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Second Story. PLAN OF THE PRATTSVILLE

PRATTSVILLE, GREENE COUNTY, NEW YORK.

TANNERY.

transported over the mountains to his factory, by the most difficult and unbroken roads. In a new country, inconveniences and difficulties pre. sented themselves in every shape,-new machinery to be tried, altered, or thrown away, unskilful workmen and laborers to be trained and “ broken in," bark to be peeled, and dragged from the mountains. In addition, the stock of leather, injured by negligence or want of skill on the part of his workmen, was returned to a low and glutted market, and forced off at ruinous prices. All these adverse circumstances were enough to discour. age him, but did not; they only served to awaken still further his energies, and stimulate him to renewed exertions. He is now, after the lapse of sixteen years, the proprietor of the largest tannery in America, perhaps in the world, the purchases and sales for which have amounted during that period to the immense sum of two millions and a half of dollars, in the centre of a beautiful village numbering in population some thousand inhab. itants, containing an academy erected at his own personal cost, and which he now offers to endow with five thousand dollars, conditioned that a like amount be raised by the inhabitants; two handsome churches, which he aided liberally in building, and still continues to help sustain ; a carpet and india rubber manufactory, employing fifty travelling agents; three gristmills, seven sawmills, five shingle machines, six stores, three hotels, four blacksmith shops, and a number of other mechanical trades and pro. fessions. With an ample forture, always ready to assist the industrious, and stimulate them by his advice, his example, and his protective policy, (for he encourages every branch of industry in his own village, in prefer. ence,) he furnishes forth an illustration of the true “ American system, and demonstrates how much can be accomplished by a single individual. determined on success.

We have been somewhat minute, (we hope not tedious,) in the history of this flourishing village, believing that the facts will be of interest to all who take pleasure in viewing the successful progress our country is making in her domestic manufactures ; and this is but one of a number of like establishments, not so extensive, perhaps, which have grown up into existence within very

few

years.

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EXPLANATION OF THE ENGRAVING.

1.-Race 6 feet wide, 8 deep, 10 feet water-power. 2.-9 feet breast-wheel, driving three hidemills.

3.-5 feet cast iron tub-wheel, propelling two rolling machines, both attached to one crank.

4.-Cast iron tub-wheel, driving pump, to renew the liquors drawn from the bottom of the vats.

5.-14 feet wooden breast water-whcel, carrying two barkmills.

6.–6 pair of leeches, 28 feet long, 8 feet wide, 5 to 8 deep. 6 copper heaters in the upper tier, standing over the water; by which the exhausted tan is swept from the leeches down stream; the liquor being drawn by conductors to all points of the yard.

7.-8 beam bands.
8.- Beam-house, containing 30 vats, 7 by 8, 5 deep.

9.-Tan vats, 300, 7 by 8, and 4 by 7, 5 deep, with conductors, underneath, to the junk, or pump, No. 4.

10.-2 bark sheds, 124 feet long, 25 wide, 14 high.
11.–Store and drying-house, 60 by 30, 24 high.
12.-Sweat pits.
VOL III.-NO. II.

19

annum.

It is estimated that the state of New York manufactures one third of the whole quantity of leather tanned in the United States. There are about 450 tanneries, and the total value of leather annually, is about six millions of dollars. The importation of sole leather into the United States has en. tirely ceased, and although there exists a protective duty of 29 per cent, it is entirely unnecessary; indeed, were foreign markets thrown open to us, we hazard little in asserting that we could export sole leather to the European markets to advantage. English sheep, (in the raw state chiefly,) and French calf skins finished, are imported into the country in considerable quantities, and we believe profitably, but the value is trifling, compared with the great staple, sole leather.

The hemlock tanneries are generally constructed of wood; all the tan. ning vats are under cover of the building, and are kept warm by means of stoves and heaters, in order that the operations may proceed as well during the cold, as warm seasons. The old plan, and the one pursued still in the oak tanning districts, is to lay away the leather and cover up the vats in the winter, (thus being out of doors and exposed to the severity of the sea. son,) and open them again in the spring ; in this way much time was lost, and the tanneries were unable to tan out but a single stock in the year. The size of the larger class of tanneries is from 150 to 400 feet in length by 30 to 50 feet in width, containing from 100 to 300 vats—and 2 to 8 large heaters, in which the bark is steamed or boiled, for the purpose of extracting the tannin ; their capacities range from 3000 to 20,000 hides per

The Prattsville tannery is capable of tanning out within the year, 25,000 hides, or 50,000 sides of sole leather. They usually tan two stocks in the year ; that is to say, the hides “worked in” in the spring, are return. ed manufactured in the fall, and those “worked in" in the fall, are returned in the spring. The tanneries are located always on some stream furnish. ing sufficient power to propel the machinery, and in the midst of the hemlock forests, where bark is of easy access and cheap. As the forests of hemlock become extinguished, the tanners retreat farther into the interior. Among other causes which have contributed to place the state of New York in the high position she occupies as a tanning state, was the enactment of judicious inspection laws, which, while they served to guard the pur. chasers from imposition, also stimulated the tanners to put forth their best skill and exertions to excel. The states of Maryland and Massachusetts have both adopted, with slight modifications, the laws of the state of New York in that particular, and are now experiencing their beneficial effects.

