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As a part of its educational campaign to bring about more intelligent consumption by home makers, and especially the more intelligent selection of textile fabrics, the American Home Economics Association has during the past year actively advocated before gatherings of club women and others the passage of misbranding legis. lation similar to that embodied in the Barkley misbranding bill. We believe we are within the facts in saying that women consumers who have the duty of investing a large percentage of the family income keenly feel the need of such legislation and feel that it should be speedily enacted. The numerous messages of indorsement of the Barkley bill that have already reached your committee from individual women and from women's clubs in all parts of the country will bear witness to the truth of this statement. Very truly, yours,
AMERICAN HOME ECONOMICS ASSOCIATION.
LETTER SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WORSTED AND WOOLEN SPINNERS.
New York, April 13, 1920. Hon. JOHN J. Esch, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. My Dear MR. Esch: The executive committee of the National Association of Worsted and Woolen Spinners held no meeting just prior to or during the hearings on the French and other labeling bills before your committee and were therefore not represented.
We are desirous, however, of recording with you and having entered upon the records, if it is not too late, our protest against the enactment into law of the French bill.
We object to the French bill on general principles because we are convinced that it will not serve the purpose it is intended to accomplish. Instead of aiding and assisting consumers in purchasing clothes, it will confuse and confound them, because it will set up false standards. We object to its passage specifically because
(1) Bradford yarn.- We produce in the yarn industry about 1,350,000 pounds of Bradford spun yarn weekly, and in this yarn nothing but virgin stock is ever used. It would be a burden and inconvenience to have to furnish specific guarantees and warantees every time any of this yarn was sold, when it is apparent to anybody familiar with the business that it can contain nothing but virgin wool.
(2) French yarn.-There is produced weekly about 750,000 pounds of French spun yarn. Of this from 75 to 80 per cent is always virgin wool. A percentage of cotton is used in the remainder chiefly for underwear purposes, for the reason that undergarments made of the French spun yarn in which a little cotton is employed is commonly looked upon as preferable to similar garments made of all wool. The purchaser of this yarn furnishes specifications.
(3) Woolen yarn.-We produce approximately 700,000 pounds of woolen yarn weekly, in which wool, reworked wool, cotton, silk, shoddy, and other fibers can be employed. Owing to the great variety of fabrics and style effects that may be produced from woolen yarns--these yarns are usually sold either on samples or by speci. cations supplied by the purchaser. Therefore, we again submit that the enactment of a law whereby it would become obligatory to furnish statements, or guarantees, as to the contents of such yarn would impose an unnecessary and useless burden upon the manufacturer, thereby increasing the cost of the product to an extent wholly unwarranted by any possible benefits derived.
Permit us to state that we would willingly submit to the inconvenience of fulfilling the requirements set down in the proposed French bill, if we believed that any good purpose or end could be accomplished thereby. Instead, we are convinced that the provisions of the bill applicable to the yarn industry are entirely unnecessary and will result in no benefit or gain to any one.
We shall much appreciate it if you will cause this letter to be inserted into the records of the hearings on this legislation. Yours, very truly,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WORSTED AND WOOLEN SPINNERS,
LETTER SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOOL MANUFACTURERS.
Boston, Mass., April 17, 1920. Hon. John J. Esch, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, also of the memorandui from the clerk of the committee covering the amendments Mr. French has suggested to his bill.
We desire to make the following comments for insertion in the record. In a general way, the amendments suggested do not in any way obviate our objections to the bill and the arguments which we have presented already stand as to the amended bill. We have no detailed comment to make except as to the following:
No.5. “Amend section 9 so as to indicate whether the percentage of wool or other ingredients shall be upon the basis of yardage or by weight."
We do not know what this means. There is only one way by which the ingredients can be stated and that is by the percentage by weight of the ingredients put into the original blend of material. As we indicated in our testimony, these various ingredients would shrink by varying amounts in the processes of manufacture, so that even the manufacturer himself would be unable to tell the exact percentages that would remain in the finished cloth. We also testified that it would be absolutely impossible to make any test of the finished goods which would indicate the percentage of the various ingredients.
No. 12. “Amend section 19 by providing that the act shall go into effect six months or eight months following approval of the same."
We repeat our assertion that it would require a very much longer period than this to equip all the mills of the country for complying with the law. Respectfully, yours,
FREDERIC S. CLARK, President.
