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TRUTH IN FABRIC AND MISBRANDING BILLS.

SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 1924.

UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 o'clock a. m., in room 410, Senate Office Building, Senator Simeon D. Fess presiding. Present: Senators Fess (chairman of subcommittee) and Couzens.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Nevins.

ADDITIONAL STATEMENT OF J. J. NEVINS.

Mr. Nevins. We stayed over for two purposes; one to permit Mr. Green to submit some observations he had, because he yielded to the gentleman who seemed rather impatient yesterday; the other was to incorporate into the record, with your permission, what President Giffard, of the American Association of Woolen and Worsted Manufacturers, wrote to Mr. Hunneman, who called himself the director of the Carded Woolen Manufacturers' Association, and who does a great deal of their correspondence, and I would like to incorporate it, because yesterday Mr. Dale quoted a single sentence from that letter. The whole letter itself is a different story, and I feel that since the single sentence has been incorporated, it would be reasonable to incorporate the whole.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it on the same subject?
Mr. NEVINS. Oh, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be incorporated.
(The letter referred to is as follows:)

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF WOOLEN

AND WORSTED MANUFACTURERS,

· New York, January 4, 1924. Mr. W. C. HUNNEMAN, Director Carded Woolen Manufacturers' Association,

147 Summer Street, Boston, Mass. DEAR MR. HUNNEMAN: I have your letter of January 3 in reference to Senate bill 1188 and inquiring if the American Association of Woolen and Worsted Manufacturers favors the amendments to the Lodge bill, which you indicate in the margin on pages 2, 5, and 6.

I notice in the public print the objections of the carded Woolen Manufacturers' Association to this new bill and on December 29 I wrote a personal letter to Mr. Moir, telling him that it appeared to me a fairly good bill and inquiring what features of it your association particularly objects to.

In the study of conditious applying to the French-Capper bill, our association was impressed with the belief that even though we might succeed in defeating the French-Capper bill the public and Congress would demand some kind of a bill, and we also feared that possibly the British merchandise marks act might not prove an acceptable substitute.

Neither I, nor my associates in our association, so far as I know, have any positive knowledge of a deal between Mr. Walker and Mr. Humphreys; but when I read in the paper the proposed bill S. 1188 and found that it would not be opposed by those who had sponsored the French-Capper bill, it appeared to me that we were in a better position than we would have been had the National Sheep and Wool Bureau continued its propaganda in endeavoring to promote the Capper bill.

It has been my experience that we can not always have everything we wish for, and that if a reasonable compromise can be effected it is better than to get nowhere, or possibly take a chance of getting something worse with prolonged litigation.

I personally do not take exception to any benefit which the firm of Strong, Hewat & Co. may derive from the use of the term “ virgin wool.” While I have always felt that their connection with the French-Capper bill was most unethical, I think their adoption of the term virgin wool” was clever and that they are entitled to some advantage in consequence of their progressiveness and the considerable amount which they have expended in advertising.

The contention that the carded woolen branch of the industry is the only one in which reworked wool is used has always existed, and throughout our campaign to defeat the French-Capper bill I have felt that we carded-woolen manufacturers were fortunate to have the cooperation of the worsted manufacturers; and it appears to me quite possible that without their aid the objectionable bill might have been passed.

Unless there are more objectionable features to the new bill than I am able to see, I should hesitate to take any action which might result in lessening the interest of the worsted branch of our industry in this matter, in which the carded woolen branch is so materially concerned.

My reference to the splendid arguments put forth by your association in opposition to the French-Capper bill, to which you refer in your letter, is an evidence of my desire to be fair to all concerned in the hope of obtaining the greatest good to the greatest number.

In this letter I am simply expressing my personal views. In accordance with your request I will bring your letter to the attention of the executive committee of the American Association of Woolen and Worsted Manufacturers at its next meeting, and Secretary Nevins will advise you of whatever action the committee may take.

In the meantime, if you care to do so, I will be glad if you will write me a letter pointing out where you think my position in this matter is at fault and indicating any serious consequences which you think would result from the passing of S. 1188. I wish for you and your associates a very prosperous New Year. Yours very truly,

A. L. GIFFARD, President I. I. N. P. S.-In any bill which may mention various fibers, do you not think camel's hair should be included ?

