letter to Mr. Wexler in which he says he objected to that being done. I think we ought to have it.

Mr. SPENCER. Put that on your list.

Mr. FISHER. It is pretty hard for us to check up the papers which have already been introduced, because the proof is coming along slowly. I suppose it is held up because of these Spanish names, which are being checked before it goes to print. I suppose Mr. Meehan is assisting in that?

Mr. MEEHAN. I have not been doing any checking except for the first few days. I checked over Dr. Rendon's testimony for the first three days.

Mr. FISHER. All right; I assumed the slowness in getting the proof was due to the Spanish names, which the stenographer is getting, because I noticed in part of the transcript being furnished now there were omissions at various times, evidently of that character, and it is a little difficult. However, if this committee is going to adjourn over, as is suggested, that will give us an opportunity to catch up with the printer, and then we could check and call your attention to those things which have been omitted.

Mr. SPENCER. If you will call my attention to any document we have omitted to bring in, I will see that you get it.

Mr. FISHER. You will remember there was a good deal of discussion at one point about the names of the brokers who were said to have given Dr. Rendon the information upon which he based the statement that 75 per cent of the raw sisal which is bought by the harvester company or the Plymouth Cordage Co. is resold to others. Mr. SPENCER. I beg your pardon.

Mr. FISHER. The quotation is very clear. The statement in the Dr. Rendon book is as follows [reading]:

About 25 per cent of their direct purchases of sisal they manufacture into binder twine, the remaining 75 per cent of the raw sisal they resell to other American manufacturers of binder twine.

Dr. Rendon said he would give us the names of the brokers.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fisher, can you not ask that in the written request and not take up the time of the committee now by reading such things?

Mr. FISHER. I can, except this has handicapped us in getting in touch with these witnesses. I have taken occasion to check up some of the statements, and when it is proper I have some evidence to offer about previous statements; but, as you see, you are anxious to get along as a matter of time, and if we do not get these things until quite late we have no opportunity.

The CHAIRMAN. As far as you can, why not make a written statement to-day, at once, telling what you want up to date, and where it is proper we will ask the gentlemen to give it.

Mr. FISHER. All right.

Mr. SPENCER. If he will give us the statement to-day, we will take it up at once.

The CHAIRMAN. Let us go on, gentlemen.

Mr. SPENCER. May I make one statement?

Mr. SPENCER. We have a Spanish witness we intended to put on, but who is preparing his statement. It is, of course, a matter laborious in character, and it has to be translated, and it is pretty hard

for him to get correct translation. So we are having that done, and we hope to put that in to-morrow.

The CHAIRMAN. One witness?

Mr. SPENCER. One witness.

Mr. FISHER. Mr. Spencer, would you object to giving the name of that witness so we will have it?

Mr. SPENCER. No; it is Escalante, who is a member of the Reguladora.

Mr. FISHER. Not Escalante Bates?

Mr. SPENCER. No; Escalante; a member of the Reguladora. He does not speak English, so it will be impossible for him to make his statement here.

The CHAIRMAN. If that is all on that score, we can hear Mr. Orth. Mr. FISHER. Mr. Chairman, might I ask, have Mr. Wexler and Mr. Dinkins, of the Reguladora, finished the introduction of their testimony, with the exception of the Spanish witness to whom reference is made?

Mr. MAYER. We decline positively to commit ourselves. We are going to furnish such evidence as we deem necessary until the hearing closes.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee is going to keep on introducing any witnesses which it thinks best. We are not proceeding as in a court with plaintiff and defendant, we are getting things in as well as we can. I do not know what side the wardens of the penitentiaries might be said to be on. They are very kindly coming here to give their evidence, and we are thankful to them for it.

Mr. FISHER, On a number of occasions, Mr. Chairman, you have asked me to wait until these gentlemen have finished their case.

The CHAIRMAN. That is all they have right now ready. If they get any more ready, and we think they ought to be given a chance to put it in, we will do so, and we will let you put in all you get ready, too, on the same basis

Mr. FISHER. I do not want to take up time unnecessarily, but, if I understand it, this inquiry is the result of a desire on the part of Mr. Wexler and Mr. Dinkins to make clear their position. They believe they are being improperly criticized, and they have sought this occasion for the purpose stated.

Mr. SPENCER. You started it.

