RT Tanner & Co Ltd


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The history of the firm R.T Tanner& Co

Tanner trade circular September 1907

The situation in the wood pulp trade is at present in a very unsettled and critical condition. No one seems to know exactly what is going to happen, but, in the meantime, the information we receive is extremely disquieting, and prices are steadily rising. It appears that in Scandinavia both sulphite and sulphate is being sold for forward delivery at from five shillings to ten shillings per ton extra to the usual market price. If this kind of thing goes on, it will mean disaster to many paper makers, unless they are strong enough to combine and erect their own pulp mills, and even this is a more or less precarious undertaking. Several reasons can be traced for this advance in the price of wood pulp, the more important ones being summarised below

  • The shortage in Canada on account of drought, difficulty of getting wood, and fires which have occurred at three large large mills, in the past, Canada has been enabled to keep pace with the demands of her own country, as well as from the States, and in addition has exported a considerable amount to Europe
  • The increased demand from the States on European resources, in consequence of the shortage in Canada
  • Supply unequal to demand. The annual production of paper the world over, amounts to some six million tons, of which Europe contributes one half, and its consumption increases at the rate of 8 per cent, per annum
  • Labour troubles in Norway and Sweden, the high prices being paid for pulp having caused the workmen to demand a higher rate of wages. in Norway alone there are about 22,000 men employed in connection with the industry, and at present about 10,000 of that number are actually out on strike

Such, then, are a few of the main reasons for the advance in the price of pulp, and it can be well understood that some of the pulp makers consider that they have the paper makers in their hands. The pulp makers are being strongly advised to go slowly, and not allow the present position to turn their heads. If they decide to go on squeezing the paper-makers, they will either kill the hen that lays the golden eggs, or they will cause more capital to be brought into play for building many other mills. Mr. S. Chas. Phillips of The Paper-Maker, who has been on a visit to Norway and Sweden, reports that several of the makers have undertaken not to raise the price to a prohibitive figure, but the temptation to do so, at the present juncture, must be very great, and human nature generally comes to the fore when it is a question of making money.

It will be gathered from the above remarks that an advance in the price of paper is imminent, and it is feared that it will effect papers of almost every grade. We can only hope that some amicable arrangement will be arrived at between the pulp makers and the paper makers, but we have given the facts of the case so that our friends may have an opportunity of seeing the position of affairs for themselves.

This website is subject to copyright Alistair Tanner 2006