80
cent years the literature of the subject has been a record of asserted
successes. Yet, what is a practical ramie-machine? And what has been
accomplished in France, where they are laboring so indefatigably to
produce the successful decorticator ?
Here is a record made by one of the best French machines in actual
field-trials in 1888. With a single machine it required twenty-five days
to decorticate the product of a hectare, or 24 acres. With 20 acres, at
this rate, it would have required two hundred days, and a farmer with
one machine, decorticating three crops produced in a season, on 100
acres, would have to run the machine ten years, of three hundred work-
ing days each, to accomplish it. To state it differently, to decorticate
at this rate the product of a single cutting on 100 acres, in one month
of thirty days, would require eleven machines.
Mr. Hardy, ex-director of the botanical gardens, Algiers, calculates
that a field of ramie over a year old, whose stems had reached a
height of about 6 feet, would produce 48,000 pounds per acre of green
stems and leaves, the leaves representing 20,400 pounds. This gives the
weight of an acre of stripped stalks as 27,600 pounds. The best record
of one of the prize machines at the Paris trials of 1889, working on
green stalks with leaves, was about 132.8 pounds of stalks in eighteen
minutes. Atthis rate it would require almost eleven days to decor-
ticate the 48,000 pounds of stalks on an acre, or a year and eight
months of three hundred working days to the year to clean a single
cutting on 50 acres. Another prize machine decorticated 46 kilograms
of stalks with leaves in eleven and one-half minutes. I was informed
that there were 200 stalks in the bundle. Calling the time ten min-
utes, to avoid the fraction, we have 1,200 stalks an hour, or 12,000 in
aday. It is claimed that Louisiana ramie produces 250,000 stalks per
acre. At the above rate, working with one machine, ten hours a day,
it would require twenty days and eight hours to decorticate the stalks
on a single acre; and on 50 acres, with one machine, for a single cut-
ting of ramie, it woul require about three years and four months. It
should be stated, however, that at an earlier trial, working on 36 kilo-
grams, the deeereention was finished in 2.35 minutes, which, after
making due allowance for chips which were mixed with the ribbons,
would reduce the time given above more than one half. In the
eleven and one-half minutes required to decorticate the 46 kilograms
of green stalks, 15 kilograms, or about 33 pounds, of wet ribbons were
produced, equal to about 1,720 pounds, or 375 pounds of dry ribbons
inaday. This shows that if it does require time to decorticate the
250,000 stalks on an acre of ground, a tremendous yield of fiber is pro-
diced, illustrating the productiveness of the plant in cultivation in
a most forcible manner. See record on page 89.
The recent ramie literature is so voluminous that a tithe of the valu-
able points and suggestions presented could not be considered in the
brief space of these few pages. It is my intention, however, to bring