STATEMENT OF MR. ADDISON L. GREEN, HOLYOKE, MASS.

Mr. GREEN. I am one of the executive committee of the National Association of Woolen Manufacturers, and am actively engaged in the manufacture of fabrics in the city in which I reside.

Upon the broad question of the advisability of legislation such as is suggested by the so-called Capper bill, I do not wish to speak. Mr. John P. Wood has so clearly and logically stated the objections to it that I do not feel capable of adding anything to the weight of his arguments. My suggestions lie in a more restricted field.

I am in favor of the Lodge bill and opposed to the Capper bill, and as they are both before you at the same time, a consideration of one necessarily involves a consideration of the other.

The chairman of this committee has very freely and very frankly stated during these hearings, as I understand it, that while he holds an open mind upon these bills, nevertheless he recognizes that there is a belief held by many that legislation such as this would be of advantage to the woolgrowers and to the public.

The CHAIRMAN. That has been my general impression.

Mr. GREEN. Yes, sir. It was very fair, I think, to give us that angle upon your mental attitude. While I can not agree with this conclusion for a number of reasons stated by Mr. Wood, I wish to consider with you for a moment the Capper bill from another viewpoint; that of the two arguments just presented, namely, its advantage to the woolgrower and the public.

That advantage, as I understand the position of the proponents of the Capper bill, can be paraphrased from its title, and may be stated to be to prevent deceit and unfair practices that result from the unrevealed presence of reworked wool in fabrics which the public buys.

Now, it must be obvious that if the use of unrevealed reworked wool is disadvantageous to the woolgrower and the public, it is equally disadvantageous, whether it be knitted or woven, and yet this bill permits the one and forbids the other. It is therefore illogical and discriminatory at the outset. The public has the same right to be protected against unrevealed reworked wool in its socks and stockings, and sweaters, underclothes, dresses, frocks, and other knitted wear, as it has against unrevealed reworked wool in its woven clothes, and the failure to warn the public of its presence is as harmful to the woolgrower in one instance as in the other.

Again, it must be axiomatic that neither the woolgrower nor the public can derive advantage from useless knowledge or useless expenditure.

At this point let me interrupt my argument long enough to state that the manufacturing interests with which I am identified never have used, do not use, and can not use reworked wool in any of their products. We must have long, strong-fibred wools and can not use in our products any other kind, either in whole or in part.

The CHAIRMAN. That is a new view to me; that the manufacturer can not use reworked wool.

Mr. GREEN. In the type of fabrics which we manufacture.
The CHAIRMAN. You are speaking of your own?
Mr. GREEN. Yes, sir.
Mr. NEVINS. It is true of about 60 per cent of the whole industry.
Mr. GREEN. That is true of 60 to 75 per cent of the whole industry.

The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the shoddy is not used in any. thing like 50 per cent!

Mr. GREEN. No, sir. It can not be used in worsteds, so far as I know; at least, in the type of worsteds in which I am interested. They are made, and must be made, of long-fibered wool, and, of course, the reworked wool is of short fiber. It can not be used alone, or in any mixture in that type of goods.

The CHAIRMAN. Would that mean that of the great amount of goods now on the market that a small percentage only is using shoddy? Mr. GREEN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. My idea was that the shoddy use was a very large percentage of the use of goods generally.

Mr. GREEN. You are not correctly advised, Senator. The worsted type of goods, which is a large amount of the goods used, are

not made in whole or in part of reworked wool, and can not be, and in the type in which I am interested a light-weight fabric, linings, and things of that sort—it absolutely never has been and can not be used. I mean by that it is impossible as a commercial proposition. I can not say that as a theoretical proposition it would not be possible to combine them, but as a practical proposition they can not be combined.

To resume: Since the object of the Capper bill is to protect the public and the woolgrowers against the competition of reworked wool, why does it include within its provisions fabrics that do not contain reworked wool? Under the terms of the Capper bille Senate 1024, it will be necessary for a mill such as ours, in order to mark our goods as required by the bill, to establish a new department, find mill space for it, equip it, man it, operate it—to do what? To tell the public that we do not use something that we never have used and can not use. This involves an additional expense, very substantial in amount, which, of course, must be reflected in the price of the goods.

