject, as all are well aware, we must qualify any conclusion based on the actual number of spindles by making allowance for higher speed and greater product per spindle in recent years; hence larger relative product. On the other hand, we must qualify the data of the spindles by the consideration that the average number of yarn spun at the present time is much finer than it was twenty years ago; hence a less proportionate product per spindle.

Again, we must qualify our deductions derived from the actual number of spindles, after having made allowances for high speed and fine numbers, which may perhaps be held to balance each other, by taking into consideration the very rapid increase in both national wealth and general welfare in recent years; hence a greater consumption of cotton fabrics per capita. This increase in purchasing power and this choice of better and more expensive fabrics are very noticeable in the Southern States, and especially

  1. A paper prepared for the New England Cotton Manufacturers' Association, and presented at their meeting, October 30, 1889.