The CHAIRMAN. I consider it absolutely immaterial, and we going to go on with this testimony as soon as we come back from the Senate floor, and if counsel want to get on with the testimony, I would ask them to help the committee rather than block it.

Senator GRONNA. I was absent, Mr. Fisher. Are you through? Mr. FISHER. Yes, sir; I think so, Senator.

Senator GRONNA. I understand that Mr. Loring would like to be heard, and if there is no objection the committee will hear Mr. Loring.


Mr. LORING. My name is Augustus P. Loring, Beverly, Essex County, Mass., and I am president of the Plymouth Cordage Co., and have been since 1897. Previous to that I was connected with the company as clerk of the corporation and secretary of the board of directors, since 1884.

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If it is agreeable to the committee, I would like to explain, in the first place, a little about the binder-twine business, and about the various fibers, about which there seems to be a little confusion. I would like then to state what the Plymouth Cordage Co. is and how it does its business, and I should then like to state the attitude of the Plymouth Cordage Co. to the present matter. I shall consume as little time as I can, and shall be very glad to answer all questions, but would ask the counsel if they would kindly defer their questions until I have made my direct statement, as I think it would confuse me unduly for them to ask me during the time of my statement, and put me entirely off the track.

Senator GRONNA. I am quite sure that there will be no objection to that, and therefore you may proceed in your own way.

Mr. LORING. Binder twine, as perhaps Senator Gronna knows, but perhaps all of these gentlemen do not know, has been made of a great many materials. The most popular material, both on account of its cost and on account of its being able to be used for binder twine not only for wheat and small grain, but also for corn, is sisal, the Mexican sisal. Mexican sisal is not the real sisal, not the sisal of botany. It is the henequen plant. The sisal of botany is not raised in Mexico. The real sisal is raised in Java and East Africa and other countries, and is essentially a different fiber from the Mexican sisal. It is a better fiber. It cleans better. It is longer, and it is what I might describe as more silky and less woody. Mexican sisal is, as Dr. Rendon stated, an agave-that is, an aloe plant, such as you see in a green tub on the steps.

The other very large fiber in the world, the principal fiber, is manila hemp; that is, the bark that comes between the outer and the inner bark of a palm tree. It is not a cactus or agave at all. That fiber is much more valuable for making rope than sisal is. Sisal will not stand the weather, and even when it is used in situations where it is not affected by the weather, it is not so desirable, as it is woody, and the individual fiber is liable to break. Also, if you are handling it the splinters are liable to hurt your hand.

The real sisal is raised in Java and in East Africa, and is, I may say in passing, at the present time practically out of the market on account of the European war. It is a fiber which does not hurt the hands, and can be used where the weather does not affect it as a substitute for manila, but manila rope is the rope that is used by everybody; used by the sailor, and used by the miner, and used by the man who drills oil wells, and nothing takes its place.

Another fiber that has been used for making binder twine, and which is used to-day, is New Zealand hemp. That is a different plant from the sisal plant. It grows in long, swordlike leaves, coming out the way my fingers do [indicating with his hand]. It is not better than the sisal. It is a softer fiber, but is not as good for binder twine as sisal is, and can only be used when mixed with sisal or with manila. It can not be used alone.

Jute has been used to make binder twine, and it was the use of jute twine, together with other substitutes, that broke the corner in binder twine which was made by the National Cordage Co. away back in 1893. It can be used, but it is not desirable. At present prices it could not be used, because it is 194 cents a pound. So jute is out of the question.

I understand the National Cordage Co. spent over a million dollars experimenting in American flax. They had a mill, and they have abandoned it, to make binder twine. I know that my company has spent many thousand dollars in experimenting and investigating binder twine of American flax, but it is not practical, and we found out the reason after a great many trials, which we had not suspected. .After the sheaf was tied with flax twine it broke, and we supposed perhaps it was the crickets that had eaten it, or that it was affected by the weather, but we found that it acted just the same way in Hungary as it did in the United States, and there are no crickets in Hungary, and it set us thinking, and by using entomologists and also a chemist, we found that the retting process by which flax is cleaned kept steadily on after the flax was manufactured, and went on to the point where the flax rotted and the twine parted, and that retting process could not be checked by any means that we knew of. Therefore flax was out of it.

