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OUR COLONIAL INDUSTRIES.

KB. :_TJ_J_--r_, HAT -'ACT-SY.

rß_ a -KcasT Visrro_-3 -U inspec_n_ local industries has of late the __bio_, I paid a visit recently to Hat Factory. It is a strange fest that though hats are articles of every-day —tac, nine persons out of every ten are i-nora-t of the process of m_nufactu_e, or the __oy stages through which the article has to p_a before becoming finished. The factory _ow under notice was established in 1872, and «c_d ere this have heen considerably Isrger t fr_» „ now is, but for the operation of the tariff, which substituted ad valorem for meaw __—_t duties. Under the latter the ordi—_y tall hate—cokinially known as " bell£jppers " —paid a duty of 5s oa each, and the 4—ter varieties of hat about 2s 6d each. The result of thia was to give a considerable .impetus to colonic* manufacturing, and to employ a large amount of labour. But the Bsw tariff reduced the duties mentioned to Is _i the one ease, and 9d in the other. This -simply prohibited local industry exoept in the letter c_M of articles, as it was useless to atEto manufacture the commoner class of when they could be brought in so y from England. If the measurement duty wereto be again restored on hate, Ac, Mr Huliertwo—d be able to produce a superior article st a very slight advance on the present price charged, and to employ a very large number «f ____. In Melbourne a duty is charged on . the manufactured goods, and the material agd in manufacture is allowed to be imnffted free. Hulbert's factory is situate in lEgh street, and comprises three divisions, tbe first being the factory proper, where the formation of the hats, or as they are ( *B___ea_y termed v bodies'* are made; the j «eeond the fin-bigg room, where the plush or __; is put on, and the hat so far completed ; aad the third, the trimming room, in which i_»lining, bands, Ac., are put in, and generally _» hat made ready for sale. In the first of t__e departments the msdus operandi ia as follows:—A piece of calico, free from all dressing and adapted peculiarly for this trade, is cut to the shape required, whether for a tall hat or low crowned. It is then soaked in a sob—ion of shell-lac and stretched on a frame. • Prom this it passes to a block shaped to the size and style require—. This block is com- , posed of pieces of wood, which fit into each ' other, and over which the calico prepared is _retched. After this is done it is ironed with a hot iron until it assumes a stiff and board- " ___ appearance, the brim being blocked ont. It is then placed on one side to harden until .. —is ready for the next opera—on, which is carried on in tbe finishing room before spoken of. It may be mentioned that a solution of

_»-im«r gum is used to prevent the iron stick- : ing to the shell-lac Mr Hulbert has experimented with kauri gum, to see if it could be . utilised for this purpose, but it waa a failure. The hat having now assumed shape and form, . passes into the finishing room. If it is to be stall hat the body is covered with a eompo_tion of sheQ-lac and spirits, and the beaver or plush is then placed upon this, cut to tbe size, and the varnish, Ac, causes it to adhere. A fine toothed curve comb is then drawn over the beaver, which

polls all the nap ever the seams, thus biding them from view. The felt is done in the asms way, except that it is all in one piece, and is drawn over a block. The shaping or _sal finish, so far as the hat proper is concerned, except the lining, _c, is also done in this room. The hat when the felt or beaver is covered over the body has a perfectly straight brim, and is devoid of the work which gives it the peculiar fashion which may happen to be in vogue. This is done by smoothing the brim first with a hot iron, and then applying jto it shaping instruments which, by running along the brim, give it tbe peculiar curl and shape. Adjoining this room is a store where the surplus stock of shellac, spirits of wine, Ac- are _ept. It may be mentioned that the shaping of the hat requires ability on the put of tbe workman, inasmuch as tbe eye is £_» only guide to enable him to bring the hat into a saleable shape. The stock room, in which material such- as beaver, felt hoods ior making hate, tweed, Ac., is kept, opens off file shaping room. Here Mr Hnlbert has for comparison a number of imported felt hats sod some manufactured by him. " You __1 see," said he, "that the imparted hats «f low quality are limply made of stiffened f_t, not like ours upon books of the calico I tmva described. The result is that the im- ' ported bats are much heavier and less durable. Itat on account of tbe tariff I cannot attempt to __n_-ctnre any but the better class of _ste, b—_—~ the importers could bring them ia cheaper than I could make them, though of inferior quality to what I wonld turn them ««&. H the Government would protect the industry we should hare manufacturers here ■—ploying from 100 to 200 hands, and large __porta__Da of machinery." After a look at t_e large stock of trimmings, Ac., we proceed _pstei~, where a number of young ladies are employe- in patting in tbe lining, bands, Ac., to bats of various kinds and styles. In this -sp_r_—_t a variety of industries are carried SB. - Indeed, bate and caps of all kinds, Oxford shirts, collegiate gowns, Ac., are _H_nfactured here, and the work is excellent. Mr Hnlbert has also for some time past m—nuiFact—red the helmets for the police, the caUegtate caps for the College, uniform caps to* fire polios and volunteers. In the room adjoining the machine room, in which four — —;■_tm- are in full work, it a stock room. Here are the blocks of various styles which stave gone oat of fashion, memorials «f the vagarifs ef the arbiter of destiny, so -far as dress is concerned. Mr Hulbrrt re__a_t "as the styles of 100 years ago are zoning into fashion in ladies' dresses, these aty—s in hats you see there, which are antiquated, may oome in some day." On our Teton below Mr Humeri calls my attention to what is perhaps the acme of hat manu--Kture, viz., opera hate. He says " The place a hardly advanced enough for this yet; I —•da, I believe, half a deaen, but only one -ma ever asked for." The tweed hate and oaps and Oxford shirts turned out on the premises are exoe_ent, and are rapidly superseding the imported ones, as the customer can ■elect tbe tweed, &_, he likes best. Mr

Holbert employs about eleven bands, who aero busy all the year round; the trade, should _ny encouragement be offered by the Government, is one which will largely increase, and add yet another to our —creasing list of local __j_tries.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18780525.2.18

Bibliographic details

OUR COLONIAL INDUSTRIES., Press, Volume XXIX, Issue 4004, 25 May 1878

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1,200

OUR COLONIAL INDUSTRIES. Press, Volume XXIX, Issue 4004, 25 May 1878

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