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tions, and this chemist did not have the most difficult samples to analyze, those given him being only straight tin weighting.
Under such conditions what manufacturer would be willing, in making goods, to put himself in a position in which he might be criminally prosecuted on evidence so inaccurately obtained by chemical analyses ?
This is contrary to the testimony given before committees of Congress by certain chemists, who claimed that such chemical analyses could be performed accurately, notwithstanding the fact that they never have been heretofore performed accurately and with the present knowledge of chemistry can not be performed accurately.
There are many other objections to the laws which have been before Congress relating to the silk business. The diffculty of enforcing them with relation to other businesses is not less great; for instance most of these bills require that woolen goods made of shoddy or mungo be so labeled, and define shoddy as any material that has been before worked in any process of manufacture. According to this classification the finest Australian roving waste, having a staple of three or four inches in length, would be shoddy, while the waste of the clipping pens, with a staple of from one-quarter to one-eighth inch in length, would be 'new wool. Without attempting to go into the question of the woolen and cotton difficulties at length, those who desire to inform themselves on the matter are referred to the report of the National Association of Woolen Manufacturers, of July, 1915, a very able report, clearly and accurately, stating the many insuperable obstacles which have arisen to the administration of these laws as relating to wool.
As previously observed, it is not sufficient for the silk trade to oppose this legislation which has been presented in Washington; they should themselves offer legislation of a constructive character in its place. What, therefore, is most needed at the present time and what are the abuses against which people should be particularly protected? The positive fraud in selling something that is different from what it is represented to be comes first. Possibly some do not believe that this is an extensive evil really needing remedy. Attention is called to the fact that there are now being widely advertised in numerous places various articles purporting to be silk materials which are not silk at all, as for instance the upholstery fabrics advertised extensively in the press as the
original guaranteed Kapock sun-fast silks," under which advertisement have been distributed to the trade materials having no silk in them whatever, being made with a cotton warp and artificial silk filling. Another article recently advertised has been silk poplin rubberized raincoats," made entirely of cotton. There are now and have been for some time very large quantities of sweaters and hosiery sold by more than one concern as silk sweaters and silk hosiery, either made of mercerized cotton or artificial silk without the admixture of any real silk whatever. There are to-day a very large number of firms selling sewing thread under terms intended to deceive the public into the belief that it is sewing silk, when in reality the thread is mercerized cotton. Some of these labels go so far as to state positively that the article is sewing silk, but in reality is made of mercerized cotton.
These instances are probably less familiar than are the cases of some manufacturers who have advertised and do advertise silks as pure dye, who sell under this title siks manufactured from weighted materials. When the term weighted silk is used it is intended to apply to those materials to which metallic salts or other materials have been added for the purpose of giving weight and body to the goods, and not for the purpose of coloring or finishing. There are very many silks sold to-day under the so-called tailoring dyes that are dyed for the express purpose of deceiving the purchaser into the belief that the article purchased is pure dye, and are so labeled and sold both to the tailor and to the customer. The United States Government with strange inconsistency has in the past advertised for pure dye navy silk handkerchiefs and then required that they turn red with oxalic acid, showing iron in the dye, a proof that the material was not pure dye.
Such are the real abuses from whch the purchasers of goods purporting to be silks to-day should be protected.
It has been claimed frequently in hearings before committees of Congress that the United States is backward in this matter of labeling legislation and that England, France, and Germany already have laws of this character upon their statute books. This statement is entirely erroneous. There are no laws in either England, Germany, or France requiring compulsory labeling of textiles either with or without the constituent materials. The laws of those
countries are very similar in character as they relate to the subject. They do not compel labeling, but they do prohibit untruthful labeling.
The best of these laws, the most concise and explicit in its character and the best adapted to the interests of the United States is the British merchandise marks act, and this act might almost be taken as it stands as a model to correct the evil in the United States to-day and to protect not only the purchasers of textiles, but the purchasers of any other articles against misrepresentation and fraud. The law would, in some minor instances, have to be changed, but in the main is correct.
The British law has already been summarized as follows: To prevent the fraudulent use of trade-marks; to prevent the sale of goods under a false description.
Its most essential provisions are as follows:
“Section 2 provides that every person who applies any false trade de scription to goods (or causes it to be done) shall, subject to the provisions of this act, and unless he proves that he acted without intent to defraud, be guilty of an offense against this act."