LETTER SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL SHEEP AND WOOL BUREAU OF AMERICA.
CHICAGO, April 24, 1920. Hon. John J. Esch,
Washington, D. C. My Dear Mr. Esch: The rapid and widespread development of the overall club movement which is supposed to have for its purpose the checking of rising prices movement which numbers among its leaders leading colleges, business men's clubs, rotarian clubs, high schools, chambers of commerce, and prominent public men-is convincing proof that the people of the United States are determined that a solution for the constantly soaring prices must be found.
The National Sheep and Wool Bureau respectfully suggests that this movement is merely struggling with effect rather than attacking the cause.
A more effective way, and one which goes to the root of the matter, is pointed out in a recent editorial in Successful Farming, published by the Hon. E. T. Meredith, Secretary of Agriculture, and former president of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World. This editorial said:
“Substitution is the thing in which the exorbitant prices of clothes and cloth, and clothes and cloth profiteering have their roots. The people pay for virgin wool and get shoddy.
“In reducing clothing costs and preventing profiteering in cloth, as in many other things, the simplest measure is the most effective. In the case of clothing, it is the high cost of substitutes which is at the bottom of the trouble, and is the key problem in getting prices to a safe and reasonable basis.”
A truth-in-fabric bill was introduced in the House of Representatives January 7, 1920, by Congressman Burton L. French, of Idaho. This bill is known in the House as H. Ř. 11641, and is now before the Interstate Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives. The chairman of this committee is the Hon. John J. Esch, of Wisconsin.
This same truth-in-fabric bill was introduced in the Senate January 8, 1920, by Senator Arthur ('apper, of Kansas. This bill is known in the Senate as $. 3686, and is now before the Interstate Commerce Committee of the Senate. The chairman of this committee is Senator Albert B. Cummins, of Iowa.
This truth-in-fabric bill, now before both branches of Congress, will, if enacted into law, immediately lower the prices of clothes.
The purpose of this truth-in-fabric bill, as stated in the bill's introductory paragraph, is:
“To prevent deceit and profiteering that result from the unrevealed presence of substitutes for virgin wool in woolen fabrics purporting to contain wool and in garments or articles of apparel made therefrom."
The provisions of the truth-in-fabric bill make it compulsory to identify substitutes for virgin wool, namely, shoddy and cotton, and to give the people the knowledge of the presence of substitutes—the knowledge that is the people's only protection against those who would procure for the substitute the price of the genuine.
The truth-in-fabric bill would lower the price of clothes because of the following reasons:
1. The bulk of the raw material now used in woolen apparel sold as all wool is shoddy.
Under the truth-in-fabric bill shoddy can no longer be sold as virgin wool, and shoddy profiteering would consequently be stopped and the price of shoddy would inevitably be forced down.
Therefore, the price of all apparel containing shoddy would immediately be lowered, and this would include a very large part of all apparel.
2. The passage of the truth-in-fabric bill would also immediately multiply the production of virgin wool fabrics for the following reasons:
(a) The reason huge stocks of virgin wool are now lying in storehouses unmanufactured is because unidentified shoddy permits the fabric manufacturer to make a greater profit with shoddy than he could make with virgin wool.
With the truth-in-fabric bill enacted into law, the fabric manufacturer could no longer, as now, divert the people's demand for virgin wool to the rag and shoddy industries, and fabric manufacturers would consequently be forced to make up into fabrics the vast quantities of virgin wool now lying in the storehouses.
(b) It is estimated that, because of lack of ships to transport the wool from where it was produced to where it could be manufactured into cloth, there accumulated throughout the world during the war 1,265,000,000 pounds of virgin wool.
(c) Notwithstanding the fact that the world produces only one-third or less as much virgin wool as is needed in any one year, yet on September 1, 1919, nearly 10 months after the signing of the armistice, there was in the United States more than 700,000,000 pounds of virgin wool, an amount which exceeds by 100,000,000 pounds the United States annual consumption of virgin wool.
Furthermore, at the present time, nearly a year and a half after the signing of the armistice, it is estimated that there is more than 1,000,000,000 pounds of virgin wool in the world's storehouses, exclusive of the present year's clip, 1920, which will be available in a few weeks.
A conservative estimate of the world's clip for 1920 is 2,500,000,000 pounds.
