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and all these products have a market value in direct ratio to the cost of production. No manufacturer can possibly sell a product made out of cheaper material at any higher remuneration or profit than he can get out of finer or better material. The evidence of that is economic. If it were not true, naturally everybody would seek to make those things that he could make most profitably. If I have a mill that is adapted to the use of pure new wool and can equally well be used for reworked wool of very poor and inferior grade and I can make more profit by making the cheaper goods, I would not go to the greater expense for capital to buy more costly material. What is true of one person is equally true of another, so that the fact that a great majority of mills are engaged in the manufacture of goods that require pure wool is significant, for the whole amount of reworked wool, according to the last census, is only 10 per cent. Now, if 90 per cent of the raw material used is virgin wool, it must be because there is just as much profit in manufacturing goods out of virgin wool as there is in manufacturing goods out of inferior wool, and for that reason, I say, the manufacturer has no interest in this whatever. There is no reason in the world why he should not be perfectly willing to do this thing except that it will involve the great expense of introducing the machinery and setting aside the space for labeling the goods, and when he does that he necessarily adds to his overhead, and any increase in overhead goes to an increase in the cost of clothing, which is already too high, and, further, having done that he knows that he is in a position where his unscrupulous competitor can put the same label on goods 100 per cent wool, as defined by this proposed law, and sell it cheaper, make a cheaper cloth, and he is put in a disadvantageous position through the psychology of persuading the consumer that he is getting more useful and reliable knowlege in that label.
Senator CAPPER. I can not see how it puts him at any disadvantage if all these goods are labeled as to the exact content, and the manufacturer himself is the man who knows what the content of the fabric is, and if he is going to do business in a straightforward way, I do not see where he has any disadvantage with his competitors. You have gone to great pains to submit samples to show that we can not tell the difference between these fabrics though they are the same, one better than the other, one may have more shoddy in, and so forth. Of course, we concede that. But here is what we want to give the public: We want to give the public information as to what that fabric actually contains.
General Wood. I realize that is what you want to do, but my whole argument is to show that you won't help them. It will not assist them in selecting their clothes, and it will not be of any advantage to them. Of course, if you can create a stigma on a certain meritorious article or on certain meritorious goods among buyers so that they won't buy a garment because your label says it contains 40 per cent shoddy, and you thus make a higher price for the raw wool, I can understand that reason; but if your purpose is to help the consumer, I can not understand you. You help him by giving him some information that can give him no true knowledge as to the worthiness of the garment he is buying.
Senator CAPPER. Here are two fabrics, one all wool and the other nearly all shoddy, and yet you submit these to show that we can
not tell the difference. The buyer ought to know. He ought to have the information. He goes into a clothing store on Pennsylvania Avenue, and he is offered two garments, one made out of wool and one made out of shoddy, and according to your own statement you challenge us to show you the difference between the two fabrics. How is this man who goes into the clothing store to select between these two garments to know what he is buying?
General Wood. He must rely upon the house he buys his.goods from. We must suppose that they are reliable. Suppose one is 100 per cent virgin wool and the other is 100 per cent shoddy. What will your buyer do? Presumably he will take the 100 per cent virgin wool. Now, when he does that, he takes the inferior fabric.
Senator CAPPER. We will admit, of course, there is an all-wool fabric inferior to some shoddy goods but that is no more reason why the dealer should be permitted to palm off all kinds of shoddy goods regardless of its contents any more that it is a reason why we should not legislate as to adulterated butter. There are different qualities of butter. No one would claim at this time that we should not have a pure-food law regulating butter and oleomargarine.
General Wood. If the committee wants me to go into this question
The CHAIRMAN. General Wood, I think that while this is all a little irregular, the subcommittee wants all the information they can get and you have made a pretty strong statement here, and that is why I allowed Senator Pepper who is not on the subcommittee to ask you a question. And when I allowed Senator Pepper to ask you a question I thought I owed it to ask Senator Capper if he wanted to ask you a question. I do not think, however, we ought to go further. We want the data submitted and it helps the subcommittee to have this, but probably we should not let this go too far. If we do, the whole thing will get into a long discussion.
