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A considerable demand also exists for a 38-inch, 15-yard piece with hard finish, thread count 54 by 50 per square inch and made from 38s and 44s yarn. This is for sale in the passars or bazaars, as pieces of less than 30 yards in the lower grades are not serviceable to batik workers. The 15-yard lengths were formerly packed 300 pieces to the bale, but as the resulting bulk proved too heavy and awkward for easy handling, there has been a tendency to reduce this number to 200. The 4242 and 45 yard pieces come in bales of 100 pieces. Medium-quality Cambrics Used for Clothing.
The principal descriptions in use are as follows:
1. Width, 38 or 40 inches; 15-yard pieces; thread counts, 70 by 70 to 80 by 80 per square inch. This cloth is used largely for clothing, linings, etc., and for this purpose is turned out with a hard finis.. It goes usually into the passar or bazaar trade. It is used more in east and middle than west Java. The small percentage which is made up for batiking is given a soft or medium finish. This cloth is packed 200 pieces to the bale.
2. Width, 40 and 42 inches; 30-yard lengths packed usually 150, sometimes 100 pieces to the bale. These cambrics are used in making batik work.
3. Width, 40 inches; 45-yard pieces. This grade is used all over Java for batiking, but principally in the territory served by Surabaya. The usual packing of 100 pieces to the bale is in many cases being reduced to 75.
4. Width, 40 inches; 4272-yard lengths, packed 75 and 100 pieces to the bale, with a minority but growing preference in favor of the former number. Although the demand for these dimensions is usually considered as being of Soerabaya and Semarang origin, a considerable quantity is finding a good sale in Batavia.
5. Width, 42 inches; 4212-yard lengths, packed 75 or 100 pieces to the bale. This is one of the most popular pieces of all in west Java. Its standing is temporarily affected by the switch to cheap goods, but it is really what users want, and there is no reason to stop considering it as one of the best sellers. It has to compete with the 43-inch, 46-yard supers of about the same construction.
6. Width, 42 inches, length 45 yards; packed 75 pieces to the bale. Used principally in Surabaya, but to a paying extent in Semarang also.
7. Width, 39 inches, length 45 yards. Brought into Semarang for Djokjakarta, Solokarta, and Ambarawa (indigo-dyeing center).
With the exception of the first group, all of these medium-grade : cambrics are for batiking. The counts are chiefly within a range of from 70 to 80. There are probably a greater number of varieties of construction in demand for medium cambrics than for the other classes. One good seller has a thread count of 78 by 76 with 38's in both warp and filling, and another is 68 by 64, yarns 32's and 36's. How extensively sales of this class of goods have suffered through the inability of consumers to pay for its quality has already been noted. Fine-quality Cambrics Affected by Cheaper Lines.
The constructions of this class usually run about 90 square. A favorite is 92 by 86 with 42's and 44's yarns. Another good count is
82 by 94. The range of yarn numbers in this class is from 40 to 50. Representative dimensions are as follows: Width, 40 inches ; length, 15 yards; 42 inches, 1642 yards; 42 inches, 1742 yards; 42 inches, 15 yards. These are packed 200 pieces to the bale. These cloths usually have a medium or so-called "solo" finish. Sales of finequality cambrics have been badly cut into by the cheaper lines. Superior-quality Cambrics Used for Fine Batiks.
This grade is only used for the very fine batiks, known locally as “batik tulis” or written batiks. Dutch factories at present have almost a monopoly of this business. The range of qualities is not nearly so extensive as in the lower grades, and is sufficiently well indicated by the following three constructions: 100 square; 106 by 114; 110 by 116. The second construction is probably the most popular and is usually made from 52's and 60's yarns. Goods 42 inches wide and 1642 yards long are considered most suitable for this trade with 42-inch, 1714-yard pieces in second place. This grade is sometimes referred to as "primissima." It is sold especially in Solokarta, Djokjakarta, Pekalongan, and Bondowoso, where the finest batiks are made. It will be noticed that short lengths are permissible in these extra fine qualities, on account of the greater values in materials and workmanship. Both hard and soft finishes are supplied. The pieces are commonly packed in bales of 100, although in instances of extra hard finish, cases are used to provide better protection.
