Mr. Kreismann to Mr. Seward.
Berlin, October 15, 1877. (Received November 3.)
Sir: Recurring to my report No. 277, under date of 18th September last, relating to the “trade” circular of the Department, I will, with your leave, proceed to give a list of articles which from a thorough examination of the subject I am led to believe may be profitably and extensively introduced into Germany; adding some general observations on the manner and mode of shipping their goods, which it is desirable for American exporters to observe.
All articles known in our markets as fine castings, either bronzed or maroon-colored and Japanned, are in decided demand here. So are such notions as mouse and rat traps of all kinds. Of tools, American breast-drills, wrenches of all kinds, saws, especially Diston’s circular saws, find a ready sale, the latter notwithstanding the fact that they are higher in price than the domestic article of the same character. American handsaws, owing to their shape, are not at all used here. Back-saws and panel-saws of American make, although of most excellent quality and fitness, range too high in price, and those of French make control the market. Likewise draw-saws, drawing-knives, chisels, and gouges are too dear for this market, English goods of this description take precedence. Butchers’ saws are in considerable demand; so also try-saws, trowels, plumbs, and levels are found very good and very cheap, and sell largely. American augers and auger-bits are also much liked, and, although rather dearer than the domestic articles, will find a good market. Wooden planes of American make are very cheap in comparison with the home made ones, but to insure their sale their present form must be changed to suit the German notions. Iron planes will also sell well. American plane-irons are too dear as compared with the English ones. American coopers’ tools find no sale, not being in conformity with the forms and shapes in use here.
Wrought iron hinges are pronounced an excellent article, but are too [Page 41]high in price as yet to obtain an extensive sale. Cast iron hinges find no sale at all here; for door-bolts of all kinds and cast-iron stable-fittings of all kinds, as made in America, there is much demand. American hammers of good quality are too dear for the German market. American scythes, if made to conform to the German shape, would also find a favorable market. American shovels of all kinds are in demand, and may be imported with advantage. The same is the case also as regards all kinds of hickory handles, and of chisel, file, auger, and other like handles. Sadirons of all kinds are gradually finding their way into this market. American cut tacks and nails are not yet used here, but a demand is arising for machinery for manufacturing them. American boiler-rivets are too dear; but our padlocks of all kinds, on account of their quality and price, will find a large and ready sale. There is also a fair chance for trade in such articles as box-scrapers, can-openers, gas-plyers, mincing-knives, saw-sets, and the like.
A fine market offers also for American oil-stones and grindstones. All kinds of American agricultural implements have long enjoyed a fine market, but it is to be regretted that recently very many articles of an inferior quality have been sent here which are calculated to exercise a very injurious effect. For cheap American furniture, particularly chamber-sets, an extensive market can be secured by proper efforts. As additional articles which are gradually gaining ground may be mentioned American wind-mills, ventilators, and steam-pumps, gas-fittings of all kinds, hickory wheels, spokes, rims for wheels and wagon-shafts known at home as bent-work; American toys, owing to their ingenuity and durability; portable steam-engines of from two to ten horse power; American wood-working machinery, cheap metal clocks; further, all kinds of housekeeping and kitchen articles, especially when novelties; also, American shoe brushes—while horse-brushes, although well made, are too dear. American curry-combs are generally too light for the German market. For American sewing-machines all demand has ceased. As regards American leather and boots and shoes, I beg to refer to my reports Nos. 276 and 280. Mention may finally also be made of our excellent pressed glasswares as offering a prospect of fair and profitable sale. The American manufactures now best known in Germany are those of the Eastern States, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut; of the Middle States, those of Pennsylvania. A reason for the fact that our Western manufactures are known here in but a slight degree may, perhaps, be found in the habit of Western manufacturers of quoting their goods, in answer of German importers’ questions as to prices, &c., “free on board the cars at the place of their factories”. The German merchant, being in no position to even guess at the cost of transportation from such factories to the seaboard, fails to give attention to such quotations. In all cases it is essential for American manufacturers to give, in answer to questions for prices, the weight as well as bulk of their goods, so that the German importer may be enabled to calculate not only the sea-freight, which is by bulk, but also the duty and railroad freight in this country, which is by weight. Considerable fault is found here with American exporters on account of the want of care which it is alleged they observe in packing their goods. It not unfrequently occurs that a machine is sent with some little screw or wrench missing, which it is impossible to replace except from America, thereby rendering the machine for the time being useless. It is also held here that it would be better that goods sent here should be packed in crates and not in cases, the former mode affording better protection against breakage. [Page 42]All eases of American goods shipped to Europe should be numbered and bear also the initials of the senders, otherwise the receiver to whom goods may be consigned on the same vessel, from more than one sender, may be at a loss to properly distinguish cases bearing the same numbers, and thereby be greatly embarrassed respecting the declarations he is required to make in entering the goods at the customhouses.
Hoping I may have succeeded in the foregoing statement in meeting the intentions of the Department, as expressed in the recent trade-circular, and promising further reports upon the subject as the information gathered may warrant them,
I am, &c.,