« AnteriorContinuar »
in weight from the time the materials are weighed in making up the mixtures for manufacture until they are converted into yarn or cloth. When these raw materials, say for example a batch consisting of new wool, noils, card waste, cotton and Capper “ recovered wool,” are mixed together and converted into yarn or cloth, neither the manufacturer nor any of his employees nor anyone else can determine what each kind of stock will shrink in carding, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing, and unless the respective shrinkages are known it is impossible to determine what the proportions of the various materials will be in the yarn or cloth.
The conditions affecting the shrinkage of different raw materials are endless in their variety and we could fill a large volume with facts relating to them such as the variable condition of new wool, of noils, wool wastes, recovered wool, yarn, and fabrics. Statements of such technical details would, however, serve to obscure the essential fact, already stated, that while the manufacturer of wool yarn and cloth knows the percentages by weight of the raw materials making up the batches put into the mill, this information does not enable him to determine what percentages of the various materials make up the weight of either the yarn or the cloth that comes out of the mill. The manufacturer knows the proportions when a mixture of different materials goes into the process of wool manufacturing, but he does not know and can not find out what the percentages of those materials are in the yarn or cloth made from that mixture.
But even if the inspection of manufacturing processes at the 1,500 mills scattered over 47 States were practicable, the great expense of such inspection, the waste of labor in the unproductive occupation, and the resulting increase in the cost of the finished goods would be fatal objections to this method of enforcing the Capper bill.
If any Member of either branch of Congress or the President thinks that the Capper bill can be enforced by an inspection of manufacturing processes, we ask him, not to apply to the Committee on Interstate Commerce for information, that Committee has made neither a report nor an investigation of this question, but to call on practical wool manufacturers and then, if still in doubt, to make a personal inspection of wool manufacturing processes in order to learn the truth.
CONGRESS ASKED TO MAKE A TEST FOR THE CAPPER BILL.
Furthermore, in order to put this question of the possibility of enforcing the Capper bill to a sure test, we have manufactured in one of our mills a number of yarns and fabrics made of Capper “virgin wool” and of mixtures of Capper“ virgin wool" and Capper “reworked wool” in various proportions. The respective percentages of the materials in the raw stock are known only to the one who made these yarns and fabrics. We will deliver these fabrics to any committee of either the House of Representatives or the Senate with a sworn statement under seal as to the percentages of different materials in the raw stock, for the purpose of having the fabrics analyzed by the bureaus that are charged with that duty under the Capper bill, the sworn statement of the manufacturer and the reports of the analyses from the bureaus to be made public as soon as the committee receives the bureaus' reports. Such a test made under such conditions under the supervision of a committee of Congress would silence even those who with a complete disregard of the facts have promoted the campaign for Grosvenor-Capper bills for the past 22 years.
WHAT IS BACK OF THE CAPPER BILL ?
In order to discover what influences and motives are back of the Capper bill, it is necessary to go back about 22 years and trace the development of the uninterrupted series of almost identical bills for labeling wool goods that have been introduced during that period, of which the Grosvenor bill of 1901 was the first, and the Capper bill the latest, but in all probability not the last, unless the exposure of their real character is now made so complete as to put an end to them.
The idea of securing a law compelling the marking of wool goods to show the proportions of the different materials of which they are made originated in the minds of the woolgrowers of the far West, the object being to increase the price obtained for their wool by designating all new wool as “pure wool," and all other kinds of wool as shoddy,” regardless of their intrinsic values, creat
ing in this way a prejudice among purchasers of wool clothing in favor of the wool the growers had for sale and against the wool that was arbitrarily classed as “ shoddy."
The woolgrowers' use of these terms "pure wool" and "shoddy” was grotesque in its absurdity, for the wool they called “shoddy ” included the cleanest and purest of wool fibers, such as soft worsted waste and wool recovered from yarn, while the "
came from the backs of animals that frequently get into a diseased condition such as was described as follows by the American Sheep Breeder, the editor of which has been one of the many voluble advocates of the Grosvenor-Capper wool-goods labeling bills:
“Such an ewe produces myriads of infective germs. Her discharges contaminate the floors of the sheep pens and yards. Her wool carries the germs. If she recovers, and that is rare, she may still have a dangerous abnormal discharge from her vagina ; or her udder may become diseased, and that disease also tends to prove contagious. Let the young shepherd dread such an ewe as one would a person visibly afflicted with smallpox. She is as certain to spread the disease in the flock as would the smallpox patient in the home.”
