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MONDAY, MAY 18, 1868.

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MANUFAC TURES.

YOUNG communities, as a general rule, are not eminent for manufactures. Pe- <*> culiar circumstances may occasionally stimulate what may be teemed a preco-

cious development of manufactures, bat this has always been the exception, not the rule. As in the order of nature agriculture follows pastoral pursuits, co manufactures follow both. An infant community not only lacks manufacturing genius, but lacks also the necessary facili ties for this kind of industry^ It is true that, in one sense, colonies are not "infant" communities. They are off shoots of civilized -nations, and—as re gards politics—spring, mature, into separate existence. But although colo nists, as regards personal capability, may have manufacturing skill equal to thai of -tire old nations from which Cliey hare parted, they lack fee same opportunities and appliances. With

a limited population titere cannot 'be equal mechanical facilities, nor the same demand for productions, so that the utmost skill is often inadequate to secure a satisfactory result. Such a state of things is necessary and inevitable, and one might as well lament the fact that it requires many years for the child to ripen into manhood as that it requires many years for a young community to measure its manufac turing strength against an older one. Protective duties and ether fiscal regula tions, designed to force particular indus tries, are, therefore, about as sensible (or senseless) as medical prescriptions or culinary directions to " force" children into maturity. Ordinarily manufactures are growths, not creations; but mean while society is not idle. Communities that are least fitted to manufacture are generally best fitted to produce raw material, and the various necessaries of life. Of course this consideration will not check enterprise, nor damp ardor; but it will check despondency and en courage patient perseverance. Manu facturing industries cannot be ""gazetted" into life and activity, and we must there fore be content to watch their quiet and gradual uprising. Although South Australia has not yet achieved very high distinction as a manu facturing community, it has given, and is still giving, indubitable proof of what it can do; and, therefore, of what it will do as population expands the market and in creased consumption warrants increased manufacturing outlay. We have a large number of excellent artisans in our midst; workmen in numerous branches, who would not suffer in comparison with the best workmen of the old countries. ; We could point to specimens of work that no English, French, or German operative need be ashamed; and if this is not the character of our manufactures generally, the fault is not so much want of skill, as want of a market suffi ciently large to give an adequate opportu nity for skill to display itself. In architec ture, in cabinetmaking, in coachbuilding, in iron manufactures, and in many other trades, articles have been turned out re flecting the utmost credit on South Aus tralian skill; and—as already stated—an extended market is all that is wanted to crown that skill with profitable results. It is our intention to devote an occa sional column to the rising manufactures. of South Australia, and, as the old adage assures us there is "nothing like leather," we will begin with leather. And that we have not begun at the bottom of the list will be admitted by all who examined the magnificent specimens of leather manu factures exhibited at our memorable " Exhibition" got up in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh. It would be scarcely possible to produce finer leather — of various kinds — than that shown ?n the occasion referred to. The best judges of this description of goods, and those who were in no way interested In the specimensexhibited, freely awarded the highest eulogies, and deservedly so. The production of leather and its subse quent use in manufactures are now matters of much public interest, and with these words of introduction we invite our readers to accompany us on an imaginary visit of inspection. Amongst the more important of our South Australian industries must be placed our leather manufactures. These are essentially local—the hides and skins being easily procurable, as are also the bark, grease, and other articles required in the preparation of the article for market. Seeing the importance, therefore, to which this branch of business has been raised, a brief description of the respec tive establishments engaged in the manu facture of leather, and of the processes through which the material passes, will not be uninteresting. We purpose in the first place to describe briefly the various processes which the raw material undergoes until it is turned out ready for the saddlers, bootmakers, and other leather workers. We have per sonally visited several of the tanning and currying yards in and near the city, but if we explain the processes as conducted in one, of course it will be needless to detail the operations as carried on at similar establishments, the processes being alike. The oldest tannery in the colony is that of Messrs. W. Peacock and Sons, situated in Grenfell-street, and which has gradually developed from a humble beginning to an important manu factory, the buildings and premises con nected with which extend now over more ' than an acre of ground. It was in 1839 that the Hon. W. Peacock first com menced femninpr operations, and the first residence of the hon. gentleman is the only part of the original buildings now remaining. This relic forms a striking contrast with the ideal of residences as drawn by more modern conceptions. But we are digressing. The skins and hides are collected from the butchers and slaughter houses several times a week, and on arrival in the yard are cleansed from the blood and dirt attached to them. When dry bides come in they are soaked in clean water for a few days in order to make them soft and supple, and, in fact, bring them to the state they were in when stripped from the animals. They are then steeped in a solution of lime and water, and in about 10 days are taken from the lime-pits. The hair is now easily taken off, the lime having loosened it. This operation of scraping is performed with blunt knives—the skins being laid across a beam. They are also scraped on the under side, and all pieces of flesh adhering to them are thus removed. The hides are then cut down the middle or back, and from this time they are called " sides." Leaving the " fleshers " they are thoroughly cleansed, and thence the sides intended as sole leather—the commoner, heavier sort of leather —are taken to the tan-pits. The sides which are to be made into dress leather go through separate and distinct processes, which we shall return to describe, after following the sole leather sides through the several opera tions to which they are subjected. The sides (for sole leather) are laid for a month in weak liquor (water and bark) — a layer of bark being placed between each skin. In a month they are removed to another pit, and immersed for a nimilar time in a stronger liquid—bark being also placed between the skuas as in the first instance. We should mention that these skins are marked and num bered in such a way as to tell when they were put in the pit, and when and where each skin was bought. After being two or three months in the tan-pits the skins are, whilst in a half dried state, thrown across a wooden horse in the rolling shed and struck or rubbed with a smooth iron so as to bring out the grain of theleather. After this they are put on the floor and rolled with a heavy weight, so as to make them firm and solid. Then they are hung up to dry, and having been thoroughly seasoned, the sole leather is ready for market. The stouter descrip tions of tins leather are all sold in tie colonial market, the lighter or thinner sorts being shipped to England. Tha tanners complauj very much of the injury which brands make to the skin?. The cattle are branded in such places and so deeply as sometimes very seriously to deteriorate the value of the side, as it is impossible to obliterate the marks. So much, then, for the sole leather.

