Chapter 19

CHAPTER XIX.

MONEY IN CLOTH.

Capital in Cloth—How Uncle Sam Helps Linen-Makers—The Mistake of Stocking Manufacturers—5,000,000 Sales if the Maker will get the Right Thing—Better than Starch?—A Chance to Become a Millionaire—Another Eli Whitney Wanted—Go South and Get Rich—Secrets About Silk Manufacture—Startling Suggestions About a New Process of Making Wool.

In the materials for making cloth and in the improvement of garments there is an unlimited field for development and fortune. Here are a few of the roads in which capital may profitably move:

  1. Linen Mills.—The schedule of the new flax tariff was framed especially to protect linen manufacturers by cheapening the imports of the raw material so that they can compete with foreign rivals. Money put into linen mills ought to reap a bountiful harvest during the next few years.
  2. Triple Knee Stocking.—Why do not stocking makers give additional strength to the parts which are the first to wear out? Five million boys and girls in this country are wearing their knees through their stockings and yet makers go on in the assumption that the quicker the wear the better the trade. It remains for some sagacious manufacturer to put a double or triple thickness on the knee, get a reputation for his stocking, and command the market.
  3. The Unfrayable Collar Band.—Shirts, perfectly sound elsewhere, go into the rag-bin because the collar band is frayed. The man who will give us a substitute for starch, which does all the mischief, will earn both gratitude and greenbacks.
  4. The Ramie Plant.—A few years ago the ramie plant was introduced into this country from China. It was reported to yield three crops a year, a total of 1,500 pounds to the acre, and that the fiber would produce a cloth equal to cotton or even silk. Great things were anticipated, but the hopes of the raisers were defeated by the lack of a process for separating it into fine filaments. The slow hand press of China makes it too expensive. Here is a chance for some brainy man to do for the ramie plant what Eli Whitney did for the cotton, reaping even a larger fortune than he because of the present greater demand for cloth.
  5. Cotton Mills in the South.—About 9,000,000 persons in the United States and England depend for their livelihood on the cotton trade. Until recently New England had a monopoly of the cotton manufacture in the United States, but of late it has been ascertained that, owing to the cheaper cost of iron and fuel, the business can be carried on more advantageously in the South. The coal and iron in the mountains and the proximity to the raw product will cause New England soon to be distanced in this important enterprise. For those who seek cotton manufacture for a livelihood or for a competence, and especially for those who are beginning the business, the northern parts of Georgia and Alabama present unrivaled opportunities for the carrying on of that industry; and to such we would say, paraphrasing Horace Greeley’s advice to the young, “Go South, young man.”
  6. Artificial Silk.—The man who can invent or discover a substance which has the glossy luster and wear of silk so as to counterfeit the real article can name his own price. Four processes have recently been patented, but the results are a fiber too coarse, too stiff, too weak, or too expensive. The Chardonnet process makes a quality at a cost of $1.23 a pound, and it sells at $2.70 a pound, a very good profit if only it was enough like real silk to command the market. Put on your thinking-caps, cloth manufacturers, and obtain the rich prize which is already almost within your grasp.
  7. Mineral Wool.—Here is something new. Experiments have proved that rocks, or at least certain kinds of them, can be made into wool. The wool is made from sandstone, and from the waste slag of furnaces. “Mineral wool” is already being used for packing and fireproofing; but the inexhaustible field for the industry in the millions of tons of serviceable, rocks, and the unforeseen possibilities in the use of the “new wool,” make the subject a startling one and well worth the consideration of money-makers.
  8. Leather Substitute.—The high price of leather and its fluctuation in price have caused many substitutes to be devised, but thus far they have been inferior in quality, and will not stand the test of rough usage and exposure to heat. Imitation leather has always been made of two pieces of cloth pasted together, which are bound to separate or blister. Here is a secret worth a fortune. A single thickness of either drill or duck, with a heavy surface coating, will stand every test that leather can endure, and is every way as good, and can be produced at one-third the cost.

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