Chapter XVI - About Railroads

  • 1. Bills of lading.
  • 2. Express bills.
  • 3. A bill and a draft.
  • 4. Some forms.

Not everything about railroads, that would be a tremendous undertaking, but just enough to show what everyone should know about them as carriers of goods.

The express companies have practically a monopoly of the transportation of the smaller packages of goods requiring quick transit and immediate delivery, but the longer, heavier, and slower freight are in the hands of the railroads, and where it can be done, and time is not a first factor, the steamboat takes the place of the train.


As most of the goods in changing hands are carried by steamboat or railroad, the method of shipment should be understood by everyone who may be called on to use one or the other means of transportation.

The person shipping goods in this way is the "consignor."

The person to whom the goods are shipped is the "consignee".

The goods shipped are described in a paper called a "bill of lading."

A bill of lading is a written contract, or statement of the goods shipped, their condition, and the time of shipment.

Bills of lading and receipt blanks are furnished at the offices of the transportation companies.

Two copies of the bill of lading should be made out. One of these is signed by the consignor and the other by the transportation agent.

The copy signed by the consignor is kept by the agent, and the copy signed by the agent is retained by the consignor, as a voucher for the goods shipped.

This receipt should be mailed to the consignee.

When the consignee gets this bill of lading, it is a voucher to the freight agent, where the goods are to be delivered, as to the ownership.

It is usual for the agent at the point of shipment to send a copy of the bill of lading to the agent where the goods are received. In this way he can compare the consignment with the consignee's bill.


It is not usual to pay freight bills at the point of shipment, that being left till the goods reach their destination.

The agent at the place of delivery makes out an "expense bill," which is an itemized statement of the freight charges, and must be paid by the consignee before delivery.

This done, the consignee must sign a receipt for the goods delivered, and the affair is closed.


Before wholesale houses or manufacturers ship goods, they are either paid for or they have a business understanding with the consignee as to when and how the payment is to be made.

There are occasions, however, when no such arrangement has been made, and a man not well known to the merchant orders goods shipped by freight.

In a case like this, the merchant may ascertain through a commercial agency--the agencies make it their business to keep posted in such matters--the standing of the man giving the order.

Trade has its risks and the merchant, even where the information is not quite assuring, may decide to fill the order and ship it.

As with express companies, goods may be sent as freight, C. O. D.

This is done by means of a bill of lading, to which is attached a draft. The shipper bills the goods to himself at the point to which they were ordered.

To the bill of lading he attaches a draft for the sum involved, but this, instead of being forwarded to the consignee by mail, is sent to him through a bank for collection.

Now before the consignee can get the bill of lading, which authorizes him to receive the goods, he must pay the draft.

The bill, which is in the shipper's name, is then endorsed over to the payer of the draft.

Country merchants and sometimes farmers send produce by freight to be sold on commission in the city.


Delhi, N. Y., Sept. 9, 1910. Invoice of Merchandise shipped by Harry T. Jackson and consigned to Brown, Smith & Co., Newburg, N. Y. to be sold on commission. 120 bbls. Potatoes 70 " green apples 40 Crates tomatoes.

Mark plainly all goods shipped.

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