The skips which are to be converted into what is known as " dressing leather —boot upper and saddlery leather —after having gone through the preliminary lime soaking, as in the case of sole leather, are thrown into a pit of " pure"—water mixed with pigeons' dung —where they are thoroughly cleansed. Having been also reduced by the currier to the substance required, they are taken to tan-pits, where they are soaked in tan liquor for about two or three months, according to circumstances. Thence they are carried to the curriers' shop for the finJgTiiTfjr process. They are first shaved on the flesh side and brought down to a substance—according to the growth of the hide. After being shaved they are scoured and cleansed, and then undergo a singular process, called "stuf fing." A composition of tallow and oil, termed " dubbin," is laid on the sides, which are then hungup until the goodness from the "dubbin" has gone into the leather, and only a white crust is left out side. This is scraped off and Gold to soap boilers. Then they are colored on the flesh side with a composition of lamp black and cod oil, and the color is fixed by a sort of wax made of glue and oil, and the leather is then ready for the shoemaker. Saddlers' leather goes through different processes to be finished. The dubbin is spread on the grain side—not on the flesh side— of the skin, and when the strength of the grease has been transferred to the skin, the refuse is scraped off and the skin is rubbed with a flannel, so as to bring up a polish, and the attractive color which bridle-leather assumes. This color is brought up by means of Sicily shoe mack—a vegetable substance—which is diluted with water and rubbed over the leather. When dry it is rubbed off, and a beautiful polish is easily obtained. Skirt leather for saddle-flaps undergoes a like process. These skins have to be of the best quality, and of an even, smooth, regular substance, and it is very difficult to obtain skins possessing all these good qualifications. Many of the skins and hides are ruined alsobyslovenlyslaughter meu, who cut and hack the skins some times in a way which spoils them for profitable use. The skins having been prepared are carried to the harness-room or saleroom, ready for market. In Mr. Peacock's saleroom we saw five prize certificates received by that firm for exhibits of leather from the Agricultural and Horticultural Society, ' and one silver medal received at the Duke of Edinburgh National Show. In the saleroom we were also shown some splendid hog, wombat, kangaroo, wallaby, and calf skins ; also some imitation hog skins, basils, and other descriptions of leather. Messrs. Peacock's establishment is very complete and extensive. Water is laid on to all parts of it. A 9-herse power steam engine is erected, which has multi farious duties to perform. There is direct action with the bark crusher, and com munication is had also with the stocks and the chaffcutting house, besides which the engine performs other work. About 10 toad of bark per day are ground and bagged in the bark season, and an alteration is being made by which this work will be increased. The " stocks " which we have referred to call for a word or two. When the dress-leather is taken from the lime pits and put in the " pure " it sometimes happens that there are hard parts which will not soften. The skins thus hard are taken to the stocks, which are heavy weights fixed on a beam, and made to rise and fall on to the skins, and thus reduce any hardness or inequality in the leather, and make it more tit to take the grease in the succeeding operations. To show the amount of work which is done at this establishment, we may men tion that 53 men are engaged in the yards, exclusive of the official staff, and 250 hides are turned out per week. The various processes occupy about four or five months, so that a little calculation