Smyrna Umbrella Imports
Writing from Smyrna, Consul Ernest L. Harris says that up to within recent years the umbrella and parasol trade of that Turkish region was supplied entirely by France, Austria, Italy and England. He furnishes the following trade particulars:
" The article ranged in price from $2 to and the annual importations amounted to about $8,000. Some 20 years ago, the manufacture of cheap umbrellas was started in Constantinople and Saloniki, and owing to the inferior quality of materials used, as also to the cheapness of native labor, the home-made article was soon able to compete advantageously with foreign goods. Smyrna also soon followed the example of the capital and her rival city, and can now boast of several good umbrella factories.
"With the exception of the plain wooden sticks, which are made locally, all the materials entering into the makeup of an umbrella are imported from Europe. Ninety per cent, of the complete steel frames and of the disconnected ribs for mounting on wooden sticks come from Rhenish provinces, especially from the city of Weyer. The balance is furnished by Italy, England and Belgium. France also supplies the fine, nickeled article, the consumption of which, however, is very limited. Formerly France exported to these parts horn handles for about $2 a dozen, but a firm near Vienna delivers handles for little over $1 a dozen.
"For the cheap, current article, which constitutes the greater part of the demand, ordinary cotton cloth, known under the name of 'Regina' used to be imported from Manchester. Of late years, however, Italy has secured nearly the whole of this trade by under selling English manufacturers. The better grades of cotton cloth are imported from England, Austria, Germany and Italy. The half-silk and half-cotton cloth comes from Austria and Germany. Silk is supplied by Italy and Austria and very little by France. Austria furnishes about 90 per cent, of the sticks with handles.
“The umbrella trade of Smyrna amounts, on an average, to $50,000 per annum, of which $20,000 is supplied by Constantinople and Saloniki, and $10,000 by Europe.”
Source: The Jewelers' Circular - 19th February 1908