Previous remarks on the poor adaptability of expensive fabrics to present economic conditions apply with especial force to the superior qualities. During the early part of 1924, quite a fair demand for good batiks materialized from Singapore, Penang, and Bangkok, which resulted in an improved demand for fine and superior cambrics here. As the price of cambrics increased, however, this foreign demand for batiks could not meet the advancing cost of materials, and gradually subsided, leaving the market sluggish in all quarters.
The Chinese own most of the batik establishments in West Java, so that a good deal of the direct trade in cambrics is with them. Cambrics are, of course, devoted to other purposes than batik making, but it is this industry which makes them of such surpassing importance to the textile business of Java. As a matter of note, the following widths may be taken as those best suited in cambrics for shirting purposes in this market: 30-inch, 31-inch, 32-inch, 33-inch, and 36-inch goods in 40-yard lengths; 38 to 39 inch widths in 45-yard pieces; and 40-inch goods in either 30 or 4272 yard lengths. Above 38 inches, however, cambrics are out of the shirting class. Chief Characteristics of the Best Selling Cambrics.
The local trade distinguishes between low, medium, and superior qualities on the basis of the sum of the warp and filling threads in a quarter-inch square. Their classification, which is given as a check on the thread counts per square inch mentioned under each material, is as follows: Low quality (up to 35 threads), medium (36 to 45 threads), fine (46 to 55 threads), superior (56 threads and above).
A recapitulation of typical good sellers in the various classes, together with their chief characteristics, perhaps will simplify matters. It will be noted that the superior quality comes usually in only one construction, the fine in three, and the medium and low in numerous ranges. Details and prices are given in the following tables:
CONSTRUCTION OF BEST-SELLING CAMBRICS
IMPORTERS' QUOTATIONS ON CAMBRICS AS OF JULY, 1924
Faish of Cambrics Varies for Different Localities.
It is not only the quality, construction, and length per piece that are of importance, but the nature of the finish is a very particular matter with the various buyers in different localities. In some parts of Java the same quality of cambric is often wanted in different finishes. For example, in Solokarta superior cambrics are demanded in both hard and soft finishes, whereas Djokjakarta, on the other hand, is more particular about getting a hard finish. Formerly Pekalongan required only a hard finish, but the dealers there are beginning to appreciate that this particular attribute is entirely immaterial to the process of batik making and are becoming more willing to accept a soft finish. For medium cambrics west Java prefers a pure finish, whereas middle Java will always pay a better price for what is known as a Menoewo finish. A medium finish called "solo" is liked on the fine grade of cambrics (not superior) in middle Java, although the solo finish will sell almost anywhere to some extent in the fine qualities. Generally speaking, west Java will take a variety of finishes.
These preferences can perhaps be better stated by reference to Fract localities rather than districts, as follows: Pekalongan, soft and pure finish; Ambarawa, medium; Lasem, soft and pure; Djokjakarta, hard, and soft medium; solo, medium, hard, soft, and pure. Al of these are recognized batik centers, and the output of each has definite characteristics which enable the expert dealer or connoisseur to identifs its origin.
Some of the finishes that enter into the trade here are extremely hard, so hard in fact that they crackle like paper. A difficulty experienced in using such a finish is that the natives tear the cloth instead of cutting it, and the tear is very likely to run at right angles.
Of all these grades the medium probably has the biggest turnover. Nevertheless the fine and superior grades unquestionably make up a big volume of sales normally on account of the demand from the considerable army of fine-batik workers in the Djokja district.
As previously stated, the cambric trade is largely Dutch. It must be remembered, however, that the superior finishing facilities of Dutch establishments cause a considerable quantity of English-woven goods to be diverted there before final shipment. This is especially true of fine goods. However, English manufacturers made considerable progress in improving their finishes during the war, when shipment via the Netherlands was not easy. The practice of sending goods to the Netherlands is not so extensive as formerly, but a part of the imports listed as coming from the Netherlands must still be of English origin.
Despite the tremendously important place which cambrics occupy in the cotton-goods trade of the Dutch East Indies, they are considered a hard line to handle. The requirements of the trade are very exacting and often differ to a surprising extent in neighboring districts. Such details as packing, finish, and chop have to be exactly
according to the native whim, and it requires years of pioneering to earn a permanent place for a chop and years of expensive competition to dislodge it when once established. Å man of ordinary textile experience can not hope to handle this trade until he has spent a long enough apprenticeship to understand the numerous and often minute details of construction and finish upon which each district insists. Many strong textile houses are not now handling cambrics and will make no effort to do so. Shirtings Trade Largely Controlled by English.
