Sivut kuvina

During the months of January and February, 1891, the stave transactions to and from the different countries were as follows:

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Total import during January and February, 1891, 6,111 metrical centners; export, 302,888 metrical centners.

In 1889 the export to the different countries, expressed in percentage, was about as follows:

"Französische Fassdauben:" France, 84 per cent; Italy, 12 per cent; Algiers, 2 per cent; and the remaining 2 per cent exported to Great Britain, Portugal, and the eastern ports of the Mediterranean. "Binderholz:" Germany (including Alsace and Lorraine), 70 per cent; Sweden, 9 per cent; France, 10 per cent; and about 11 per cent divided between Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, and some other countries.

American staves have not made their way into Austria-Hungary, but within recent years the Austrian stave export into Germany has to meet the competition of staves supplied not only by Russia and Poland, but also of staves of American origin, principally at the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, etc., and likewise at some inland towns, as Frankfort-on-the-Main.


The flourishing state of the Austro-Hungarian stave trade is due, as it is maintained, not only to the hitherto great abundance of the growth of suitable material within the empire of Austria-Hungary, but also to the skilled workmen trained for many generations to the ways of util izing the timber in the most advantageous manner.

As yet timber has been cleft into staves only by hand, and it requires the practised eye and sure hand of the skilled workman in order not to waste a good deal of time, labor, and material. Prominent wood merchants of this country assure that, aside from the quickness and nicety of work, a skilled workman will produce out of one and the same material from 20 per cent to 60 per cent more than other workmen will.

In regard to "französische Fassdauben," it should be observed that the price is generally quoted per 1,000 pieces prime quality or so-called

"reine (pure) Monte;" but, as no inconsiderable number of pieces do not answer the quality of "reine Monte" and as it is customary that staves of lower grade are brought to and accepted on delivery, the dif ference between the value of "reine Monte" and that of an inferior quality is adjusted so that a certain number of the staves of lower grade are reduced to that of "reine Monte," so that the number of pieces of inferior quality, which represent the price for 1,000 pieces "reine Monte," considerably exceeds the figure of 1,000. Thus it may be that, to deliver 1,000 "reine Monte," 1,400 or more pieces of an inferior quality will be required.

In accordance with the quality of the trunk, the value of the staves produced is varying very greatly; and the value is especially depending on the comparative number of staves of better or inferior quality represented in the lot. By comparing the invoices of a large number of lots, it may be inferred that a railroad carload of staves fit for export, and from which the lowest grades have been excluded (as not paying the expense for freight from their place of production to the boundary), represents about 2,400 pieces of "reine Monte," whilst the absolute number of staves of that railroad carload not unfrequently surpasses by far the number of 3,000 staves.

According to information obtained by this consulate-general, it appears as if staves for petroleum casks, if sold at reasonable prices, might find a market in the petroleum-producing countries of Europe.

On the whole, it might be assumed that, provided the undertaking be properly started and the cost for transportation is within reasonable bounds, the chances are in favor of the export of staves on a large scale from the United States of America into European countries; but the staves should be of large size and of good quality. It would also be advisable to have the undertaking centralized and managed from a central depot, which should be located in a seaport town having the best of water and railroad communications. It would also appear that the safety and the success of the undertaking would be greatly promoted if, in the beginning at least, our American producers were to avail themselves of the assistance of European stave dealers and their skilled workmen.

Several inquiries have been made at this consulate-general by prominent lumbermen of this empire in regard to the "exploration of American forests" for the purpose of stave-making. Large funds are said to be ready for such investments.




Vienna, Austria, May, 1891.

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Staves in Bohemia, as in other parts of Austria-Hungary, have an excellent name for the quality of the wood and their workmanship. An estimate of the number of staves used each year is difficult to make, on account of the various sizes of barrels in use (about 300). An average year's business, estimated in value, however, is between 600,000 and 800,000 florins.

The kind of staves in greatest demand are those intended for the barrels most frequently used, which are those of quarter, half, 1, and 2 hectoliters capacity.*

The wood used comes mostly from Hungarian forests, though also in part from the forests of Bohemia and Slavonia. The staves are put into a half-finished condition before coming into the market from the forests. When finished, the prices in late years have varied, according to quality, about as follows, in the most common sizes:

Average price per barrel for staves

for one-quarter hectoliter barrels....
for one-half hectoliter barrels
for one hectoliter barrels

for two hectoliter barrels..

