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STATEMENT OF CAREY E. QUINN, WASHINGTON COUNCIL, INTER
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GARMENT MANUFACTURERS.
Mr. Quinn. Mr. Chairman, I am going to make only a very few remarks. I originally intended to make a statement, but most of the points have been covered.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to hear anything you have to say.
Mr. Quinn. My organization, beginning in 1921, and continuing at their different conventions, up to the present date, have taken a stand which is presented, I think, most completely in this resolution:
Resolved, That the International Association of Garment Manufacturers, in convention assembled, do hereby express our disapproval of the so-called “ truth in fabric” law, as exemplified in the recent Wyoming act, due to the impossibility, under existing conditions, of manufacturers to analyze in their product the percentage of virgin wool in materials or garments manufactured therefrom. Further, we do desire that the public shall at all times be safeguarded from unscrupulous misrepresentation in the branding of materials, and go on record as approving the proposed national legislation in so far as it guarantees this protection to the public. Be it further
Resolved, That the secretary be directed to send copies of this resolution tu all Members of Congress. (Copy to be sent to the governor of each State.)
Mr. Chairman, with reference to the Lodge-Roger bill, we can find no objection to it. My organization, since its organization, has opposed misbranding; we consider it one of the prime evils of the clothing industry; and we can not oppose the bill, because we think it will assist in clearing up a number of these evils. We manufacture all types of clothing, cotton, wool, silk, and other materials. That is about all I have to say about the Lodge bill, because I believe everything else concerning it has been covered.
With respect to the Capper-French bill, which I believe is the one that is usually referred to when you speak of the truth in fabric bill, I would say that our stand on that is about this: If there is any reason for such an act to protect the public, we are for it. We would say, however, that the truth in fabric bill, we believe, does not accomplish that, or would not accomplish that. We would suggest that if There is a need for such a bill that it be aimed at what the consumer needs in a garment, namely, wear. The clothing manufacturer to-day sells under a trade-mark. You buy an Arrow shirt or collar, or a Hart Schaffner & Marx suit. You don't buy it according to the amount of wool in it. If there is a necessity for a branding in order to protect the public, we are for it. We believe that the bill should be aimed at what the consumer wants. In practically no instance does the clothing manufacturer make his own material, and we can not see how he is responsible for what the cloth contains. The truth in fabric bill would need to be amended to that extent, if it is to be a fair bill.
The CHAIRMAN. The general impression that the public has, as I can glean it and as it appears to me, is that there ought not to be any injury to anyone to know what he is buying.
Mr. Quinn. I quite subscribe to that.
The CHAIRMAN. And second, there is a prejudice against the word “ shoddy."
Mr. QUINN. Yes; and there will be a greater prejudice if the truth in fabric bill becomes law.
The CHAIRMAN. Very likely there is a better cloth made of shoddy than is made of virgin wool.
Mr. QUINN. That has been established.
The CHAIRMAN. And yet, as it reacts on me, not knowing what shoddy is, I want to know what I am buying and whether or not I am buying shoddy. That, of course, is a matter of prejudice. The question with me is just whether or not any injury accrues to the public if we should place a label on the garment stating exactly what it is.
Mr. QUINN. You mean to label it as to its contents!
The CHAIRMAN. To label goods as to their contents. If you did that you would in all probability be doing some good in some instances.
Mr. Quinn. Yes; and in some instances, at the same time, you would be doing harm because you would give a status to many cheap materials which heretofore they have not had.
The CHAIRMAN. I think those who appeared yesterday have made a pretty strong statement in regard to that. Mr. QUINN. That is the reason I am not covering that.
The CHAIRMAN. I was simply giving you my general reaction and what I think the reaction of the buying public would be on this matter.
Mr. QUINN. I understand.
The CHAIRMAN. If the committee does not wish to ask Mr. Quinn any further questions, we will call the next witness.
STATEMENT OF DR. JUR. JAK. A. SCHWARZMANN, REPRESENTING
SILK ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA. Doctor SCHWARZMANN. Mr. Chairman, I represent the Silk Association of America which association has gone, quite a few times, on record approving always of any sound, helpful, and useful legislaţion designed to protect any industry, and the association has likewise recorded itself as being against any legislation which is useless and harmful to one industry or to all of them.
The association has taken up the question of honest merchandising already in one of its printed bulletins entitled " Silk Association of America, Misbranding of Merchandise," which was published in 1916. The views of the association as expressed in that printed pamphlet have never been presented to a committee of the legislature but the statements appearing in that printed article stand to-day as they did when it was prepared, and I would like it to go into the record. It will indicate very forcibly that we are against the present Capper bill and that we are in favor of the Lodge bill. We are against the Capper bill because we consider it incomplete and impractical. We consider it incomplete because we do not think that any merchandise should be privileged as to its protection. The ultimate consumer ought to be protected all along the line and no one material or product should be selected for protection as is done in the Capper bill.