Every person guilty of an offense against this act is subject to a fine, or imprisonment, or both, with a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine of £20 for each offense. The false trade description prohibited under the act is defined as any false statement :
“(a) As to number, quantity, measure, gauge, or weight of any goods, or “(6) As to the place or country in which any goods were made or produced, or "(c) As to the mode of manufacturing or producing any goods, or “(d) As to the material of which any goods are composed, or
“(e) As to any goods being subject to an existing patent, privilege, or copyright, and the use of any figure, word, or mark which, according to the custom of the trade, is commonly taken to be an indication of any of the above matters."
This British act has stood the test of 25 years experience and has proved to be very efficient. Such an act, coupled with a national act prohibiting false statements in advertising and with a proper presentation to the Federal Trade Commission of such instances of unfair competition as have been before mentioned, would afford an immediate and proper relief against conditions properly complained of, and against which the public has the right and ought to expect protection from the Government. All should exert their influence to secure this end. It is not right and proper that those people who are interested in the silk business in the United States should stand still and see about them, without protest, such cases of misrepresentation and fraud as are known to exist, and it is our duty to uphold the Government and to assist it in the passage of such laws as will correct whatever trade abuses may now exist and will prevent the growth of future fraud. Aside from the question of ordinary business honesty and decency, the trade itself will undoubtedly profit through such action in the increased confidence of the public in their wares and the increased confidence of legislators in their intention properly and faithfully to serve the interests of the public, and to this end all should bend their energies.
THE SILK ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA,
Its Committee on Legislation.
STATEMENT OF MR. HARRY S. NEWELL, SECRETARY OF THE
ASSOCIATION OF COTTON TEXTILE MERCHANTS OF NEW YORK.
Mr. NEWELL. I would like, if you will permit me, to direct your attention to the hearings had before the House committee in 1920 and to my testimony which appears in the record of those hearings at page 205. Our statement has not changed since then.
Our association is composed of delegates for cotton manufacturers.
They market more than 75 per cent of all the cotton cloth made in this country. The French-Capper bill would not affect their product in any way. Their product is all cotton. So, while they do not oppose that bill particularly, because it does not affect them, the principal point we wish to make is that we favor the Lodge bill.
The textile industry, if I recall figures published by the Department of Commerce, correctly, recently, is the second industry of the country. Of the five divisions of the textiles, cotton is representative of more than half of all the textiles, so if you undertake to protect the public from fraud and deceit under this Capper bill, you leave out the biggest portion of the textiles altogether.
We are opposed to the French-Capper bill on the ground it will not achieve its announced object, to protect the public from fraud and deceit. As the other gentleman has said, it will set up a false standard and because of that will lend itself to further misrepresentation by dishonest merchants of all classes, wholesalers, retailers, and so forth. If a merchant wishes to deceive anyone, he has a much better chance to do it if the Capper bill becomes a law.
We favor any legislation that will give the consumer the greatest protection from fraud. It is on that ground that we favor the Lodge bill. We believe any legislation of that kind will protect the consumer because, as we understand it, if there is any misrepresentation, any deception in any commodity at all, the man who so misrepresents it and so deceives the buyer can be punished under the Lodge bill whether the goods are branded or not. As I read the bill it is designed to protect the public against fraud by prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation in interstate commerce of misbranded, misrepresented, or falsely described articles, and to regulate the traffic of them.
The CHAIRMAN. Would this misrepresentation apply to what a salesman would say to a purchaser, or would it apply to only the goods that are labeled ?
Mr. NEWELL. It is our understanding it would apply to any misrepresentation, whether the goods were labeled or whether it was merely an oral misrepresentation.
The CHAIRMAN. If it does that, it is quite a feature in the bill.
Mr. NEWELL. I went recently to buy a suit of clothes, and I paid more money in dollars for it than I ever paid for any suit made for me before. It was, however, the cheapest suit I ever had. It was made from a very light fabric, so light that I could almost hold it up hete and read a printed page through it. The merchant I purchased it from had been in business for over 100 years, or the business had been established for that time, and when I expressed a doubt as to the durability of the material he said, “ We stand back of anything we sell.” Well, that is all I cared about. I knew the material would wear, and it did wear better than he said it would.
General Wood. I understand the question is whether misreprésentation as distinguished from branding and labeling is covered by the Lodge bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
General Wood. It is covered by the clause in section 3, which says, "misbrands or misrepresents, or causes to be misbranded or misrepresented, or applies or causes to be applied, any false trade description to any article.” Then, as to the character of misrepresentation, it is dealt with in two other sections.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you a specific question, your answer to which will cover what I have in mind. I am assuming that a salesman that misrepresents his goods now might be punished. I do not know that that is true. I assume he might be. What I am after is if we should pass the Lodge bill is there any authority in that bill by which we could punish beyond the provisions of the present law that permits for the punishment of misrepresentation ?
