THE FACTORIES OF SOUTH AUS TRALIA.
No. 4. — THE TANNERIES (Second Article).
Having completed the inspection of Messrs. Peacock's establishment, the distance of a pleasant walk brought us to Hindmarsh to visit and explore the tanneries and fellmongeries
flanking either bank of the Torrens at that place. By far the largest among these is that carried on by the firm of Messrs. Dench and Co., its buildings and yards extendiug over a space of two acres, being an area equal to that occupied by the Grenfell-street Tannery. The first impression produced upon entering the premises was that a great amount of order and system have been observed in planning the positions of the various buildings, pits, &c, and we were told that this would be still more largely the case when the improvements by which the firm are yearly working out their old buildings are completed. Having described the process of tanning in a previous article, we are left free to go into a more particular notice of Messrs. Dench & Co.'s buildings, yard, &c, than we otherwise could have done. On the right hand on entering tho premises is a currier's shop, from 90 to 100 feet in length and pro portionably broad, affordiug room for 15 cur- riers to work at the same time. Above this, but not the whole length of the building, is a drying- shed. On the opposite side of the
yard are the vats very conveniently arranged, amounting to close upon 80, the lime vats being included. These are of good size and depth, and are capable of steeping a large number of hides. Adjoining the lime vats is the beam house where the hides are scraped after having been duly macerated in the lime, an ample building spacious enough to allow of 10 beams being worked in it. Close at hand is a capacious and substantial bark barn, where from 140 to 150 tons of bark may be stowed, while out side the barn a monster stack of bark stands, the contents of which would not be much short of 300 tons. Close to this and at the end of the bark barn is a mill for grinding the bark. This is driven by two horses, and is capable of disintegrating from l.J to two tons daily, according to weather ; for a hot-wind day invariably aids the process of grinding, while a humid air just as powerfully retards it. In the rear of these buildings — rather at the end of them — is a sole-leather drying shed, 40 feet by 21, and a striking and rolling-shed adjoining it. The striking-beams are of iron, beautifully cast ; the floor on which the leather is rolled is of wood ; and the roller similar to that described in our first article upon tanneries. On the opposite side of the yard is a roomy carpenter's shop, part of which is devoted to a store for heavy goods. Adjoining it is a large cart-shed, well secured from the weather, and next to that comes a ten-stall stable, in which every arrange- ment as to space and fittings has been adopted which could tend to the health and comfort of the horses. Between tho stable and the currying-room, from which we started on entering the yard, is a very cozy little counting-house, a show- room adjoining it, with a store beyond, in which everything that a shoemaker can require from firat to last can be obtained. In the centre of these rooms (the show-room) we were introduced to a compara- tively novel instrument — the tan hydrometer, an instrument formed expressly for ascertaining the strength of the various infusions of bark in the pits. The instrument is of glass, and con- sists of two globe-shaped closed cavities. The lower of them, which is the smaller, is charged with mercury as a sinking agent ; the upper of the two, placed just above the other, is empty, and from it rises an index, commencing at the top with the figure 1, and being numbered downwards up to 50 or more. Of course the stronger the liquor the more buoyantly the instrument will float in it. We saw it immersed in a pint of bark liquor, and when tho index rose so far out of it as to show clearly the line marked 22, indicating, if it be one of Baume's hydrometers, a specific gravity of 1.1692, water being at 1.0000. The tan yard is supplied with water by means of a double-action force-pump, worked by two men, and capable of throwing 100 tons of water per day, and is drained by an 18-inch covered drain leading down into the River Torrens. Adjoining the tanyard is the fellmongering department. Here we observed a fine wool press on one side and a drying yard on the other, covering an area of a quarter of an acre, the greater part of which is laid down in con crete at a sufficiently low angle to allow water to run off readily. At the bottom of the yard is the fellmongers' shop, 42 feet in length by 18 feet, with a loft above
for dry wool. At one end of the ground floor are two sweating sheds, into which the skins are introduced by trap windows. There are no doors to these compartments, they having been found to serve for introducing an undesirable number of rats to the skins. The washing and scouring of sheepskins is carried on at the bottom of the yard by the very margin of the Torrens, where the process might be easily continued so as to wash all the sheepskins in the colony. Altogether the ar- rangements of Messrs. Dench's yard are very superior, and of the extent of business done an idea may be formed from the facts that the firm employ 40 men and tan upon an average 115 hides weekly. Their appliances could dispose of 150 hides per week. There are seven and sometimes eight horses employed in the business. Not far distant from Mr. Dench's establish ment are those of Mr. Bean, who disposes of 25 hides per week ; Mr. Mackay, who manages to finish off from 25 to SO per week ; and another tanyard or fellmongery or two, the owners and locality of which we did not ascer- tain. It was at Hindmarsh that the first tannery in the colony was commenced, taking prece- dence of Messrs. Peacock's by about three months. The factories of South Australia so far as tanning and fellmongering are concerned, we imagine would be as good as any to be found in the Southern Hemisphere. Foundering of the Blenheim.— On Sa- turday the neirs reached Lloyd's of the loss of the fine ship Blenheim, Captain Headley, i* the Bay of Bengal, and the loss by drowning of her commander, the second officer, and eleven of her crew. The Blenheim was one of the fine fleet of Indiamen owned by Meesrs. Duncan Dunbar & Sons, of Limehouse. She was on her return voyage, and left Akyab on the 7th of June for Calcutta. On the 16th she encountered ft fearful gale, which caused the sea to break over her ; and it becoming apparent that she would founder the captain and crew took to the boats, and had scarcely done so when the ship went down. They succeeded in sighting land, and one boat reached Bhore on the island of Rawree; the other, however, was swamped in the surf which swept the beach, and the captain, Becond mate, boatswain, cook, and nine men perished. The Blenlwim was about 700 tone register,— Times, August 16,