Therefore, there will be available within a very few weeks more than 3,500,000,000 pounds of virgin wool.
(d) If the truth-in-fabric bill is passed, all of this huge quantity of virgin wool would be immediately converted into cloth (instead of vast quantities of it being permitted to lie in storehouses, as has been done with great quantities of virgin wool since the signing of the armistice), and the tremendously multiplied production of virgin-wool cloth would effectively check and eliminate the rising-price menace and establish a sound economic price basis upon which business can proceed with safety and satisfaction.
The inclosed resolution passed by the New Jersey and Missouri Retail Clothiers' Association, contains the idea which has also been expressed in resolutions passed by scores of other organizations, State, national, and civic, throughout the United States, urging truth-in-fabric legislation.
Included among the organizations throughout the length and breadth of the land, which, by resolutions, or through their representatives, have definitely gone on record urging the passage of truth-in-fabric legislation, are the following:
The National Consumers' League, a southern cotton association comprising a large area of the South; American Farm Bureau Federation, with more than 1,000,000 members in 28 States; the Fleece Wool States Growers' Association, with membership in 15 States: the National Wool Growers' Association, including in its membership important States west of the Mississippi; the National Union of the American Society of Equity: the American National Live Stock Association; the Chicago Live Stock Exchange; the Agricultural Commission of the Michigan State Bankers' Association; the National Grange; the National Board of Farm Organizations; the Farmers' National Council; the National Housewives' League.
We are inclosing herewith pamphlet containing editorial comment typical of editorials that are appearing in leading publications throughout the United States urging truth-in-fabric legislation.
By promptly passing the truth-in-fabric bill Congress will right the wrong aimed at by the over-all and old-clothes clubs being formed throughout the country.
By passing the truth-in-fabric bill Congress will render the country a very great service by lowering the price of a necessity of life, and by establishing sound economic practices in connection with cloth and clothes, which will tend mightily to stabilize business and economic conditions and thus avert the danger from the unrest of the people, which now results from the exorbitant prices of clothes.
Your cooperation in the effort to secure the prompt passage of the truth-in-iabric bill, now before both branches of Congress, is, therefore, respectfully and earnestly requested in the interests of the people.
NATIONAL SHEEP AND Wool BUREAU, By L. F. MALONY, Secretary.
LETTERS SUBMITTING INCLOSURES.
LETTER FROM THE OHIO SHEEP AND WOOL GROWERS' ASSOCIATION.
UTICA, Ohio, February 5, 1920. Hon. John J. Esch,
Washington, D. C. HIGHLY RESPECTED SIR: By the authority of the many owners of small flocks of sheep in Ohio, and in the interest of the French truth-in-fabric bill, I want to respectfully call your attention to the sheep status of the State.
When Commissioner of Tariff Culbertson gave us a hearing at Columbus in December, we showed him that the watershed of the Ohio River, a section with more sheep, and more sheep men per area than anywhere, was enlarging the delta of the Mississippi, and that there were a million tons of commercial fertilizer in solution in the Gulf of Mexico, from land owners growing half crops of grain where they should be growing wool.
The way he put it, “Wool growing in Ohio is an incident in diversified farming," now when we are disgraced by a national wool shortage, with sheep decreasing and population increasing, demanding more wool and more meat. This condition is the result principally of the criminal license shoddy has to pass for our good wool.
Ohio men, who have more sheep than the same size territory anywhere, are keeping a few sheep as a side line, keeping them like a town housewife keeps a few hens on her table scraps, because a junkman, not worth as much as the land owner pays annually in taxes, gathers more “wool” than the shepherd can produce. During this time, the whole population is wearing unserviceable, depraved clothing.
We are getting ready to grow enough virgin wool to clothe every American who wants it, as soon as wool sells for wool, and shoddy for a substitute. In the meantime all the associations are operating bureaus to educate the people. Many are asking at the stores already, "Is this virgin wool?" and we are determined to carry it on to a successful consummation.
I inclose a circular which explains the situation, and in the name of the sheep owners ask you kindly to push the French truth-in-fabric bill, all you can, until it is a law. There will be history following this, and credit from all the sheep men, and every one of the hundred million clothing buyers, to the Washington friends of this measure. Yours, truly,
W. W. REYNOLDS, Treasurer the Ohio Sheep and Wool Growers' Association.
The Ohio Sheep and Wool Growers' Association, S. M. Cleaver, Delaware, president; J. F. Walker
Gambier, secretary; W. W. Reynolds, Utica, treasurer.]
