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What Can Be Got In America
by [?]

“We have such bright and pleasant times in every country that we conceive a kindliness for its belongings. To send to Paris for our dresses and our shoes and our gloves may not be a mere bit of foppery, but a reminder of the bright, pleasant hours we have spent in that city of boulevards and fountains. Hence it comes, in a way not very blamable, that many people have been so engrossed with what can be got from abroad that they have neglected to inquire what can be found at home: they have supposed, of course, that to get a decent watch they must send to Geneva or to London; that to get thoroughly good carpets they must have the English manufacture; that a really tasteful wall-paper could be found only in Paris; and that flannels and broadcloths could come only from France, Great Britain, or Germany.”

“Well, isn’t it so?” said Miss Featherstone. “I certainly have always thought so; I never heard of American watches, I’m sure.”

“Then,” said I, “I’m sure you can’t have read an article that you should have read on the Waltham watches, written by our friend George W. Curtis, in the ‘Atlantic’ for January of last year. I must refer you to that to learn that we make in America watches superior to those of Switzerland or England, bringing into the service machinery and modes of workmanship unequaled for delicacy and precision; as I said before, you must get the article and read it, and, if some sunny day you could make a trip to Waltham and see the establishment, it would greatly assist your comprehension.”

“Then, as to men’s clothing,” said Bob, “I know to my entire satisfaction that many of the most popular cloths for men’s wear are actually American fabrics baptized with French and English names to make them sell.”

“Which shows,” said I, “the use of a general community movement to employ American goods. It will change the fashion. The demand will create the supply. When the leaders of fashion are inquiring for American instead of French and English fabrics, they will be surprised to find what nice American articles there are. The work of our own hands will no more be forced to skulk into the market under French and English names, and we shall see, what is really true, that an American gentleman need not look beyond his own country for a wardrobe befitting him. I am positive that we need not seek broadcloth or other woolen goods from foreign lands,–that better hats are made in America than in Europe, and better boots and shoes; and I should be glad to send an American gentleman to the World’s Fair dressed from top to toe in American manufactures, with an American watch in his pocket, and see if he would suffer in comparison with the gentlemen of any other country.”

“Then, as to house-furnishing,” began my wife, “American carpets are getting to be every way equal to the English.”

“Yes,” said I, “and, what is more, the Brussels carpets of England are woven on looms invented by an American, and bought of him. Our countryman, Bigelow, went to England to study carpet-weaving in the English looms, supposing that all arts were generously open for the instruction of learners. He was denied the opportunity of studying the machinery and watching the processes by a shortsighted jealousy. He immediately sat down with a yard of carpeting, and, patiently unraveling it thread by thread, combined and calculated till he invented the machinery on which the best carpets of the Old and the New World are woven. No pains which such ingenuity and energy can render effective are spared to make our fabrics equal those of the British market, and we need only to be disabused of the old prejudice, and to keep up with the movement of our own country, and find out our own resources. The fact is, every year improves our fabrics. Our mechanics, our manufacturers, are working with an energy, a zeal, and a skill that carry things forward faster than anybody dreams of; and nobody can predicate the character of American articles in any department now by their character even five years ago.”