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called the British Ignition Apparatus Association, which cooperated and exchanged experience, soon produced satisfactory magnetos. There were in 1918 fourteen firms producing magnetos, their output being about 130,000. The adoption of starting and lighting systems by British automobile manufacturers came much later than by American makers, and it was not until 1920 that electric starting and lighting systems became practically universal on British cars. The manufacture of spark plugs followed a course similar to that of magnetos. At the beginning of the war only three British firms were making spark plugs, with an output of about 420 per month, while at the end of 1919 the output was over 300,000 per month.?

France. The German firm of Robert Bosch was organized and active in France before the war and supplied most of the demand. In 1914 the Société Anonyme d'Equipment Electrique des Véhicules was organized to take over this business. The French product is of high quality, but is probably not produced in sufficient quantity to introduce competition with the American product.

Germany. - Germany may be said to be the original home of the magneto, and German instruments were shipped all over the world and recognized as the standard of excellence, but Germany has lost this commanding position through the development of the industry in England, the United States, and elsewhere during the war. The principal makers are all at Stuttgart. There are also a number of smaller German firms producing magnetos, some of which have been imported into the United States.


Complete statistics are not available. Imports of German magnetos and parts were considerable, even after the establishment of American branches of the European makers, amounting in the first six months of 1914 to $393,656, or at the rate of about $800,000 per annum.


The three general divisions of electrical equipment for internal combustion engines are ignition systems, electrical starting and lighting systems, and spark plugs. The manufacture of starting and lighting equipment is along lines similar to that of electric power apparatus, although the designs are somewhat specialized, and the equipment is mainly produced by special firms. This class of equipment was in wide use in this country before it was adopted to any extent in Europe, and the industry is at present in a strong position, domestic manufacturers not anticipating foreign competition. It does not appear that any goods of this class have been imported.

The manufacture of magnetos in the United States was developed principally under the control of German interests, and until the beginning of the war was carried on largely as a branch of the German industry. It requires more skilled labor and more handwork than the production of other types of equipment. Under American management the quality of the product has been maintained or improved upon, and it is likely that any foreign competition which may develop

? British Board of Trade Journal, Dec. 5, 1918.

in the future will be upon a price basis. At the present time importation of the former German machines is controlled by patents, but such protection will soon be weakened by their expiration, and in this connection it is worthy of note that not only the competing article but its trade name would be similar. Figures obtained showing the cost of production of identical magnetos made by a German parent concern and by their affiliated factory in the United States during the years 1913 to 1915 indicate that the combined cost of labor and material for the American plant was about 60 per cent higher than the total cost, including overhead, for the German product. Cost statements of American makers at the present time (1921) show that direct labor amounts to somewhat less than 20 per cent of the total cost of production. Wages prevailing at domestic magneto works are at present slightly more than twice those paid in 1913, and have receded somewhat from the high point reached in 1920. While some of the manufacturers report that they have no fear of foreign competition in the domestic market, others, especially those producing the former German types, believe that active efforts will be made by the German manufacturers to regain a share of their former trade in this country.

The British industry is of more recent origin than the American, and in 1918 the British Committee on Commercial Policy reported that the British magneto, though of equal quality, was not able to compete with the American in price.

Spark plugs have been imported to some extent in the past, and at present there are a few coming from England. It would seem probable that any future competition on the basis of price will be from Germany.

The sale of equipment of this class depends chiefly upon its adoption by manufacturers of internal-combustion engines, and the statement is made by importers that no such American manufacturer is now using foreign magnetos or other electrical equipment as a part of his regular specifications. While this statement has not been definitely verified, it is known that such use, if any, is very limited. .


Customs appraisers state that spark plugs are at present imported under three rates of duty, as parts of automobiles, motor cycles, and airplanes, and it is a matter of some difficulty to determine for which of these uses the article is intended. Magnetos were formerly largely, and now are to some extent, imported in parts, which might be assembled in this country, and if they were to be given a separate classification, it would be essential to specify parts as well as the finished articles.

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GENERAL INFORMATION. Act of 1913, paragraph 114. *; wire composed of iron, steel, or other metal, except gold or silver, covered with cotton, silk, or other material;

telegraph, telephone and other wires and cables composed of metal and rubber, or of metal, rubber, and other materials;

all other wire not specially provided for in this section and articles manufactured wholly or in chief value of any wire or wires provided for in this section; all the foregoing 15 per centum ad valorem.

DESCRIPTION. Cables are of two general classes, those for conducting power currents and those for signaling currents. They are bare or insulated according to the service for which they are used. For

For power cables, the insulation most commonly used is paper saturated with petroleum compounds; rubber and rubber compounds are also widely used, especially for interior work, and other materials such as asbestos, varnished cambric, and various compounds, are employed to a considerable extent.

Power cables are intended for carrying currents of relatively high voltage and intensity for supplying electric power and light, whereas telephone and telegraph cables are designed for use only with currents of little strength. Insulated power cables when installed underground are commonly placed in earthenware ducts or, sometimes, in iron or fiber tubes. They are insulated by a covering which ordinarily consists of layers of paper saturated with petroleum compounds and protected from the action of water by a lead sheath. Another widely used variety of power cable is insulated with varnished cambric saturated with nondrying linseed oil and asphaltic compounds.

