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Northrop, E. B.; Chittenden, H. A., Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
(August, 1874)

A prospective view of the trade. The condition of the trade in the immediate future--overproduction--retrospective view--fair products for the fall trade,   pp. 494-497 PDF (1.5 MB)


Page 496


9Te Wicosiun Lumberman.
were crowded to their utmost capa-
city to supply the required means of
transportation.
We were going too fast and the
reaction came, just as it has through
all stages of the world's history, and
doubtless, will in the ages to come.
The development of the country
throughout these times created au
enormous demand for building ma-
terial, and its timber resources were
opened up and the lumber trade de-
veloped in greater proportion than
our requirements justified. The re-
sult is, we have too many mills. We
make. too much lumber. It means
low prices to the consumer, to be
sure. It also means demoralization,
financially, to the producer. Aside
from being objectionable on the
score of being an unproductive voca-
tion, such a course is both damaging
and reprehensible as a reckless waste
;          of one ef nature's most beneficient
!s ! ~~gif ts.
5 The present state of things, there-
fore, cannot be attributed to local
causes beyond the control of the in-
terested operators, as other depres-
,  ions may have been, but to the fact
that the business has been forced to
a height of over production at which
it must stop for recuperation, or
sound the financial death knell to
many of its manipulators. It is said
that the small manufacturers, with
their railroad mills, "Guerrillas" as
they are sometimes termed, must be
starved out by competition, must be
made to give way before the aggre-
gated capital of the mammoth esta-
blishments upon the great logging
l          streams. This idea is a falacy,
shown in the fact that the trade is
undergoing a decided change in the
!1odus operandi by which it is con*
WIT tliiducted. Our Saginaw 'correspon-
dent, in another column, forcibly
presents this subject from a Saginaw%
l Ii~li     point of view, but which is applicable
as well to other localities. It is these
same small oFerators who will be Ias
to yield to the pressure of financial
or other trade disturbing circumatan.
.
ces. In support of this assertion
may be adduced the circumstances
surrounding, and under which many
of these parties are doing business.
It may be with capital borrowed from
friends, neighbors, or some other
available source, and relying upon
prosperous times to enable its repay-
ment. In this way the entire com-
munity surrounding the enterprise
becomes to a considerable extent
personally identified with it. Upon
the success of the business depends
the ability to pay old debts, or new
ones contracted for current expenses.
The creditors, then, are as deeply in-
terested in it as the principal opera-
tor, and will more lenient than usua.
in cases of emergency. In case of
failure, they are assured of almost
nothing, whereas, if the struggling
concern is enabled to tide over the
-hard times" by their aid, there may
be hopes of ultimately recovering the
amount of their investments, when
business revives. It is different
with the large operators, who have
such enormous capital invested in
mammoth saw mills and immense
tracts of pine lands. When, after a
series of disastrous seasons in which
millions of lumber are put upon the
market by them at an actual loss,
they are driven to the wall by finan-
cial embarasments, they must pay or
stop. There is only the one alterna-
tive. Thus, if the present state of
) things continues, if more lumber is
) put upon the market than the con-
- sumer will take at paying prices, the
- revulsion must come in the natural
order of things. And in such an
event the large operators will be the
ifirst to weaken. It will not do, eith-
3er, to harbor a general impression
that by the coming winter, each lum-
berman will profit by the bitter expe-
rrience of the past two seasons and
vstay out of the woods. Experience
proves that each one simply argues
that his neighbor win heed the lesson
Iwhile he will reap a profit, by getting
in a full stock to be sold at high pri-
- ces which he is certain will result
496


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