CLOTHING The clothing situation is deplorable. If you doubt it go out and buy some woolens for yourself and your families. Multitudes are writing our association about where they can find cloth, or clothing like they formerly bought.
These conditions were billed to come, and war times only brought them a little quicker. Big business and the unrestricted use of reworked wool have been reducing the flocks, and now America produces less than one-quarter of the materials for the woolens of the people.
The flocks on the western plains have been crowded out by settlers, and land east of the Mississippi is too valuable to compete with old rage, so that few sheep have been kept there, except by some stubborn old sheepmen who had the habit, and liked to see some about.
The great West also had more desire to sell mutton and lamb, whereas wool growing depends on permanent flocks where all the mothers are saved to increase them. The amount of them now only grows enough wool to furnish yarns to carry shoddy to wearers of “woolens."
A suit of virgin wool is hard to find, and will cost $100 up. It has $5 to $6 worth of wool in it, and formerly it cost $20 to $25.
Good serviceable clothing will be a memory until America increases its flocks materially, and in the meantime (and it will be a meantime) the people can wear "antique” clothing, not knowing whether they are wearing the rags of gentle folks or beggars.
The wool and shoddy in these depraved garments will cost them many times what they should on account of the “wcol shortage;" and they can not get serviceable raiment at any price until there is more wool grown for them.
[The Ohio Sheep and Wool Growers' Association. S. M. Cleaver, Delaware, president; J. F. Walker,
Gambier, secretary; W. W. Reynolds, Utica, treasurer.)
TRUTH ABOUT WOOL SUBSTITUTES.
¡Copied from the Rural New Yorker.]
The very best linguist and logician on earth will engage in a hopeless task if he tries to justify shoddy as it is used and sold now.
Take a look from the sheep pastures. On them are sheep owned by men, women, and children. Many farmers' widows have them because they are gentle stock to keep. They cost money, care, and watching. They are on high ground and in plain sight of the assessor, listed for taxation at good figures. They are eating on valuable land, and later will need hay and corn, at a cost of high-priced labor. They are growing nice fibers to pay their owners for their outlay, and to clothe human beings in respectable, serviceable raiment, but all the efforts of their keepers, the horns on the old rams, and shotguns and Winchesters can not protect them against the competition of shoddy.
At present there is a revival of interest in sheep by wool growers, and a promise of stability for the industry. There have been such promises before, but politics sent many dejected sheep to the stockyards, and strewed bones and wool locks over the fields. There is no line of industry that men will follow unless it pays, and when gentle, dependent sheep are neglected they perish. Here is good blood now of all the breeds, with owners able and willing to quadruple the sheep, but they see an enemy as deadly as politics threatening. The unrestricted use of shoddy is a crime against the sheep. What maker of woolens will pay the real worth of wool when he can substitute it with the refuse of wool and cotton? What use has he for good fibers except to carry poor, short ones?
Grant that it is right to salvage refuse and make some use of it, but all must allow that it is wrong to deceive anyone. There is not more than $5 worth of wool in a suit of clothes, while there is profit and pay amounting to $65 to $85.
Now after a look from the pasture, the woolgrowers' end, take a view from the suit buyers' standpoint. How many know what virgin wool is, or what shoddy is, or know how to detect the latter? Neither the law or common knowledge is protection against it. There is not a food product, for man or beast, not a bag of hog feed or fertilizer sold in the United States that dare carry the deception that every suit of clothes is privileged to carry, and there go most of the people of this goodly land, wearing more or less of the rags of others, blaming the price and unserviceability on the woolgrowers. It is only of late years that there has been reference to shoddy, and all who named it were set down on real hard. Prefacing an acrimonious harangue against the writer, the Literary Digest remarked that I “spoke very disrespectfully against shoddy." It told the truth. I have the supremist contempt and loathing for it when it passes itself for virgin wool, even as it has done on me, after growing wool for 40 years and paying a “first-class dealer," a friend, and an honest man, his highest price with his assertion that "the jobber from whom he bought had guaranteed the piece pure virgin wool." I have seen some wool, and worn a few good clothes, and think of the statements made in the defense of shoddy.