Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/819

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COTTON-SPINNING SOUTH AND NORTH.

the awl into the bottom of a thin steam-pipe which passed overhead. A jet of steam rushed out right down upon the refractory-sliver, and, to his astonishment, down it went right into the can.

I have myself seen these same disobedient slivers fly all around a man's neck and shoulders and adhere there, to the great disgruntlement of foreman and hands. At the same old mill, above Columbus, the second if not the first mill built in the State of Georgia, the machinery was second-hand, brought from some Northern State. The spindles (fliers) were very ancient. Sometimes when they had a fair chance in fine weather they did pretty well, and at other times they would vex a saint. The very moment the sun sank behind the crest of the Alabama hills, however, there commenced an improvement in the action of these old spindles. Soon the room was in order; the boys and girls who attended the frames had a little time to "clean up," and their task was a light one for the rest of the evening. It seemed to me that the change was due to the humidity of the air inside, when the dampness of the falls right at the side of the mill was saved from evaporation by the withdrawal of the hot and drying sun-rays.

Mr. Atkinson writes wisely and well upon the subject of comparative humidity in different sections, and only alludes to means of artificial correction. Does it not seem probable that, with an efficient hygrometric testing apparatus, and with steam always at command capable of being admitted to a part or the whole of a department, the condition of the inside air, in this respect, may be kept almost uniform? The expense would be small, and the foreman, after being instructed, might be left to control the humidity of his room, as he is left to control its temperature. It appears to me that this consideration tends to make all manufacturing processes independent of climatic peculiarities.

Mr. Atkinson's remarks as to the coarser work of the Southern mills are all correct and go right to the root of the matter, but the inevitable changes to finer work have already commenced here, compelled, as they are at the North and East, by Southern as well as Northern competition. I was told years ago that a Northern manufacturer said that he could afford to pay ten thousand dollars per annum to get rid of the competition of one Southern mill on the same line of goods as those he was making.

Mr. Atkinson seems to have reached correct results, in his estimate of the comparative cost of raw cotton in Northern and Southern mills, but he does not allude to all the points that deserve consideration in respect to the ultimate cost of cotton in the goods. A Northern spinner recently mentioned his estimated waste at sixteen and three tenths per cent, but subsequently wrote me that he thought it was then about fourteen per cent. I think that Northern spinners usually estimate it at sixteen per cent. Even