New Industry Considered

by Laurel | March 26th, 2014

20 March 1909

Boehmeria nivea

Boehmeria nivea

Ramie Fiber Company’s Plan
Hearing Given by Business Men’s Association to H. H. Howard, President of the Company

The Holyoke Business Men’s Association met last evening and listened to Henry H. Howard, president of the Howard Ramie manufacturing company, who gave a history of the manufacture of many articles from the yearn. Mr. Howard said that the manufacture of yarn and cloth from the plant was nothing new, but that from times hundreds of years ago the property of the plant had been known and it had been used. In China it was common. He hid no claim for having invented a use for the plant, but that he had invented a method and machines which would prepare the plant for use in a sorter time and at a greater reduced expense than possible in Germany or any of the countries in Europe where it is used, He said that the plant can be grown in the southern states and as far north as Maryland and Delaware. He showed samples of cloth made from the yarn and gave the prices which it would cost to manufacture them. He also claimed to have discovered a way in clearing the fiber of the gums of recovering the gum, which can be put to many of the uses of rubber, especially in the insulation of electric wire.

He claimed to be able to manufacture the yarn by this process at about one twentieth the cost at which it is manufactured in Europe today. He wished to erect a yarn-mill in the city of the minimum capacity of 6000 pounds of yarn daily. He estimated the cost of the mill wished with machinery, motive power, etc., at $300,000 and said that if a suitable factory could be leased about one third could be taken off from this figure. The process requires a large use of water, and he estimated that 800,000 gallons of water would have to be used daily. He planned if a mill was started to start with 40 employees, which number would be increased to 400 at the end of a year, and said that the average wage paid would figure about $12 a week. Gas mantles are already being manufactured of yarn was the first thing to tbe started there were many additional manufactures which could be added from time to time as advisable. He wish a committee appointed to visit the present plant of the company an to investigate his personal standing and reliability. A good number of business men were present to hear M. Howard, and his talk received marked attention.

At the cloes of his remarks, Mr. Howard was questioned by the business men present regarding the proposition. President Curran of the association said that he thought that if the scheme was proved to be a good one and that the manufacture was proved to be all right that there would be little difficulty in persecuting the amount of money wished, and said that he thought a committee should be appointed of men familiar with the class of goods to be manufactured, who should look into the matter and visit the plant with Mr Howard and later report their findings to the association. The president, then appointed Frederick A. McLane, superintendent of the William Skinner Silk Company, W. H. Bullard of the Bullard Thread Company and Alexander McAuslan of the dry goods firm of McAuslan & Wakelin, as the investigating committee. The meeting was largely attended, business men from out of the city being present.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican, image from Wiki Commons.

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