But it involves something more, and that is the very serious question of our ability to so mark, some at least, of our fabrics, without doing them serious injury. That is, to mark on every yard a statement of the composition of the cloth upon these light cloths involves putting something into the selvage or on the face of the cloth. Now, inany of these fabrics have no selvage, as presently constituted, wide enough to put such a mark. Is it to be put on the face of the cloth? Or must we manufacture our products of this kind under new specifications, giving them a selvage broad enough to carry such a marking?

The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean, Mr. Green, that the provisions of the bill would require every yard of a bolt marked?

Mr. GREEN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Every yard ?

Mr. GREEN. Every yard. It did not in its amended form last year. As amended the markings were to be according to the rules prescribed by the three commissioners, but it has been restored to its old form, which I did not know until last night, and it required that mark to be put on every yard. That is a very serious consideration.

In this connection I should add that so far as the manufacturing interests with which I am connected are concerned, we have not the slightest objection to furnishing our customers information as to the materials used in our fabric; in fact, they all know it, so far as I know. Our objections run to the difficulties and to the expense involved in marking, and the obligations imposed for the sole purpose that the public may be warned against the use of something we do not and can not use.

Again you will notice that the final clause of section 10 of Senate bill 1024, page 9, provides that

Nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring a garment manufacturer to place any label, tag, or designation on a finished garment to designate the contents of the linings, interlinings, paddings, stiffenings, or facings of the garment.

That is a wise and necessary provision. It is obvious that a tag would be a complicated, prolonged, and unintelligible thing if it had to go into every minor constituent of completed garments. It

should, however, be carried to its logical conclusion, which is that these fabrics should be excluded from the provisions of this act. Why load the expense of manufacturing these fabrics with the expense of marking them when in the nature of things the information contained in the marking is buried in the garment into which they are wrought and can not come to the knowledge of the public?

The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would explain that statement; that the information is buried in the garment and can not be brought to the attention of the public.

Mr. GREEN. These particular fabrics which I mentioned in that clause I have just read are not sold to the public. They are sold to cutters-up, the manufacturers of garments. Now, supposing every yard of those are stamped. They go to the manufacturer of the garment. When the garment is manufactured he puts a label on under this act. The label warns the people as to the cloth in the suit, but can not tell him anything about the linings and facings and the trimmings and the paddings. Consequently, all those labels are loaded with an expense which does not and can not contribute to the knowledge of the public.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand what you mean.

Mr. GREEN. And I should add in that connection that in this type of goods every purchaser-take Mr. Kirschbaum, who buys our goods, and who was here the other day

The CHAIRMAN. Kirschbaum, of Philadelphia?

Mr. GREEN. Yes, sir. Everyone of them knows the construction of the goods he is purchasing. You can not tell him anything more than he already knows. He is a skilled and competent judge of cloths, but the public does not get that knowledge. It does not need it, probablyAt any rate, it is impractical to give it, and the bill recognizes that.

Is it not clear, then, that even if their grounds are well stated by the proponents of the Capper bill, this provision should apply only to fabrics containing reworked wool and should not include fabrics in which such wool is not used?

The CHAIRMAN. Your idea would be that where a garment is all wool there would be no necessity of a brand, but if the garment does contain reworked wool, that it might require a stamp saying that it is reworked ?

Mr. GREEN. Precisely, provided we accept the principles of these bills and ignore the broad objections stated so well by Mr. Wood. Is it not equally clear that Senate bill 1024 is illogical and misleading if its object is to protect the public and the woolgrower against the use and competition of unrevealed reworked wool? Why does it exclude from its provisions fabrics in the composition of which it is possible to use reworked wool and include within its provisions fabrics in the composition of which reworked wool is not, never has been, and can not be used ?

Now, as to the Lodge bill. It is broad, comprehensive, nondiscriminatory, and logical. It applies to all articles transported in interstate commerce. It has been in satisfactory operation in England for a long time, and in my judgment will effectually serve the interests of the woolgrower and the public and will do so more effectually indeed than would the Capper bill.

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