General Wood. I think that is embraced more specifically in the specification in the bill as to what constitutes misrepresentation. It does not leave the question open to interpretation.
The CHAIRMAN. În your judgment would the public be more protected by the Lodge bill, saying nothing about the branding or misbranding, than it is now?
General Wood. I think so, distinctly.
STATEMENT OF ROY A. CHENEY, SECRETARY ASSOCIATED KNIT
UNDERWEAR MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA.
Mr. CHENEY. We are the association representing the majority of knitted underwear manufacturers of this country. While the French-Capper bill does not attack us in any way, being applicable only to the woven fabrics, we are opposed to it for these reasons:
This organization wishes to go on record in favor of all general movements to better the economic condition of the farmer, but is distinctly against class legislation such as is exemplified by the French-Capper truth in fabric bill.
This bill is admittedly put forth in the interests of one small group of our farming community, the woolgrowers, and as such is distinctly class legislation of the worst type, for its sole purpose is to increase the cost of wool to the American consumer.
In addition to the grounds set forth above, we are against the French-Capper bill because it creates a false standard of value for woolen products. As is well known, there are several grades of wool and the lending of the name of the United States Government to the theory that all virgin wool, no matter what the grade, is the best type of wool and will give the best service to the consumer opens the door to all sorts of fraudulent practices.
We are against the French-Capper bill because it will create in the mind of the consumer the understanding that the raw material is the basis of quality and leave out of consideration entirely the skill and ability of the manufacturer.
We are also against the French-Capper truth in fabric bill because it will necessarily mean the creation of new positions in the Government in the way of the number of inspectors and checkers who must be employed to enforce the terms of the bill and thus will increase the cost of government.
We are also against this bill because the labeling made necessary will increase manufacturing costs and thus increase the cost of all wool or woolen products to the consumer.
We are distinctly in favor of the bill known as the Lodge-Rogers honest merchandising act, which will penalize the manufacturer or other who misbrands his merchandise or his product.
STATEMENT OF MR. FREDERICK D. De BERERD, REPRESENTING
THE MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK.
Mr. DE BERERD. Mr. Chairman, I wish to preface my remarks which apply specifically to these bills by a statement of the nature and the purposes of the Merchants' Association of New York.
The Merchants' Association of New York has no direct interest itself, no special interest, in the conditions under which the goods are sold. It does not represent specifically manufacturers of fabric, nor does it represent specifically manufacturers of leather goods which have likewise been the subject of much proposed legislation with respect to the labeling and misbranding.
The Merchants' Association of New York's membership comprises every class of merchants, manufacturers, and laymen of high grade and standing. Its members are particularly interested in honest merchandising and they have devoted a great deal of time and money for many years past toward securing standards of law which would promote honest merchandising and develop business upon a high moral plane.
In pursuance of that purpose the Merchants' Association of New York had made a very thorough and protracted study of many
of the laws touching that point, not only Federal laws, but laws in the various States, particularly in New York, with respect to the prevention of misrepresentation in business, in order that direct responsibility might be established on the part of those who sold goods and that protection might be afforded to those who buy goods.
The Merchants' Association of New York had reported and was to some degree instrumental in procuring the passage of the Pure Food Laws. It had secured many modifications in the law of sales in the State of New York, particularly. It was instrumental in securing the passing of an act in the State of New York, penalizing false advertising and making the seller responsible for the oral representations made by salesmen, and it has been party to a number of prosecutions brought to enforce those conditions, that is with respect to the particular class of merchants which might be affected by it.
I allude to these things to indicate to you the attitude that the Merchant's Association of New York bears to this whole class of legislation commonly known as the truth in fabric bills.
The Merchants' Association of New York took up the question with respect to the so-called or misbranding bills some ten or twelve years ago. There were at that time some thirteen measures pending before the Congress in that matter, and in consequence the association made a careful study with expert assistance, into the conditions of manufacture of various classes of goods, not alone fabrics, but particularly leather goods, as there had been great complaint about misrepresentations as to the quality of shoes and so forth.
The Merchants’ Association of New York caused a very thorough digest of English laws to be made, the English laws that were intended to prevent misrepresentation and to protect the consumer.
The studies made by our committee on commercial law, which is made up of representatives of some twenty of twenty-five different important branches of business, led to the general conclusion that the proposals of the various misbranding acts were unwise ; that they