will soon show that an immense number of skins are being manipulated in their various stages. For instance, taking the whole time of manufacture at five months, and the weekly rate of manufacture at 250 hides, the number of skins in various stages will be at least 5,000. Messrs. Peacock and j Sons import 150 hides per week from Melbourne, where the hides are of a more I uniform substance, as the cattle are not killed so early there as here. The great abundance of sheep, and their conse quent cheapness, has led to mutton being the principal description of animal food used. So large a number of cattle has not been killed here as formerly, and the result has been a considerable importa tion by tanners of hides from the other colonies. The export of bark is linked with tanning operations, and Messrs. Peacock & Sons, in the busy season, employ 15 or 16 men for five or six months in the year. This year they have shipped between 400 and 500 tons of bark to England —an evidence of the increase of this particular industry. Another industry which Messrs. Peacock & Sons are ? develop ing is the gum trade. Wattle gum is collected and exported to England. Three years ago this firm shipped only two or three tons. Thi? year they have sent away 17 tons. The total exports of bark from all South Australia in 1867 was officially declared at £18,224 value ; leather, £11,010; and gum, £2,699. There was also a Bmall export of skins and hides, horn?, bones, and hoof?, and glue. The other tanneries we visited were those of Messrs. J. Dench & Co., Bean Brothers, and Taylor Brothers, at Hind marsh—where a considerable quantity of leather is manufactured, and bark ground and bagged for exportation. Mr. Dench's is next in point of size to Messrs. Pea cock & Sons. The tannery, with which is associated a fellmongery or wool washing and drying establishment, covets a considerable area on the northern bank of the Torrens, and 42 or 43 men were being employed at the time of our visit, but in busy seasons as many as 60 are kept at work. Messrs. Bean Brothers have a very compact tan nery situated on the southern side of the river, near TTinrinia?Ti Connected with this they have a bark-grinding establish ment, out of which they can turn 20 tons per day fit for shipment. * The bark is thrown into a crusher and broken into small lengths, and then it drops through into what is called a refiner, where it is ground much smaller. Then it falls into ?mall tin cups fixed to an endless band, which carries it to the end of the shed ready to be bagged. Adjoining the tan nery there is a boot and shoe upper factory—which we shall subsequently refer to. Messrs. Taylor Brothers have also a small tannery at Hindmarsh, and at the time of our visit there seemed to be an increasing business, judging from the exca vations being made fornew tan-pits which are about being sunk. The pr ocesses of tan ning and currying are of course essentially the same at aU these establishments ; but having fully described the operations as conducted at one, it is of course unneces sary to repeat them. It says much, how ever, for this industry—and for its impor tance to the colony — that our ow? market for sole and serviceable leathers is supplied by our own manufacturers, and that only the fancy sorts of leathers are imported from England. Besides this our tanners are exporters to a certain extent, for the thinner description of sole leather which is not saleable here is shipped to England, where it fetches prices remunerative to our colonial manu facturers. Having thus traced the hides from the time tiiey come into the tanyard as raw material till the time they are tumediSut as the manufactured article, we have a few words to say about the boot and shoe factories and the harness and saddlery establishments,, where the leather is further manipulated and made up into articles of use and ornament.