Shirtings are used mostly for clothing. Although they are occasionally worked up into batiks, the practice is rather exceptional. The quality range is very wide. This trade is largely in English hands. The extent of their hold on the market is shown by the import statistics for the first 10 months of 1924, when 545,279 pieces of shirtings were imported through the ports of Batavia, Samarang, Surabaya, and Cheribon. Of this amount England supplied 432,909 pieces, the Netherlands 92,602, and Japan 18,147. One Dutch company puts out a good grade of white shirting which is well intrenched in this market. Japan has been unable to maintain the place which the war and postwar years had enabled her to temporarily secure. Its manufacturers are still making a strong bid for the low-quality trade, but progress in this direction is not nearly so marked as in the supers and gray
drills. Principal Constructions of Bleached Shirtings.
Longfold.2- This comes in widths of 30, 31, 32, 33, and 36 inches, although the last named is occasionally an inch short. The favorite width was formerly 33 inches, but this has given way to a preference for narrower goods. Constructions run from as low as 56 square up
2 Pieces folded regularly into yard widths, then a third folded over on either side, lengthwise.
to 85 and 95 square, the latter approaching those of the fine cambrics. The largest turnover, however, is in such thread counts as 68 by 72, 70 by 74, and 74 by 88, with fair business in goods as high as 78 by 86. Higher counts than these are sold mostly to Europeans and rich Chinese and the consumption is not great.
The usual packing for longfold shirtings is in bales of 100 pieces, although it is understood that some importers stipulate bales of 50. Cases are sometimes used for quality goods intended for a select and limited trade, but the exceptions are not of great importance.
Bookfold._Bookfold comes 32 or 33 inches by 20 yards. Constructions in this line are much the same as those of the longfold, save that the very low and very fine qualities are not usually included; bookfold is made up chiefly of medium grades—73 by 71 (71 by 74 in gray) woven from 34s and 40s yarn being a good average count. The standard packing is in units of 200 pieces. Those few importers who bring in longfolds in bales of 50 also have their bookfolds packed in units of 100. Each piece is taped with pink or blue tape. Extra fine qualities are packed in cases.
Stocks of bleached shirtings are not large, and the demand fairly good. The price for a 40-yard piece of longfold shirting varies from 13 to 19 florins, depending upon quality, and importers ask from 7 to 8.50 florins for a 32-inch 20-yard piece in bookfold. White Cotton Drills Being Replaced by Japanese Gray Drills.
White cotton drills are used here mostly for clothing, although the trade in all qualities has lost ground very heavily to the cheap Japanese gray drills. The standard length is 30 yards, but very occasionally reached 40. The widths vary according to quality somewhat as follows: Low quality, 26 inches; medium, 27 inches; superior, 28 and 28%2 inches.
A very popular cloth here is drill with colored yarns, usually blue, woven in after the fashion of ticking. This is widely used for trousering. During 1923 entries of striped drills through the four major ports of Java reached 115,437 pieces, but only 31,067 were brought in during the first 10 months of 1924. Colored Drills an Important Item.
Colored drills also make up a very important trade. A common description is 25 to 26 inches wide and 31 yards long; other established dimensions are the following: 26 inches wide and 30 yards long, 27 to 28 inches by 40 yards; and 27 inches by 30 yards. Blue and black colors predominate, and the popular dimension is 26 inches by 40 yards. This is used for trousering. Blue and black drills in pieces 22 inches wide and 30 to 32 yards long find a good local demand in east Java and Madura. Khaki drill is used by workers on the estates and ordinary laborers, and comes usually in widths of 27 inches and lengths of both 30 and 40 yards. Some green drill is used for hunting suits and slate drill for miscellaneous purposes, but these lines are relatively unimportant. Sales of Drills Largely Depend on Chop.
Drills are sold per piece of 30 yards. Like cambrics, their sale depends to a great extent upon the establishment of a mark or chop.
Longfold thrown over, a third on each end.