The proposed legislation affects our industry directly, too. Not alone that, but it affects our interstate commerce. Section 9 of the Capper-French bill says:
That every manufacturer of woven fabric purporting to contain wool, within any State or Territory of the United States or the District of Columbia, and every such manufacturer in any foreign country who offers or intends to offer such fabric for sale, trade, or exchange in interstate commerce or for shipment from any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia to any other State, Territory, or the District of Columbia from any foreign country or to any foreign country, shall stamp, or cause to be stamped upon the back or on the selvage of every yard of such woven fabric, in a manner that shall be legible, and in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce, the following information: The contents of the fabric, stating the four following ingredients, as herein defined: Virgin wool, shoddy, cotton, and silk, and the relative proportion or percentage by weight of each, together with the registration number of the person, firm, or corporation making the fabric or cloth: Provided, That in stating the contents of virgin wool it shall be sufficient to recite “not less than " a stated percentage of such ingredient, and in stating the contents of cotton, shoddy, or silk, it shall be sufficient to recite “not more than” a stated percentage of such ingredient or ingredients.
But that is not complete. If we manufacture wool into our silk, the wool is, of course, the minor part and the less valuable part than the silk, so the buyer has not so much of an interest in knowing how little wool there is in the fabric as he has in knowing how much silk there is.
The CHAIRMAN. Supposing I have occasion to buy a piece of goods, thinking it silk, and it has considerable wool in it. Why should I not know that?
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. I do not think that silk and wool can be sold at any time to the average woman under the brand of silk.
The CHAIRMAN. It could to me.
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. But not to the average woman. The buyer, the big buyer, the wholesale buyer, is of course interested to know how much silk is in there and the rest he takes for granted to be wool, and he does not care so much if it is shoddy wool or virgin wool. But it would not be correct if we, for instance, should mark our product “not less than so much wool.” The buyer wants to know how much silk is in it. The wool is a secondary matter.
The bill itself is impracticable because no silk manufacturer could very well stamp every yard with an indelible ink. The reason for that is first, that some fabric would show the stamp through; in the second place, this bill is designed to protect the ultimate consumer, and since practically 70 per cent of the silk is manufactured into wearing apparel, shirts, drawers, dresses, ties, etc., before the ultimate consumer sees it, why, if the label is on it then it might happen that our girls would be walking around with a label on their dresses saying, “ above 50 per cent virgin wool” or our wives would be going around in dresses stamped “ above 50 per cent shoddy” or something like that which of course nobody would like.
The main thing is that the wholesale buyer can not be cheated if he comes to us, and we run all the big silk houses. He knows exactly what he buys.
The CHAIRMAN. Right there is the gist of it all, whether the public is being cheated. That gives us the function for legislating.
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. Then it should not be the manufacturer who should suffer. It is the one who has the means in his hands to cheat the public who is, of course, the last dealer.
The CHAIRMAN. That is very clear. The Lodge bill would punish the man who does misrepresent by misbranding, but it would not punish him if he does not brand at all.
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. The large mill will protect the ultimate consumer if he buys at a silk price. If he has a guarantee that the goods were sold to him as silk the seller could be punished under the Lodge bill, but I think now to-day he can be punished in any State under any criminal code under the false-pretense section.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean if we pass the Lodge bill that a purchaser can prosecute the man who is misrepresenting the goods if the goods are not labeled ?
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. Yes; of course.
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. I mean a statement as to its quality would be enough.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a very important item, if that is in the bill.
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. It says in the bill, for instance:
Wearing apparel sold, labeled, or otherwise represented as “all wool” yarns, fabrics, or wearing apparel shall be deemed to be misbranded, misrepresented, or falsely described if they contain any admixture of cotton, jute, hemp, silk, or any other fiber than wool of the sheep or lamb, or hair of the angora or cashmere goat.
You see it says, " or otherwise represented.”
Doctor SCHWARZMANN. The silk industry is of course interested in some legislation to prohibit misbranding. Now, I think that is all I have to say to the committee except that I would like to have this article to which I have referred, “ Misbranding of merchandise” which the Silk Association of America published in 1916 incorporated in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that may be done.
MISBRANDING OF MERCHANDISE.
