Items of Interest

The rapidly increasing consumption of Asiatic raw silk by American manufacturers has resulted in a definite movement on the part of the producers in China to obtain information regarding ways in which the trade between China and America in raw silk may be increased. Kai Fu Shah, Chinese minister to the United States, a few days ago made a special trip to New York City to attend a conference with manufacturers and importers and to witness a demonstration at the laboratories of the United States Conditioning and Testing Company. This was to illustrate some of the difficulties encountered in working China and Canton raw silk. The quality of the silk cocoons grown in China is excellent, but much of the reeling is done by primitive methods, and this results in many mechanical defects. It has been estimated that if the Canton silks received during the fiscal year 1914-15, amounting to 2,300,000 pounds, had been reeled according to the American standard, it would have meant a saving to the American buyers of about $500,000. The defects from primitive methods interfere vitally with the manufacture of silks by the swift efficient winding, warping, and weaving machinery used by American manufacturers. A saving in waste of $6,500,000 has been made since 1903 through the adoption of the standard skein in Japan silks.

A recent issue of Der Bund of Berne, Switzerland, contained an account of the general meeting of the union for the promotion of navigation between the Rhone and the Rhine. Despite the war, it was stated, attempts have been made to arrange for the transportation of goods along the Aar Biel and Solo-thurn, and the enterprise is to continue, while the general meeting also referred the study of various questions to a central commission. Herr Autran, an engineer, gave an address on the scheme for the establishment of a navigable waterway between the Rhone and the Rhine, from which it appeared that it was not proposed to form a private company to carry out the project, but to secure the cooperation of the Federal council and the cantons. The preliminary survey has already cost 150,000 francs, and the total cost has been estimated at 150,000,000 francs.

True Courage
December 11, 1915

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