General Wood. Then, that is all I have to say, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, we thank you. . STATEMENT OF ALEXANDER WALKER, PRESIDENT OF STRONG,
HEWAT & CO., VIRGIN WOOL FABRIC MANUFACTURERS, NEW YORK CITY.
The CHAIRMAN. Identify yourself to the stenographer, please. Mr. WALKER. Alexander Walker; president Strong, Hewat & Co., virgin wool fabric manufacturers, New York City, and ex-president of the National Sheep and Wool Bureau of America.
Mr. Chairman and Senators, I am going to refer to my former connection with the National Sheep and Wool Bureau.
The National Sheep and Wool Bureau was the organization who were the chief sponsors of the French-Capper bill. I resigned from the presidency of that organization the first of this year. That particular organization did 95 per cent of the promotion work for the Capper-French bill. When I say 95 per cent, it was nearer 99 per cent. While the farm bureaus took some part, they took a very small part. While the other organizations that indorsed the FrenchCapper bill took some part, that part was really immaterial. The resolutions adopted throughout the United States in support of the French-Capper bill were obtained through the efforts of the National
Sheep and Wool Bureau, and I might add, not egotistically, that 75 per cent of them were obtained through my own efforts.
We came to Washington and we studied this French-Capper bill from top to bottom. In fact, we had a good bit to do with the formation of it. But we were tired after we had been in this campaign for four years, of this football, the truth-in-fabric bill in Congress. We have had bills in Congress for a period of 20 years or more, along the same lines, none of which became laws.
We want a law clearly designating the terms “ all wool,' pure wool,” and “virgin wool.” The Lodge bill as originally proposed did not designate anything. It was merely a misbranding bill. We thought there was no chance of getting through either of these measures, so we conferred with the proponents of the French-Capper bill to see if we could not arrive at some compromise on some common ground where we could all work together.
After many conferences, it was proposed that there should be incorporated in the Lodge bill the terms “ all wool," "
pure wool." and “virgin wool.” This the proponents of the French-Capper bill agreed to do, and at the annual meeting in Chicago, of the National Sheep and Wool Bureau of America at the end of December, all of these matters were discussed and the bureau passed a resolution indorsing the amended Lodge-Rogers bill as now introduced.
Gentlemen, I say that this bill as it now is will be a protection to sheep husbandry, will be a protection to pure fabric manufacturers, and will be a protection to the public,
It is a protection to sheep husbandry in the way that virgin wool is now clearly defined.
The CHAIRMAN. Which bill are you now speaking of?
Mr. WALKER. I am speaking of the Lodge-Rogers bill. Virgin wool is clearly defined, and it is the prerogative of the sheep growers of America, if they have some merits in their product, to advertise and let people know the merits of that product. We feel that that will do more good than this kind of a branding, because “virgin wool” means nothing,“ pure wool” means nothing, and “all wool” means nothing. It will protect pure fabric manufacturers, because in our mills it means nothing: It legalizes the terms“ virgin," and pure,
," and it gives the public the right to let them know the value of our fabrics. It protects because it gives them the information that they have asked me to obtain for them. All they want to know is whether it is virgin or all wool, what the retailers now under the amended Lodge-Rogers bill are to advise them, what it is. The manufacturers advise the retailers, and they advise the public, so it will go right down the line.
That is about all I have to say.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you speaking as one who believes in this sort of legislation?
Mr. WALKER. I am speaking as one who believes in this sort of legislation; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You are not against the Capper bill but think this is the better?
Mr. WALKER. I am not against the Capper bill, Mr. Chairman, but I think this is the better measure, because, after investigating thoroughly the cost to the manufacturers, the wholesalers, and the
consumers, if this Capper bill is put on the statute books, it will be of tremendous importance.
Senator CAPPER. You speak of a meeting out in Chicago at which some agreement was reached. What representatives of the producers were at this meeting? Were there any at all ?
Mr. WALKER. Of the woolgrowers?
Mr. WALKER. In fact, Mr. Wilson, who is at present the president of the bureau, is vice president of the Wyoming Growers Association, and there were several at the meeting.
The CHAIRMAN. We are very much obliged to you.