There is no doubt whatever that there has been and is to-day an increasing desire upon the part of the consuming public to be protected against misrepresentation and fraud of all kinds, and that especial attention has been directed to the fact that there has undoubedtly been some abuse of the public confidence in the textile trade. The silk trade can not escape blame for having sometimes sold unworthy merchandise for other than it appeared to be or was represented to be, the most frequent anathema being against silk as represented in Mr. Underwood's umbrella, which had been so heavily loaded with tin or other metallic salts that it cracked or went to pieces without having given service sufficient to warrant the expenditure in its purchase. It it also true that there are many things being sold to-day as silks which are not silks and which is difficult for the purchaser to differentiate.
It would be futile and dishonest to attempt to deny that there are trade abuses ; all should endeavor to cooperate with the Government to protect the public against misrepresentation and fraud to such a degree as is practicable. It is, and always will be, impossible to protect people against purchasing articles which seem cheap, but which will not give a corresponding amount of service. They will do this with their eyes open and in spite of any legislation the Government may pass; but those who are interested in the welfare of the industry by which they make their livelihood, should endeavor to make its standards of honesty and fair dealing as high as possible, and try to the extent of their ability to support some law for the protection of the public.
The laws which have been presented to Congress are unfortunately of a character which precludes their successful operation or securing the desired end through their passage.
This end can not be secured by the compulsory marking of merchandise as to its constituents, even if such a thing were practicable.
But it is not sufficient that impracticable legislation proposed by those who are honestly endeavoring to help protect their follow citizens should be opposed. Construction legislation should be offered in place of that which is impracticable.
The first and greatest difficulty in all of the bills which have been presented to the Government is that they do not succeed in their intended purpose of conveying to the consumer himself or herself the information intended to be conveyed. Approximately from 60 to 75 per cent of all silk goods to-day are manufactured into dresses and various articles of wearing apparel before they ever reach the consumer, and only from 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the broad silks are sold over the retail counter. It will be readily seen that even if there were a compulsory law requiring the manufacturer to stamp his goods either upon the end or upon the selvage, if such a thing were practicable, its operation would be inconsistent, for when this merchandise is cut up and made into gowns, hats, waists, underclothes, etc., these distinguishing marks would disappear. If they did not disappear and were made to appear in the final garments, the gown would present a perfectly ridiculous appearance; no lady would ever willingly consent to have her dress covered over with labels stating of what it was made.
This may seem like a fanciful objection, yet when it is analyzed it will be seen to be most real and pertinent. A lady's dress may be made up of six or eight or more different textile materials, each one of which would have to be labeled with its constituent parts. If these labels were not a part of the goods themselves and of a permanent character there could be no surety that they were the same as the original labels upon the goods from which the garments were manufactuered. Imagine the labeling of a dress having a lace collar, with a taffeta waist and chiffon sleeves; buttons covered with another material and trimming on corsage of another-as, for instance, a plaid or Roman stripe, as at present; the skirt embodying all of the materials above, with the addition of three or four more not mentioned, lining, braids, sewing silk, and other mate-' rials from which it is made, with an indelible stamp of label attached to each material. Yet if the label does not actually come into the hands of the consumer, its values has completely disappeared.
It is suggested in practically all of these bills that either the Department of Agriculture or the Bureau of Standards shall determine by chemical analysis whether the statement of the manufacturer is truthful, and provide criminal penalties in case of misrepresentation. As a matter of fact, there is no chemist in the world who can analyze weighted silks with any degree of accuracy whatsoever and state the percentage of adulteration present. Chemical analyses of the same samples have been made by a large number of the very best chemists in the United States and Europe, who are connected with the textile trade, including Government experts, college professors, and the experts of dye houses and chemical works in this country and abroad, and in all this number there was no single chemist who could accurately return the percentage of weighting in the various samples, the analyses varying from the true weighting by very wide margins, in several cases as much as 50 per cent
Moreover, the samples submitted to them were dyed for commercial purposes. If they had been dyed for the purpose of deceiving there is no question that the variations would have been very much greater than those obtained. The complete results of these analyses are published in the Annual Report of the Silk Association of America for the year 1914. The percentage of error in the tests is the difference between the actual percentage-taking gum weight as 100 per cent—and that reported by the analysis. If the errors were figured on the variation of the weighting material alone, in some cases they would be multiplied, as for instance in the case of one of the tailoring dye samples. The amount of weighting added over pure silk was 74.4 per cent; analysis B gave this added weighting as 20 per cent, or this chemist found only 27.2 per cent of the actual weighting used, or less than one-third of the actual amount. The maximum error made by any chemist upon the 100 per cent method upon which the analyses were made, which includes silk as well as weighting, was 54.2 per cent, and out of analyses performed by nine chemists no chemist made a smaller error than 10 per cent in his calcula