-? .BOOK-UPPER FACTOBIES: There axe only two boot-upper manu facturing establishments in the colony, and one of these is quite in its infancy. Messrs. Bean Brothers have an establish ment at Hindmarsh, adjoining the tannery carried on by that firm. It is a large iron shed, in which about a dozen men, women, and lads were employed when we visited it. The uppers are made from kid, wal laby, calf, kangaroo, and other descrip tions of leather, all of which are made on the premises—only the patent and fancy leathers being imported. There are three sewing machines worked by women, who 1 certainly do some very elegant and fanci ful work. There are eyeing, blocking, and other machines and appliances with which the various processes in making boot uppers are carried out. All descriptions of work are done, from the commonest blucher boots to the fancy elastic sides. A large amount of work is turned out from this factory, and Messrs. Bean Brothers have appliances to me-femuchlargerdemandthannowexists. We were assured that our visit was made at a time when the existing depression is having a palpable effect on this branch of industry as upon other departments. Messrs. Bean Brothers confine themselves in this factory to the manufacture of boot and shoe uppers. They supply most of the tradesmen, who feel it a great advan tage to purchase from a market in our midst, and at a cheaper rate than is paid for English goods.—Mr. J. J. Green, of Hindley-street, has just started a boot upper workshop, where half-a-dozen people are kept employed, and a fair amount of work is done. It is not necessary to trace the final manufacture of boots and shoes. The process is well known, and where there are so many en gaged in it, it would be invidious to par ticularise one or two establishments to the exclusion of many others. The manufacture of boots and shoes bears an important relation to the employment of other labor in the colony, and is of much importance to South Australia as a manu facturing province. SADDLE AND HARNESS FACTORIES. Under this head comes a branch of in dustry which is highly important. There are only two wholesale factories of sad dlery and harness, viz., those of Messrs. J. A. Holden & Co. and J. Golton & Co., although there are several tradesmen — j Messrs. Scarborough, Coombs, Burnett, Sanderson, and Bonnett—who do more or less in the way of manufacture for retail purposes. The trade in this department is not at present brisk, but is languishing under j the existing depression, and consequently we were-not particularly struck during our visit with the magnitude of the opera tions being carried on. At Messrs. Hol den'B factory every description of heavy harness—spring-cart and dray harness — is made, as also are a large number of saddles, experience, we are told, has proved the English saddles to be inferior to the colonial article, those made in the colony being much more durable and strong than those imported, although English saddles are cheaper, and with many people this is their principal recom mendation. About a dozen persons are employed here, and much of the work shown to us would bear very favorable comparison with the English goods, though scarcely up to the same degree of elegance and finish. This is not, how ever, from the fact that the better description cannot be made here, but simply because there is not much demand for it. Messrs. Colton& Co. 'a. establish ment is very similar in its resources to Messrs. Holden & Co.'s, and helps to supply the whole to the local demand for saddlery and harness ware. There are about eight or ten employes kept constantly at work by this firm. FELLMONGEEY ESTABLISHMENTS. Although not directly connected with leather manufacture, we are induced to refer under this heading to some of the wool-washing establishments which exist amongst us. The principal fellmongers are Messrs. Peacock & Sons, J. Dench and Co., John Taylor, J. T. Sagar, and Taylor Bros., and we have visited the establishments of the three former firms. These f ellmongeries are all on the banks of the Torrens at Hindmarsh, and races and dams are made at each establishment by which the water is diverted and stored for the purposes of washing and cleansing the wooL The processes through which the wool is passed are very simple. The skins when brought in are soaked in clean water. Thence they are hung up in the " sweating "-room. Heat and steam are generated from the closeness of the room and the dampness of the skins, which soon loosens the wooL After being here a day or two they are ' taken to the pulling-shed, where the wool is stripped off the skins either by means of the hand or a scraper. The wool is then picked and sorted and put into large tub? at the river side. It is next put into floating pits or tubs in the water, and stirred about with a long pole until clean, when it is drained and dried, and this completes the operations for hand washed wool. The wool which is to be scoured is put into a large copper and boiled with soap and soda until thoroughly cleansed, when it is dried on large drying floors, and when quite dry is packed, pressed, and sent away for shipment. All the fellmongers, with one exception, use the screw press, by means of which about 2 cwt. or 2k cwt. can be got into a bale. The exception is Messrs. Peacock and Sons, who have a patent rack wool press invented by their foreman, Mr. Burnell, but patented by Messrs. Hor wood & Ellis. The objects sought to be gained by this press are, esonomy of time, easier work for the men, and the filling the bale at one operation—all of which objects it achieves. The bale is fixed at the bottom of a 12-feet column, and the wool is thrown in from the top of the column and stamped down by a man. After this stamping a per pendicular beam, with racks, which work into cog-wheels revolving .Jo wards the centre, descends, '-.j?ad still further compresses the wool. The full power is then pnt into gear, and with four men working at the ropes, the 12-feet column of wool is pressed into the bale, which is about one-fourth that height. A bale of wool may be pressed in about half an hour, and it is very interesting to watch the ample yet effec tual and easy method thus adopted. Neatsfoot eil is manufactured at the fellmongeries from the cow-heels. They are boiled for 24 hours, and the oil which is skimmed from the top is then passed through two or three rennings until fitted for the market. More than sufficient of this oil is made to supply the local demand. The horns, hoofs, and bones are exported to England, there to be converted into knife-handles and other boneware, so that it will be seen to how great an extent these various collateral branches of colonial industry furnish em ployment for the population, and Contri bute to the enrichment of the province. There is; however, still a great waste of wealth in those portions of our flocks and herds not yet properly utilised.

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