A somewhat more extended discussion of this subject will be found in the Tariff Information Survey "Insulated Wires and Cables," printed in the pamphlet on Wire (C-8).


This type, when protected by a lead sheath, has the advantage of greater resistance to water than the paper-insulated cables and is therefore used where the requirements as to moisture, heat, and flexibility are more exacting. It is also used in interior work, in which case it is ordinarily provided with a braid covering instead of a lead sheath. Sometimes it is protected by a covering of jute and steel tape and laid directly in the ground. Rubber-covered power cables are used extensively for small wires and cables in buildings and for outside installations exposed to water, and in submarine work. Telephone cables are ordinarily insulated with dry paper and protected by a lead sheath. The chief problem here is not so much to obtain the requisite insulation but rather to twist the wires in reverse layers so as to prevent setting up of induced currents that will interfere with the clear transmission of speech. Submarine telegraph cables are another highly specialized class of cable; these cables are ordinarily insulated with gutta-percha and protected from mechanical injury by an armor of stranded wire.

In addition to the above types there are many varieties of flexible cords such as lamp cord, heater cord, and telephone cord—the manufacture of which forms an important branch of the industry. Lamp cord is rubber covered, with an outer braid of cotton or silk. Heater cord has an additional cover of asbestos for protection from heat. For low tension overhead lines, a covering of cotton braid saturated with tarry or asphaltic compounds is often used, as it gives an appearance of security although it affords little real protection against dangerous voltages. Among other types of insulated wire and cable, may be mentioned the flexible armored cable used in great quantities for interior wiring and which has a rubber covering wrapped with cotton braid and armored with spiral steel tape to obviate the use of conduit when it is run through the walls of s building; oil resisting armored cable for automobile wiring; cotton and silk covered magnet wire having no compound in its covering and used for winding coils; and enameled wire which is insulated with a thin coat of enamel and is used for winding coils (it occupies less space than other forms of insulated wire).


The production of insulated wires and cables in the United States as reported by the Federal Census amounted to $125,880,847 in 1919, and $69,505,573 in 1914. Manufacturers' estimates, probably based on a somewhat different classification, valued the production in 1920 at $128,000,000.

Raw materials.-Copper is the material most used in all classes of conductors although aluminum is of increasing importance, especially for long distance transmission lines. Copper prices average a trifle lower in this country than abroad while aluminum is generally more costly in the United States. The raw material cost of the insulating materials is ordinarily a less important item than that of the copper wire, and American manufacturers are about on an equal footing with those in European countries in obtaining supplies of cotton, cambric, pitch, etc., but ordinarily they must pay a little more for crude rubber. In submarine telegraph cable, a rather small branch of the industry, gutta percha is used. Lead sheathing will also be more costly in this country than abroad under normal conditions.

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Methods of production.—Manufacturers of insulated cable purchase wire from the drawers and apply the insulation. This is almost wholly a machine process carried on in specially designed machines. Considerable experience is, however, required to produce satisfactory cables. The strands of an ordinary power cable are braided in machines similar to those used in making rope. For paper-covered cable, the paper is braided on and the cable is then coiled and dried in a vacuum tank into which the petrolatum compound is later admitted. Finally the cable is passed through a cylinder containing lead heated to a plastic condition (just below the melting point) and out through a hole slightly larger than the cable. As the cable passes out enough lead is extruded (by means of a plunger in the cylinder) to form a sheath. Varnished cambric cable is made by a similar process except that the compound is applied to the cambric as it is being wound onto the copper. For rubber covered cable, the rubber compound is mixed and kneaded by steel rolls and then either molded into strips and braided on like paper or molded onto the cable as it passes between grooved wheels or rolls. The cable is then coiled into tanks in which the rubber is vulcanized. Wire is insulated by the same process as that used for cable.

Organization.—Cable is made mainly in the large electrical establishments although there are a number of smaller firms in the business most of which specialize upon only a few lines. For the production of a full line of cable a considerable investment is required in both machinery and stock. In 1914, 64 establishments, whose chief products were electrical machinery and supplies, furnished the bulk of the production. The wire departments of 13 rolling mills supplied a total of 22.6 per cent of the output of all the insulated wire and cables in that year.

Exports.--The exports of insulated wire and cable in 1921 amounted to $8,573,820, which was about four times the annual average just before the war.

FOREIGN PRODUCTION. Great Britain is the foremost foreign producer of insulated wire and cable and easily the largest exporter. The quality of British cables

. is high and well advertised throughout the world. Germany is also a large producer, but German cable is said to be cheap in price and inferior in quality. Japan is well supplied with copper and is rapidly increasing her production, but Japanese cables have not yet established a reputation.

IMPORTS, Separate figures as to imports are not available. It is well known, however, that there is little importation although there have been some recent efforts to introduce foreign, particularly Japanese, cables in the American market.


Comparisons between domestic and foreign prices involve a careful study of the relative qualities of a variety of grades since the construction of cables designed even for similar purposes will differ somewhat according to the country in which they are made. American prices have declined by almost one-half within the last 12 months (July, 1921).

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