Answering Mr. Spencer, flax is put under water with weights on it for a certain number of weeks, until it has rotted sufficiently, and the pulpy part of it is stripped off and leaves the fiber. That rotting process kept right on after the thing was manufactured.

That brings us down to the two articles out of which binder twine can be successfully manufactured, and that is manila and sisal and New Zealand. The New Zealand can only be used with either manila or sisal. The fiber is treated with oil, and has been treated, as the Senator knows, with other things to attempt to check the grasshoppers and the crickets, which, after the sheaf is bound, will climb up and eat off the twine and break the sheaf, which is a loss to the farmers. Our company has been experimenting with an entomologist and with a chemist for several years to find something that will check the cricket and the grasshopper. We think we have found it after a lot of experiments in the laboratory and in the field, but we are not sure and we are not advertising it. There is no difference between sisal and manila, so far as the grasshopper is concerned. He eats either indifferently. In fact, I am told that he will eat the handle of a rake if it is left in the field over night.

Manila, as compared to sisal, has some disadvantages in the manufacture of twine and some advantages. You have to use a superior quality of manila to make binder twine. You can not use the ordinary low-grade manila, because that manila comes full of tow bunches, which it is impossible to get rid of wholly in the manufacture of a low grade of manila twine. Therefore, you have to use the better grade of manila. Those tow bunches would be objectionable because of the knotting of the machines. The knotting arm has a small hole, and if the twine is checked in that hole it stops your whole machine, and that is lost time. You had better pay more for a good twine than to use a twine that is going to ball up your machinery every few minutes in the field.

But manila is so much stronger that you can make a twine that will reach 650 feet to the pound, as against sisal twine running 500 feet to the pound, and sell your twine cheaper per foot to the farmer made of pure manila, than you can of pure sisal, but it is very common with the farmer to prefer to pay less per pound, not taking into consideration the number of feet they are getting for their money.

On the other hand, among the intelligent farmers there is a marked preference for manila twine or a mixture of manila twine that runs more feet to the pound. The export twine is pure sisal, and they do 'not want anything but pure sisal.

This country makes the twine for the world, practically. Until the International Harvester Co. set up some mills abroad, it was absolutely true that we made the binder twine for the whole world. Binder twine was sent by camels to the most distant parts of Turkey, and the export demand is wholly for sisal twine.

There is a longer sort of twine made by our company, which we call Premax twine, which is not a pure manila twine, but which runs 650 feet to the pound and is made partly of manila and various mixtures of fiber, East African, Java, and things of that kind, and which is a very satisfactory twine, but is a specialty. "Premax" is just a trade-mark.

From what I said, I think I have explained that sisal is the backbone of the twine business-oh, I would say, another reason why the farmer or some farmers prefer the sisal twine is that it is larger in circumference than the manila twine or the Premax twine, and they believe that it works better on the sheaf than either of these longer and finer twines. That is a matter of individual preference. Certainly, for the corn binder the manila twine is not as good as the sisal twine. Therefore we are reduced to the conclusion-at least, our company has been, that sisal and sisal twine are the practical twines which are desired by the farmer, and which will find the easiest sale, and which he desires.

Now, as to the supply of sisal; nearly all of it comes from Mexico. There have been attempts to raise sisal in various other countries. But Joseph Chamberlain, the English premier, had plantations in the Bahamas, and he dropped $300,000 there. Our company attempted to aid a company to raise sisal in Santo Domingo. Before the war East Africa was producing a large amount of the true sisal, and producing it very satisfactorily, and in Java the twine was increasing, but all of these outside supplies were a mere drop in the bucket, and were desirable simply for the reason that they were a little different and a little better, and should be mixed, for instance, with New Zealand, and we could make a different brand of twine, like our Premax, but they did not take the place of sisal twine. So that it is substantially true that the whole supply of sisal twine comes from Mexico.

Now, as to the Plymouth Cordage Co. This company was founded in 1824.

Senator GRONNA. I am afraid that we will have to suspend at this time. There is a very important matter pending in the Senate, and our presence is required there. We will take a recess now until 2 o'clock p. m.

(Thereupon, at 12.35 o'clock p. m., the committee took a recess until 2 o'clock p. m)


At the expiration of the recess the hearing was resumed.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Loring, you were interrupted, I believe. Will you proceed?

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