Within the past fifteen years, important improvements have been made in the art of tanning, and many erroneous notions exploded. The quality of sole leather has been improved in about the same ratio as the average gain in weight has been increased, which may safely be estimated on an average at 20 per cent; that is to say, hides under the old system of tan. ning, which yielded a gain of 130 pounds of leather for every 100 pounds of raw hide, will now, under the improved system, be made to yield 150 pounds. The idea that time is necessary to make the best leather, has been demonstrated to be true only to a limited extent; as good leather can be made, by the bestowment of active management and labor, in six or eight months as in six or eight years; indeed, as good hemlock sole leather as we ever saw was manufactured in eight months, and we understand that suc. cessful experiments have been recently made establishing the fact that ex. cellent leather can be manufactured in fifty days; and extensive arrange.

ments are now being made to test the feasibility of the plan on a large scale. Of one great truth, however, there is but little doubt; to speak technically, the old system of laying awaymust be abandoned for that ofhandling.' Another improvement we will notice, is the system of sweating; it gives more firmness to the leather, and in many instances, enables tanners to work hides into the liquor in a sound state, that would otherwise'go to pieces.

It was, however, not our intention, when we commenced this article, to go into any discussion of superiority of modes in tanning; but rather to furnish some statistical facts in regard to the progress and extent of the leather manufacture in this state, and havin z this purpose in view, we shall for the present leave the subject, after calling attention to the following tables : 1.Table showing the total number of sides of sole leather inspected in the

city of New York, during the years 1827 to 1839, inclusive.
1827, 265,553

1834, 828,175
1828, 284,978

1835, 784,165 1829, 264,878

925,014 1630, 326,298

890,962 1831, 440,000

750,675 1832, 667,000

1839,

772,255 1833, 882,609 11.— Table of imports and exports of hides, foreign and domestic, at the port

of New York, from 1824 to 1839, inclusive, with the consumption, same period.

1836, 1837, 1838,

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9,267,118

986,870

8,198,862 III.—Comparative table of foreign hides, imports and exports at Liverpool

and New York. Imported into Liverpool, 1824 to 1839, inclusive, 16 years, 7,859,952 Exported from do. same period,

2,067,775 Consumption do. do.

5,792,177

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Imported in New York, 1824 to 1839, inclusive, 16 years,
Exported from do.

same period, Consumption do.

do.

9,267,118

986,870 8,198,862

New York imported during the above period, 1,407,166 hides more, and exported 1,080,905 less, and consumed 2,406,685 more than the city of Liverpool. London imports and consumes less than Liverpool; and we know of no other city, New York excepted, that imports so largely as these two cities.

IV.-Table of green slaughter hides inspected in New York from 1832 to

1839, inclusive.

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EVERY nation, in almost every age, can boast of its distinguished mer. chants, celebrated as well for their unbounded enterprise and devotion to the public good, as for their moral worth and sterling honesty of character; and in the brief sketch of one thus ennobled, may be traced the history of thousands. Since the period when the first gleams of enlightened knowledge broke in upon the dark gloom of the middle ages, dispersing and gradually destroying the deep-rooted prejudices which existed against mer. cantile pursuits, and obliterating the contempt with which those engaged in them were viewed, the whole maritime and enlightened world have chroni. cled in golden characters the unnumbered benefits which have resulted from the honorable career of mercantile men ; and although their individual history has been but scantily preserved, yet no class or profession stands so prominently forth upon the records of the past as the benefactors of the hu

The great interests which have been created by their advenlurous and enterprising spirit, have blended themselves intimately with the welfare and happiness of society, and as they required the fostering care and protection of wise and enlightened legislation, new and beneficial laws have been called into existence; and in this manner the intercourse between nations has become modified and softened, and the internal jurisprudence of civilized countries greatly improved, and placed upon a more just and liberal foundation. That the moral and intellectual superiority of the mer. chants has effected these vast changes in the condition of mankind, we are far from asserting, although their entire success and ultimate prosperity depending, as they ever must, upon the sacredness with which their con. tracts and engagements with each other are performed, a more scrupulous integrity and undeviating honesty would be observed than could be found

man race.

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