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REPORT BY CONSUL-GENERAL GOLDSCHMIDT, OP VIENNA.
The approximate number of staves annually produced in or imported into Austria-Hungary is estimated at about 60,000,000 “Französche Fassdauben” (staves for spirituous liquors), and 6,000,000 Eimers,* or about 3,000,000 hectoliterst of “Binderholz," or staves of varying dimensions, mainly for brewers' purposes, and holding 6,000,000 Eimers, or about 3,000,000 hectoliters of liquids.
The approximate value of the total number of staves used in and exported from Austria-Hungary may be computed at about 16,000,000 florins or $6,400,000.
The kind of staves in greatest demand are “ Binderholz” or staves used for beer casks, principally for domestic use and for export to Germany, and “Französische Fassdauben,” or staves for the various kinds of casks and barrels to contain alcoholic liquors; of these the greater part are exported to France and Italy, and the rest to England, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey, and to some eastern ports of the Mediterranean.
Until lately the forests of Austria-Hungary sufficed to supply the demand both for domestic use and for export, but the suitable material for staves having become more and more scarce within this Empire, part of the timber for staves has been derived from the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina and now also from the Kingdom of Servia, and smaller quantities from Russia and Roumania.
* Eimer is the denomination for a liquid measure, which, before the introduction of the metric weights and measures, had been in use in Austria-Hungary for wine, beer, brandy, etc., in casks. The numbers into which “Binderholz” are classified still correspond with the number of Eimers which a cask made of the respective number of the Binderholz will contain. One Eimer is equal to about one half hectoliter.
+ One hectoliter is equal to 100 liters, or to 26.1186 gallons. One gallon is equal to 3.7852 liters.
The cost or market price, according to official statistics, was 6 florins for import and 6.36 forins for export per metrical centner,* of staves in 1889, as against 7.50 florins for import in 1888. According to private information the price is at present 6.71 florins for export. A prominent wood merchant states that the normal price is now 180 florins for 1,000 “Französische Fassdauben," 1 metert in length, 25 to 30 millimeters thick, and of an average width of 12 centimeters. For “Binderholz in lots," i. e., from one-quarter to 100 hectoliter casks, the normal price is 1.80 to 2 florins per hectoliter, or 900 to 1,000 florins in lots of 50,000 hectoliters of assorted sizes. But these prices, according to the grades of the staves, will vary as much as 50 per cent, some of the kinds being worth as much again as some others.
4. In order that staves, on delivery, should command the best price and give the most satisfaction, it is requisite that the wood be felled during the winter season; that the wood should be well seasoned; that it is of a sound, fine fiber, without being soft; that it is not worm-eaten or rotten, and that it is without any knots, rents, or other blemishes; the staves should not be sawn lengthwise, but vertically cleft with the grain, so that the medullary rays are visible on the broad side of the cleft. The pieces split from the wood should, at least, have one broad side which is smooth or level and of sufficient width, and they should number but few narrow or warped pieces. Care should be taken that the pieces are not placed lengthwise, but standing up endwise, as otherwise they will lose both in quality and quantity.
Staves of larger dimensions will command the greater profits, not only because the proper material for such kind of staves is becoming scarce here, but also for the reasons as are demonstrated by the following computation given by a prominent stave firm of this place.
Work wages is estimated at about 25 kreutzers per 1 Eimer, equal to about one-half hectoliter. Good dimensions may be calculated 1.55 florins per 1 kimer, off seaport here.
A railroad carload of staves will consist, at most, of any one number of staves of the following grades:
*1 metrical centner = 100 kilograms 220.46 pounds.
+1 meter = 100 centimeter = 1,000 millimeter 39.3707 inches; 1 centimeter = 0.3937 inch; 1 millimeter = 0.0393 inch; 1 yard = 0.9143 meter; 1 foot = 30.4794 centimeters; 1 inch = 2.5399 centimeters.
11 forin=100 krentzers=40 cents.
Staves of normal width should, on average, contain at most
Three layers of staves of the same kind, the width of which layers is 5 centimeters more than the normal length of the stave, and two layers of headings of the same kind, the width of which layers surpasses the smallest normal length by 3 centimeters, form together one complete cask or barrel.
Three layers of staves by themselves are considered to form twothirds of the respective dimension or number of the cask, and two lay. ers of headings alone form one-third of the respective dimension or number,
The classification into numbers of the staves, as given in the table next following, is coequal with the number of eimers which a cask formed by staves thus classed by numbers will contain. This classification is generally used in the stave transactions of Austria-Hungary. Only good qualities should be exported. Staves are a cash article.
The correct dimensions of the staves in use, both for export and for domestic use, are as follows:
The kind of timber most desirable for the kinds of staves in greatest demand, viz, for “französische Fassdauben” and for “Binderholz," is that of the Quercus penduculata (longstalked or white oak), Quercus robur or sessiflora (winter oak). Staves made of various other kinds of timber, as of the beech, asp, etc., are of inferior quality and but little marketable. Whether our hickory, which is not grown in Europe, is fit to be used, is an open question, remaining to be tried by experiment.
Reliable figures concerning the present supply and the whole of the demand could not be obtained; but from the fact that of late years stave timber of a considerable amount has been imported into AustriaHungary, although only for the purpose of being reëxported, it may be presumed that the present sources of supply of timber within AustriaHungary are no longer sufficient to cover the whole of the demand, as may be inferred from the following statement collected from official statistics:
For the decade 1879-1888 the annual average export of “französische Fassdaubep” amounted to 43,693,208 pieces. Export during 1889, 61,206,017 pieces, or about 7,000,000 pieces, equal to about 2,300 railroad carloads more than in 1888, or 17,512,809 pieces, i.e. 40 per cent more than the annual average figure of staves exported during the decade of 1879-1888. There wereImported: 1890
265, 320 1889
173, 600 Exported: 1890
1, 955, 931 1889
2, 686. 145 * Metrical centuer, 220.46 pounds.