On the Art of Rope-making.
Manawatu Herald , 26 Whiringa-ā-rangi 1896, Page 3
On the Art of Rope-making.
*_ TO THE EDITOR OP THE MANAWATC HEBALD- Sib, I herewith send you a few cuttings from a leoture delivered before the Victorian Hardware Assistants and Trade Association lately by Mr Thos. Hogg, which I think would be of interest to many of your readers, this being the centre of oar hemp industry.— l am, &c, C. V. Fuhbib. Mr Hogg, after giving a history of the rope industry of olden times, gaid the great shrinkage in the demand for hempen cordage has been largely compensated for by the manufacture of harvest twines, and to a limited extent the use of rope for transmitting power. It is of interest to note that the first self-binders used wire, but so many cattle were killed through particles of wire getting into their feed, that its use had to be abandoned, the binder-twine of today taking its place. . Fibres used by Eopemakers. Having rapidly glanced at what may be termed the history of the trade, let U3 look for a few momenta at the different fibres used in a ropery. An evening could be spent in considering the discovery, growth, habits, and preparation of the different vegetable fibres of commerce, also their evolution in a commercial sense, how one fibre becomes partially supersede! by another, as far instance flax giving way to cotton, soft hemps for tarred, and un tarred cordage being superseded by Manila hemp. Tows and common hemps, being difficult to procure during the Crimean war, led to the introduction and general use of jute for bagging, ka., with the result that to-day jute is the most largely cultivated of all vegetable fibres, totalling 1,000,000 tons per annum. In hemps for rope, the premier position belongs to Manila. This fibre has long held its supremacy for durability and strength, and deservedly so, for the rope made from it is for all praotio ■ble purposes the safest and most satisfactory to use. The Phillipine Islands are the sole producers of the world's requirements of Manila hemp. To produce all the artioles assoeiatad with the trade, a great variety of fibres are used. Russia produces splendid hemp, and in passing we note that prior to the introduction of Manila, almost all ropt was made from Russian hemp. Flax is probably the oldest of known vegetable fibres ; its discovery is so historically remote that a date cannot be fixed (Encyclopedia Britannica.) It oan be grown in almost any country. Egypt, India, Holland, Bassia, Belgium, and Ireland, evidenoe variety enough in climate; »nd in all these countries, and in a very modest way in Victoria, flax is grown purely for its fibre. Italy produces a beautiful strong hemp, and from India a variety of fibres is exported, the principal one being, of course, jute. Ceylon and the islands near India provide coir fibre and yarn. The Mauritius gives the hemp of its name, sometimes called Aloe fibre, and from Mexico and tha Bahamas the United States draws Sisal fibre. For common purposes New Zealand produces an excellent hemp. I may just here draw your attention to a letter published in the Wellington Times from Mr Dwan, lately of Wellington, and who is now touring in America, which will speak for itself. Mr Dwan thinks that if the binder twine business was gone into with the latest machinery, which he has seen in America, if it r>wts started in Foxton, where they produce the flax, a good profit could be made out of it, as none but tha best material would then be used, •ad ihe mill-owners would have to dress it properly for their own bene. fit, as they would soon be able to see the advantage of a proper finish if tbe manufacture was carried on in the immediate vioinity. A remark may be made here which is well known to shippers,
that two bales are dumped together by hydrauilo power, and when they are cut open in tbe factory they present anything but a nice appearance. All thi3 would be avoided if the fibre was made into bindertwine in this district where the hemp is made, besides the great saving in freight. The above I think would be worth thinking over by some of our Wellington friends. Fibre manufacturers are taking keenest possible interest in a new fibre, the ramie, great things being expected of it. A fortune awaits tha genius who can, in an inexpensive way, degum the rhea or China grass which gives this fibre. If it is of any aid to would be inventors, the process was known to the Egyptians 4000 years ago, yet today we speak of ramie as a new fibre. To sum up this part of our subject, let us bear in mind there are two distinct classes of vegetable fibres, viz., hard fibres and soft fibres, each requiring entirely different treat ment. The so called hard fibres include Manila, Sisal, New Zealand hemp, Aloe fibre, &c. Soft fibres comprise Russian and Italian hemps, flax, jute, &c. (To be continued.)