STATEMENT OF H. LEROY PITKIN, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION OF WOOL AND WORSTED SPINNERS.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Pitkin, you may proceed.
Mr. PITKIN. Senator, I have in mind your request to be brief, and inasmuch as our industry is allied with the manufacturers who produce the cloth, my statement is necessarily very brief.
As spinners of worsted yarn, we are perhaps not as directly concerned with labeling legislation as those who make cloth and those who sell that cloth converted into garments to the public. Yet so closely are the different branches of the industry united that anything that affects one necessarily affects all.
I might add that the spinners' association submitted a detailed statement at the last hearing, which can be found on page 283 of the hearing. That was June 7.
Because of this and because of the provisions of the FrenchCapper bill that apply immediately to spinners and because in general principle we can see no virtue in or need for compulsory labeling, we venture to record our voice against the passage of the French-Capper bill and in favor of the enactment into law of the Lodge-Rogers honest merchandise act.
We could, of course, in such a statement as this enter exhaustively into the whole subject, pointing out among other things how difficult it is to identify yarn after it has been converted into cloth. which would necessarily add immeasurably to the difficulties of compulsory labeling legislation, but having closely interested ourselves in the subject throughout the different hearings before congressional committees we realize that a great deal of evidence has been presented to these committees that very adequately, in great detail and very conclusively prove from our point of view the impracticability of compulsory labeling and the absence of necessity for it.
Whatever description is practiced in the sale of woolen cloth to ultimate consumers is necessarily fractional as compared with the whole, first because the major production of cloth in this country is worsted as distinguished from woolen, and nothing but virgin wool can be employed in the construction of an all-worsted piece of goods, and second, because the majority of merchants, whether yarn spinners, cloth weavers, clothing manufacturers or retail clothiers
are honest and have no intention or desire to deceive the ultimate purchaser.
These things, added to the cost of compulsory labeling and the fact that compulsory labeling as required under the French-Capper Act is impractical of application because it is not possible to distinguish virgin wool from reworked wool, are our reasons for opposing the enactment of the French-Capper bill.
We are equally firm in advocating the passage of the LodgeRogers bill because it is what its name implies, i. e., an honest merchandise act. It does not compel anyone to label, but it provides protection and redress to the citizen who has been misinformed or to whom something has been sold that is falsely labeled or in any way misrepresented. Moreover, it protects the community not only in the purchase of its clothes, but in the purchase of any article of daily commerce.
For these reasons and having in mind, as we stated at the outset, that the whole subject has been so exhaustively covered at previous hearings which are of course available to the members of tħis committee, we thus briefly record our opposition to the French-Capper bill and our very strong conviction that the Lodge-Rogers bill should be enacted into law.
The CHAIRMAN. We are very much obliged to you. STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY SCHENCK WOOLMAN, SPECIALIST ON
ECONOMICS, BOSTON, MASS. The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Woolman, state your name and position for the record.
Mrs. WOOLMAN. My name is Mrs. Mary Schenck Woolman. I live in Boston. I was for many years professor of household arts education at Columbia University. I was the first to introduce the study of textiles in the schools.
As interested that women should know more of these subjects, I have been a constant student of textiles. I am representing trained consumers at this meeting.
There are many consumers who are absolutely ignorant of these things. I want to bring to you the absolute opposition of the trained consumer to a branding bill. As such, I come from the Massachusetts Consumers' League. Only yesterday Mrs. Wiggin, the chairman, telephoned to me: “ We are unalterably opposed to branding bills, such as Mr. Capper has brought. We want another form of bill, and to us the plan of the merchandise marks act of England, which many of us have seen in operation, seems to be a good thing. We have been for the Barclay bill. We are interested in the present bill of Senator Lodge.” So much for the consumers' league.
You know, of course, that Mrs. Kelly, once for the Capper bill, is now absolutely opposed to it, having understood the difference between the two measures.
I, as a lecturer over the whole United States, as interested in textiles, know the growers. I have been with the growers in the various States, such as Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, California. I know the hard time they have. I know the temptation to do something to help. I also know the impossibility that there is in such a bill as this to give them what they think will come.