Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/820

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

fourteen per cent seems a very large wastage from "middlings," the grade my correspondent uses; which. I attribute to his using the Gulf and Southwest cottons—from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc., made mostly by negro labor—in preference to cottons from the upper counties of this State (Georgia), made largely by white people—the farmers, their wives and children, who certainly handle the fleecy staple with far more care. The cotton marketed at Marietta, in Cobb County, about twenty-five miles above Atlanta, is generally beautifully white and clean. It is grown much more abundantly than before 1860, and almost always by the aid of fertilizers, which hasten the maturity of the cotton, so that the crop of that part of the country is much sooner prepared for market than in the lower counties, where it was often plowed in to make way for the new crop. The prejudice in favor of the Gulf cotton has always seemed to me to be unfounded, though I know it to prevail in Old as well as in New England, and generally in the North. These Northern spinners have often bought uplands in New Orleans, shipped from Columbus and Macon in this State. An old planter, who had also been a large cotton-buyer and a manufacturer as well, always combated this idea. When the yarn has fourteen to twenty turns of twist to the inch of length, it will certainly fulfill all the necessary conditions as to twist, as well as if the fibers were half as long again as they are. American spinners use a much higher grade of cotton for low numbers than the English spinners, to which I attribute the statement made to me by a Georgian of very high intelligence, who spent a number of years in China, and said that the Chinese greatly preferred American to English cloth, and I believe he said yarn also.

There is also, in my judgment, a very considerable advantage which the Southern spinner enjoys over his outside competitors; in that he receives his cotton in the loosely packed planter's package, measuring in depth twenty-eight to thirty-six inches, while his competitors receive the same staple from the compresses, in which the bale is squeezed down to a thickness of eight or ten inches under hundreds of tons of pressure. It must be brought into a flocculent state again before it can be carded and spun. Does it not go without saying that the loosely packed cotton in the planter's bale will require less violent tearing to restore its lightness and elasticity than that which has been packed for months under the compress with its enormous power? I have seen myself, often, cotton "in the seed" brought to the mill, weighed in two and four-horse wagons, without any baling at all, ginned in the mill, and spun at once.

Now as to some other points. Suppose that I build two mills for myself (to insure the same management exactly). Let them be exact counterparts of each other, except that the machinery of