Reason and common sense among the woolgrowers, however, were obscured by the greed for higher prices for their products, and at the hearing on the Grosvenor bill on May 21, 1902, before the Committee on Ways and Means, the origin and purpose of the bill were stated very frankly as follows by Hon. W. M. Springer, representative of the National Live Stock Association :
The advocates of this bill are principally engaged in woolgrowing. At the meeting of the National Live Stock Association at Salt Lake City on January 15, 1901, a committee was appointed to draft a bill upon this subject and submit it to the next association which met in Chicago in December last.”
Mr. Springer then presented resolutions in favor of the Grosvenor bill passed by the woolgrowers' associations of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Ohio, and South Dakota, also by livestock associations of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, including the Cattle and Horse Growers' Associations of Colorado.
Congressman Hopkins, a member of the committee, became curious and asked this question :
“ How are the cattle and horse dealers interested in wool?”
Mr. Springer made this significant reply, which now seems prophetic in the light of subsequent events leading to the development of the all-powerful farm bloc of 1921 :
“ It is a sort of 'sympathetic strike' with their fellows in the same association who are engaged in raising wool. I have called attention to these resolutions for the purpose of showing the unanimity which prevails among all the livestock interests of the United States in favor of this bill."
At one point of his statement Mr. Springer made this frank admission :
“ It is because of the large competition that shoddy brings to the growers of pure wool that the sheep raisers of the country are interested in the passage of this bill."
At the same hearing Senator Warren, of Wyoming, appeared in his capacity of president of the National Wool Growers' Association to put in a plea for the Grosvenor bill. This was in the heyday of old Schedule K, when that famous tariff on wool and wool goods stood like a rock protected by the combine of woolgrowers of the far West and worsted spinners of the East. President-Senator Warren was very careful not to say anything that might wound the sensibilities of his Schedule K allies, the worsted spinners. He began with the assurance that “ sheep and woolgrowers do not wish to embarrass their friends, the woolen (worsted) manufactures.” But the pressure from the West was so strong that he felt “glad and proud to speak for the woolgrowers." “I think,” President Senator Warren told the committee, “ that the woolgrowers now take more freedom in expressing their interest since Congress has deemed it wise to protect, from time to time, products of the cow."
Thus the Grosvenor bill of 1901-2, the prototype of the Capper bill of 1922–23, was the offspring of sordid greed for higher prices for wool. It was conceived in ignorance and with deliberate disregard of the facts about wool fibers that made its provisions not only everlastingly unworkable, but a means by which the consumers of wool clothing would surely be misled and defrauded.
By concealing the facts and representing the Grosvenor bill as certain to protect the consumers against misrepresentation and fraud, a widespread senti. ment in favor of a “pure wool” bill was rapidly aroused among the very large number who are not informed regarding wool fibers, wool fabrics, and wool manufacturing processes.
General Grosvenor was not allowed to monopolize for long the sponsoring of wool goods labeling bills, Frank B. Willis, at that time a member of the Ohio Legislature, coming forward as a rival in 1904 with a bill which provided that all noils and waste were Willis “ shoddy,” but which perinitted a variation of 15 per cent between the actual percentage and that marked on the goods. The movement spread to other States, and one bill introduced in the Illinois senate covering all articles of clothing, including handkerchiefs, towels, and bed linen composed of wool, cotton, or other textile fiber.
In December, 1911, Representative Victor Murdock, of Kansas, announced to the country that he intended to try his hand at wool goods labeling legislation, and, although immediately informed that such a measure as he proposed would be unworkable, introduced the Murdock “pure textile” bill (H. R. 25685) in the House of Representatives on July 10, 1912. About two weeks later, Samuel S. Dale wrote Mr. Murdock, calling attention again to the unworkable provisions of the measure, and asking him to submit the vital question of its workability to a test that would be absolutely conclusive, following being the Dale proposal:
" I suggest that you obtain a collection of samples of cloth made of mixtures of sheep's wool, mohair, camel hair, alpaca, silk noils, mungo, shoddy, and extract, submit them, with a copy of your bill, to the Bureau of Chemistry, and request a report on the proportions of these materials in each sample. I suggest that your select for the test as many samples as possible whose composition is known to you personally in advance of the tests. You can obtain samples and such information from woolen and worsted manufacturers. If you find it impracticable to have your bill tested in this manner by the Bureau of Chemistry of the Department of Agriculture, you can have the work done by chemists of high standing not connected with the Government.
“I make this suggestion because the results of such a test would be conclusive as regards the wisdom of the measure you have introduced in the House of Representatives. If it should prove that chemists can determine whether wool goods are tagged in accordance with your bill, then you would be supplied with a convincing argument in favor of its enactment into law. If, however, the test should, as I am confident it will, prove that your bill is absurdly impossible of administration, much valuable time otherwise wasted in fruitless discussion would be saved, and you could proceed at once to the framing of a practicable bill that would provide needed protection to the consumers against being deceived in the purchase of textiles by reason either of their own ignorance or the acts of the sellers. The fairness and reasonableness of my suggestion seem to me beyond question and I hope for a favorable response from you.”
