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THE KAIAPOI WOOLLEN FACTORY.

“ Quite recently,” says a correspondent of the New Zealand Times, “ I had the satisfaction of going over the Kaiapoi Woollen Factory, in Christchurch. Without seeing, it is difficult to conceive the extent of the Company’s operations, and the amount and variety of labor employed. The seat of the manufactury proper is at Kaiapoi, where the whole process of converting sheep’s clothing into material for man’s clothing is gone through in its entirety, spinning, carding, weaving, dyeing, and the score or so of intermediate processes—all interesting to an onlooker with an enquiring mind—can here be seen, and the knowledge thus obtained of the capabilities and resources of our land has a wonderful significance to the thoughtful observer. All kinds of woollen goods are here made—from blankets to broadcloth, from knitting yarn, which employs the careful housemother’s spare moments in making stockings for her boys, to the luxurious rug that is to encircle the traveller in its warm embrace on railway or steamer. The finished goods are conveyed to the Company’s factory in Christchurch, where the cloths are made up into articles of clothing, some 250 persons being employed in this work alone. Such a whirring of sewing machines ! While looking at the numbers of young girls busily running them, one can understand one reason why servants are scarce. The comparative freedom of factory life has charms above that of domestic service ; whether rightly or wrongly I cannot just now stay to discuss. Here are to be seen heaps of articles for boys’ and men’s wear; on an average 1,200 are turned out every day. But it is the quality of the cloth cloth I want to examine, and I find it of various textures —thick and thin, coarse and fine; but all good; infinitely superior for durability to the stuff that comes, as a rule, into the colonial market. The wonder is that anything else is accepted when such goods can be obtained of home growth. Yes, I know what you are going to say, dear reader. ‘They are so dear; we can get ready-made imported suits at half the price.” Granted, but my dear madam, how do they wear? Are you not aware that most of those nice looking cheap garments, are really little else than shoddy—that is* old clothes re-manufactured —and have little durability ? Very soon after wearing you observe how shabby they appear, and you exclaim against “ that dreadful boy’s ” carelessness with his clothes, when in reality the blame rests with the inferior cloth. Why, at the factory, I

■JMI ' I —’ noticed'limmense Heaps of cloth cutand my look of enquiry was answered promptly by the courteous managerj “Waiting; to be sent to England to tile sh6ddy mills.”' “ But why not,” said lr' “ use them up here !" “ Oh,” was the'reply, “it would not pay us to do that; we get more by selling them to mix'with Did cloth, arid ’be" Inverted into brand new fabrics,^,arid here he chuckled. Then the blankets came into ridtice!" 'Every housekeeper'ofthe old-fashioned type takes pride in her blankets, and here were such as would rejoice the heart of the most fastidious housewife. Such soft, fine texture, beautiful color, and neat finish. Some, indeed, I have never seen equalled for fineness and lightness, combined with warmth. It is not the heaviest coverings that are the warmest; witness the eider down quilt, which is a hint taken from some European continental town, where the couch consists of one down bed to lie on, and another as covering. Passing on, we examine the flannels, which at present are rather heavy for some purposes, but in time they will be made to suit every need. As for the railway rugs, they deserved the admiration they excited. Beautifully soft, of smoothest texture and varied in pattern and color as to suit all tastes, from the showy tartan to quiet gray, interspersed with lines of color, or sober brown. I cannot tell how interested I was with all I saw at this factory. It was so suggestive of home resources, and self-reliance, and providing for the future, and making New Zealand what she should be—the pride of the Southern Hemisphere. That she will occupy the premier place some day, who of her sons or daughters dares to doubt? But we must help one another, and this is something well worth thinking about.”

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18821104.2.9

Bibliographic details

THE KAIAPOI WOOLLEN FACTORY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 785, 4 November 1882

Word Count
726

THE KAIAPOI WOOLLEN FACTORY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 785, 4 November 1882

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