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Swiss Embroidery And Lace Industry
An excerpt from the introductory chapter:
SWITZERLAND, with only 15,469 square miles of land and some 3,500,000 people, had a total foreign trade in 1906 of $855,770,382, made up of $465,739,730 imports and $390,030,652 exports. The imports are mainly foodstuffs and raw materials, .while the exports are principally manufactured products. The largest single item in the export list is silk goods, while the second largest is cotton goods, and for 1907 it is probable that cotton goods will rank first.
In 1906 Switzerland imported cotton and cotton manufactures to the value of $21,419,273, clothed its own people, and exported cotton manufactures to the value of $40,928,053. The total Swiss figures for cotton and cotton manufactures show that $32,900,670 came in over the border and that $52,409,450 went out over the border, but of this $11,481,397 represents the value of cotton manufactures that simply passed through the country, and as it did not in any way affect the actual Swiss trade it may be disregarded.
The average value of the raw cotton- imported in 1906 was 14.55 cents a pound. The average value of all manufactures of cotton exported reached $1.15 a pound, while the average value of the embroideries and laces alone reached $2.07 a pound. The "raw material " used in Swiss cotton manufacturing includes not only cotton, but yarns, thread,and cloth; but after taking these into consideration Switzerland still holds the record for the greatest difference between the value of cotton imported and cotton exported. Three-fourths of the cotton exports consist of embroidery and laces.
ST. GALL THE EMBROIDERY CENTER OF THE WORLD.
Cotton mills in Switzerland center around Zurich, but have not enjoyed any great measure of prosperity and show no tendency to increase. Embroidery manufacturing, however, which is centered around St. Gall, in eastern Switzerland, has been on a great boom for several years, and its increase has been wonderful. Its exports to the United States alone were in 1906 double those of 1900. Its sales to other countries also show great gains, and St. Gall is now the embroidery center of the world. Just at present the business is experiencing a sharp setback, due to the money crisis in New York, but this is-only temporary. There are in Switzerland some 6,000 power machines and 16,000 hand machines for making embroidery. The great bulk of these are centered around St. Grail, and their production is exported from that point. Around St. Gall are also situated the machine builders, the bleacheries, and the large number of small industries allied with this line of manufacturing.
As yet there are only 616 embroidery machines in the United States, and the St. Gall manufacturers laugh at the idea of America being able to compete with Switzerland in this industry. It seems to be a fact, however, that on cheap handkerchiefs and some other articles, especially novelties that have to be, put on the market quickly to meet a sudden demand, the United States is already getting the home market, and in time may be able to compete on broader lines. What has been done in watch-making may yet be done in embroidery making. In St. Gall itself the industry in a great measure owes its development to the application of American business methods, and the largest and most up-to-date factories are those owned and controlled by Americans.
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