Mr. Murdock did not consent to a test of his “ pure textile” bill, which was kept in the public view for a few years and then disappeared. One of the features of the agitation at that time was the effort made by the Laundrymen's National Association, La Salle, Ill., to divert attention from the damage to textiles in the process of laundering, by sending to laundries throughout the country copies of a circular urging the passage of the Murdock “pure textile " bill, a copy of this circular to be inserted in every bundle of clean clothes returned by the laundry to a customer.
The alluring appeal to the public in the Grosvenor, Willis, and Murdock bills had not been overlooked by statesmen interested in other fibers than wool and ambitious to gain the favor of their constituents. In 1914, Congressman Ran. dall Walker, of Georgia, introduced a bill (H. R. 17386) requiring the labeling of cotton goods to show the percentages of sea-island, Egyptian, and mainland” American cotton. If sea-island cotton had not disappeared, doubtless the Walker “sea-island” cotton bill would now claim, with the Capper bill, a share of public attention. This much, however, can be said for the Walker bill. It was not a whit more absurd than the Capper bill, and, moreover, was open and aboveboard, its purpose being unmistakable, with no attempt at concealment. Mr. Walker wanted to do something, not for wool nor for Buncombe County, but for the eleventh congressional district of Georgia, in which the sea islands are included.
It was not long before Mr. Murdock, as a promoter of wool goods labeling bills, had an exceedingly active rival in the person of Congressman Lindquist, a manufacturer of clothing at Greeneville and Muskegon, Mich., who introduced one of the many pure textile” bills, and without paying any attention to proofs that his bill was unworkable, posed as a statesman resolved to protect the consumers of wool goods and played the part of a manufacturer of wool clothing, determined that fabrics, not only of wool, but of cotton, silk, and linen, shall be marked to show the percentages of new and reclaimed fibers. The sponsor for the Lindquist bill was thus able, as a statesman and a business man, to make with double force the same fallacious appeal to the uninformed public that had come from the promoters of the Grosvenor, Willis, and Murdock bills. Like his predecessors, Mr. Lindquist, by dwelling on what he told the public was “the consumer's right to know what wool clothing was made of, and by ignoring the fact that it not only was impossible for anyone to “know or find out what wool goods are made of, but that such information if obtainable would mislead instead of guiding the purchaser, gained a large following in all parts of the country.
About this time the support of wool goods labeling legislation was greatly strenghthened by a new influence that resulted from a plan originating with George D. Briggs, an advertising man on a New York daily. It occurred to Mr. Briggs that vast possibilities for money making lay in connecting the agitation for “pure textile" legislation with the advertising department of some mill that would placard its products before the public as being made without the admixture of what he called “shoddy." Up to this time the supporters of the labeling bills had used the words pure wool” in referring to new wool. Mr. Briggs succeeded in persuading the firm of Strong. Hewat & Co. to adopt his idea, and an intense and uninterrupted advertising campaign has been carried on by that firm with the expression virgin wool” substituted for “pure wool."'. The words “ virgin wool," although not a subject of copyright when used alone, have been made the leading part of the copyrighted trade-mark of Strong, Hewat & Co. In this firm's advertisements, as well as in the many public addresses by its officers in all part of the country, the campaign for a wool goods labeling bill has been vigorously and continuously promoted. The appeal for this legislation has been persistently combined with the advertising of Strong, Hewat & Co.'s products by appealing for a “truth in fabric law” that would require goods made of new wool to be stamped with the words “ virgin wool."
This advertising campaign was well under way when Strong, Hewat & Co.'s forces boldly formed an alliance with the National Wool and Sheep Bureau, of Chicago, an organization representing the woolgrowers and which has been the leader in the campaign for Grosvenor-Capper legislation. Here is a list of the interlocking officials of Strong, Hewat & Co. and the National Sheep and Wool Bureau :
Alexander Walker, vice president of Strong, Hewat & Co., and president of the bureau ; F. B. Van Saun, Chicago manager of Strong, Hewat & Co. and treasurer of the bureau ; George D. Briggs, advertising manager of Strong, Hewat & Co., and director of the bureau.
“A SUCCESSFUL SELLING IDEA."