Florins. 1.00 to 1.20

1.80 to 2.50

2.90 to 3.80

4.80 to 6.30

In order to command the best price and to give the most satisfaction, the preparation of the staves is most carefully attended to. The wood must be split by hand after dividing each section of the tree into four parts, and the wood must never be sawed. The wood must not be too old, and should be clear and without knots, perfectly straight, and not too narrow. The staves must be of considerable strength, being used entirely for beer barrels. They are brought into the market in a halffinished state, so that the cooper can readily put them in proper condition, both the staves and top and bottom pieces being of the required ength. Streaked, faulty wood has scarcely any value.

The dimensions of the more common sizes of staves are as follows:

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The width of these staves varies from 1 to 13 and 2 inches.
The only kind of wood used in the manufacture of staves is oak.

* 1 hectoliter 26.42 gallons.

Dealers in staves are in the habit of keeping large supplies on account of the endless variety of sizes wanted, as well as the necessity of preserving the wood for two or three years before it is in condition for the market. The demand is usually a steady one from year to year. The decrease in the manufacture of beer during the past year, occasioned in a measure by strikes, has lessened the demand, and staves command 15 to 20 per cent less price than usual.

American staves have, up to the present time, never been sold in Bohemia. Dealers claim that their introduction would be an impossibility, alleging their inferior quality as compared with Austrian staves, and especially mentioning their greater thinness.




Prague, April 21, 1891.



There is but one manufacturer of kegs and vats in Fürth, his entire output being for the use of the various breweries in the city. No barrels of any kind other than for beer are made in this district. The manufacturers, Messrs. G. Stumptner & Son, use steam machinery, and yet their product does not amount to any very great sum. They could not give me any definite information as to the quantity of staves they used. These are bought by the keg or vat, and include also the headings. For instance, the number of staves required to make a keg would measure a width three times the length of the stave.

Oak is the only variety of wood used.

The supply comes from Hungary, Servia, Crotia, and Roumania. The price per keg or tun for the following lengths of staves, including heading, is laid down here:

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The prices given on the larger pieces seems to me to be out of proportion, but they are also correspondingly thicker and the freight is much greater.

They are delivered in the rough here.

The above sizes are the most common in use, but there are variations, each being 5 centimeters.


There is no great demand, and the supply is said to be ample, no change in price having occurred in fifty years.

No American staves are sold here. The experiment was tried by the firm named a few years ago, but the difference in freight was too great, making them cost more than those purchased elsewhere.


Commercial Agent.

Fürth, April 4, 1891.



As shown by the accompanying statistical tables, the average quantity of staves exported from Trieste and Fiume during the ten years 1880-1889 amounts to 46,520,460 pieces, whilst an average of about 2,390,000 pieces remained in Trieste for home consumption, thus bringing the total amount used every year to about 49,000,000 pieces of all dimensions, valued at about 6,000,000 florins, or $2,400,000.

The staves at present in greatest demand are firstly those of 42 inches (40 to 46 inches), 36 inches (34 to 40 inches); then 30 inches (28 to 34 inches), 24 inches (22 to 28 inches) and 18 inches (17 to 22 inches) in length; all 3-4 inches (average 3.85) and 4-6 inches (average 488) in width, mostly 1 inch; that is, 11 to 14 lines, but practically 12 to 15 lines with the accessory, 9 to 11 lines, 7 to 9 lines, and 5 to 7 lines in thickness; also some 14 inch = 14 to 17 lines, 1=17 to 22 lines, French measure, all taken at the thinnest, shortest, and narrowest part of the stave.

The sources of supply are Slavonia, Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, and Servia.

The cost to the consumer varies according to dimensions, etc., but a price of 240 florins per 1,000 pieces 36.1, 4.6 Monte (bulk) free on board Fiume-Trieste may be taken as an average. Other dimensions in proportion, as shown by the proforma invoice inclosed.

The richer the lengths, thicknesses, and widths, the easier the sale. The 42-inch staves are marked thus:

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