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

Hot facts for lumbermen. Our correspondent states facts and arguments worthy of particular attention--$5,000,000 losses to Michigan manufacturers alone--the state of the trade--losses on common lumber--forced sales of 3,000,000 feet daily at the Chicago market--the remedy for existing evils,   pp. 355-356 PDF (684.9 KB)

Page 356

The Wiscossin Lumbermafi.
at present an idea among saw-mill
proprietors that small mill owners
will soon stand aside and surrender
the business into the hands of those
who have larger investments and
more capital
This theory may be safely aban-
doned, or perhaps it would be better
to place it on file with that other
fallacy of mill owners, that little if
any logging will be done while lumber
is selling at cost or less. The small
mills will be the last to reduce their
business, as generally they are not
compelled to observe the same
promptness in meeting obligations
that larger firms must; and when
not kept in operation by parties to
whom they owe for supplies, they
have the sympathy of all who reside
at their place of business, and in
many cases their suspension destroys
the town they have created.
The decrease of supply must com-
mence with large manufacturers.
They have large tracts of pine worth
preserving, and unless they reduce,
no others will, until a loss occurs so
marked that it will be headed by all
The state of this market at this
time, if carefully studied, must result
in a benefit to the trade that supplies
it, and it is no different from the
principal markets of the whole coun-
try. Thecargomarkethere hasbeen
overstocked since June 1st, and only
the higher grades of lumber actually
pay a profit  Sales of Manistee and
Ludington dimension lumber are
made readily at $8.75 to $9.00, but
when all charges are footed up noth-
ing remains as profit. Three millions
of feet are daily sold at forced sale
during the active months of the sea-
son, and in most instances without
profit. The retail business in lumber
in this market is equally demoralized,
and no branch of trade is more urged
than this. Fully two-thirds of the
firms doing a yard trade employ trav-
eling agents to dispose of their stocks;
actually forcing lumber upon coun-
try dealers has created a system of
credit in this department of business
second to no other.
It would seem that lumbermen
have a partial remedy for the present
evil of overstock in their own hands,
as they will actually gain by carrying
logs into next season, and they can-
not hope to replace those now on
hand for a lower cost, as the past
winter was much more favorable than
an average of seasons. I will ven-
ture a prediction that a decrease of
receipts at this port of but one-fifth
the amount now arriving, will result
in an advance of fully $2 per M. feet
per cargo lumber, as the market ac-
tually requires the remainder, I
confess I have no hope of such a
course being pursued, but it is the
only remedy that can be applied *ith
success, as the slightest advance in
price from an increased demand is
likely to result in larger receipts.
When the pine forests of the west
are exhausted, I think lumbermen
may consider it time to act more in
concert, and check the present great
evil of over-manufacture.
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