During the development of this campaign by the combined forces of the National Sheep and Wool Bureau and Strong, Hewat & Co., the Capper bill was introduced providing for the labeling of wool goods to show the respective percentages of what was to be legally defined as virgin wool
shoddy." On February 5, 1921, George D. Briggs, advertising manager of Strong, Hewat & Co., was reported in the Daily News Record as making the following statement:
“I think it will be generally agreed that this virgin wool campaign, as sponsored by Strong, Hewat & Co., for the advancement of truth in fabrics, has been a successful selling idea."
The combination of forces that made the “ virgin wool” campaign of the Strong, Hewat & Co. a “ successful selling idea ” is in all probability without a par lel. The organ'zed movement of the politically powerful woolgrowers to secure legislation that would artificially increase the prices of wool. The deception of the consumers, who, unacquainted with the truth about wool manufacturing processes which made the wool labeling bills unworkable and a fraud on the public, have accepted the misleading statements of woolgrowers seeking higher prices for their wool, and of a wool manufacturing firm seeking higher prices for their goods. The framing and introduction in the House and Senate of a bill that proposes to incorporate in the law of the United States the essential part of a private trade-mark of the wool manufacturing firm promoting the propaganda. Such is the combination of forces that has made the “ virgin wool ” campaign of Strong, Hewat & Co. “a suc(2) An attempt ta enforce the act by establishing a vast system of inspec: tion of manufacturing processes in the 1,500 woolen and worsted mills making wool goods in the United States, the result being a great waste of money and labor with the same result, failure to determine the percentages of the different ingredients for the purpose of enforcing the act.
cessful selling idea" and contributed so much to bringing before the United States Senate the Capper bill that proposes to incorporate in the law of the United States the essential part of the trade-mark of this “successful selling idea ” and put the Government back of the scheme of the woolgrowers to increase the price of their wool by the deceit and spoliation of the consumers already burdened by oppressive laws relating to wool.
The remaining factor in the spread of the agitation for a wool goods labeling bill is the natural desire on the part of the public to be protected against misrepresentation and fraud in the sale of goods. The people not only in this country, but in all countries, are constantly exposed to deception, intentional or unintentional, regarding the quality, condition, origin, and value not only of wool clothing, but of all other articles spread on the counters of retail stores. Before closing this statement we will point out to you the practical and efficient means for remedying or ameliorating these conditions by legislation. At this point in our argument we wish merely to call attention to this natural desire among consumers for protection, which selfish interests have taken advantage of in order to promote the agitation for wool goods labeling legislation of the unworkable and deceptive Grosvenor-Capper type.
EFFECTS OF THE CAPPER BILL.
From the facts so far stated it is evident that the practical effects of the Capper bill if made a law will be:
(1) A complete failure to enforce the act by the only means specifically pro vided, the analysis and inspection of mixed wool goods.
(3) The Capper bill being unenforceable, arbitrary rules will necessarily be made by the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Agriculture, and Secretary of Commerce, these rules as interpreted by the courts taking the place of the Capper bill as written, the executve officers and the courts thus making the law and adding the legislative function to their constitutional duties of interpreting and executing the law.
(4) The marking of wool goods with labels bearing legends that deceive and mislead the buyers regarding the value of cloth and clothing offered for sale, leading them to disregard the only sure means of forming a correct judgment regarding wool goods, namely, the handle and appearance of the goods, and by a reliance on the deceptive Capper labels, causing them to purchase inferior fabrics and clothing in preference to the better goods.
(5) It being impossible to discover by examination or analysis the percentages of “virgin wool ” and “recovered wool” in yarns and fabrics, foreign cloth of inferior material, construction and workmanship could be marked
virgin wool” and imported without the possibility of detecting the fraud, the result being the destruction of the American industry exposed to such ruinous competition.
(6) An increase in the selling price of wool goods and wool clothing because of the heavy expenses that will result from the attempt to enforce the Capper bill.
(7) A loss on the stocks of wool yarn, cloth, and clothing that are partly or wholly manufactured at the time the Capper bill goes into effect, by reason of such popular prejudices as will naturally be aroused against unmarked wool goods among those who rely on Capper labels. A faint idea of the value of the property to be cast under unwarranted suspicion may be gained from the fact that the country's product of wool cloth and clothing for at least one year is at all times in the form of goods in process and finished and that the annual production of the wool manufacturing establishments in the United States in 1919 was valued at the mill at $1,234,657,092, to which must be added the clothing in the hands of manufacturing retail clothiers, and the increase of values between the mills and the consumers.
(8) No increase in the market value of wool in the United States. The wool growers of the United States are producing annually about 120,000,000 pounds of wool, scoured weight, 19 ounces per capita, or one-third of the quantity, 360,000,000 pounds scoured, required to clothe the 100,000,000 inhabitants of the country. The deficiency is supplied by imports from abroad, the