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As I remarked, we have the good sheep blood, and also willing minds to quadruple the sheep in less than 12 years, and clothe every American in home-grown wool. A just price as a permanency will warrant the endeavor, and the clothes of the people will cost them less than now.
After these views from the pastures and the consumer, take a look from a national economic standpoint. There is a middle class that is making all the profits on wool. If America grew four times its present output, the money paid for it would circulate among us. If every piece of cloth and garment had a tag, signed by the manufacturer, giving percentage of wool, shoddy, or cotton, a woolgrower would not be deceived, and the whole people would know what they are buying. The sheepmen are flocking, agreeable, and resolved that each of the three classes shall have a profit. We are now growing about one-quarter of the raw materials for “woolens,'' buying about the same from foreign lands, and the balance is a product of the ragpickers hook and the rusty scales in the junkman's deplorable hovel.
Under the present distress this condition must go on, but we have promised ourselves that we will raise more sheep, induce others to raise them, and together protect them. There has been some noise at Washington about shoddy, not strong enough to be heard, but our voices are improving. We want restrictions on wool substitutes that will insure the same safety to all who buy, clothes now possessed by the buyers of fertilizers, and mule and hog feeds. We expect opposition, but plenty of as hard opposition has been overcome there. Opposition to us will prove the justness of our cause. There is no possible reason why buyers of clothing should not know what they are getting in the shape of wool-whether it is first hand from the sheep's back or has to come in a roundabout way second or third hand from the shoddy machine.
LETTER FROM THE CLOVERLAND MAGAZINE.
MENOMINEE, Mich., March 12, 1920. Hon. JOHN J. Esch,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. Esch: Cloverland magazine urgently requests your support of what is known as the truth-in-fabric law, hearings on which will begin before the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the House on March 19.
The magazine appeals to you personally, in view of the fact that it is doing a large measure of the development work for your State, which is part of Cloverland. While our work has been more in the interests of the northern part of your State, nevertheless, the value of the service performed reflects upon the entire commonwealth, as it adds to its development and prosperity.
The truth-in-fabric law has the unqualified support of every wool grower and of the farmers who have no more than a small band of sheep on their farms. The public has a right to such legislation, in order that it may know what wearing apparel is made of and what it really pays for. It has the same relation to wearing apparel that the pure food and drugs act has to food and drugs.
Under separate cover we are mailing you a copy of the November issue of Cloverland Magazine, in which you will find on page 6 a most able article on this subject by Roger M. Andrews, president of Cloverland Magazine. You will also please note the editorial indorsement, an indorsement that has been carried through all subsequent issues of the magazine.
Hoping you will give this measure your fullest support and lend your influence to hasten its passage, I am, Sincerely yours,
Henry A. PERRY, Managing Editor.
(The article referred to by Mr. Perry is as follows:)
THE TRUTH-IN-FABRIC LAW WILL DO JUSTICE TO THE SHEEP INDUSTRY.
[By Roger M. Andrews.) There was a time when all wool” meant that any fabric so designated was honest cloth made from pure virgin wool and was synonymous with wearing quality. There was a time when the purchase of an "all-wool" garment was a good investment for rich
or poor, because it was an exchange of honest wool for honest money, a 100 per cent return for the dollar. Modern machinery and processes of renovating rag piles, reworking clippings from tailor shops and garment factories, have produced a fine "all-wooì” shoddy that has robbed the old "all wool” trade-mark of its honest heritage, and to-day the slogan "all wool" many mean anything from a revamped heap in a junk yard to fabric made direct from the wool on a sheep's back.
The National Sheep and Wool Bureau of America, which has conducted a most exhaustive research into this situation, finds that at least two-thirds of all raw material used in making "all-wool” woolen clothing is shoddy and not virgin wool as the public believes. The bureau finds that fabric manufacturers can and do divert from the sheep man to the rag man a very large part of this demand from the public for virgin wool. Thus the practice of selling shoddy without letting its presence be known places both the public and the sheep man, in so far as the use of virgin wool is concerned, completely at the mercy of fabric manufacturers. The “rag pile millionaire” is in a one-sided competition with the honest sheep raiser, and the public is bunkoed daily with “all-wool" shoddy, while the subtle modus operendi of the dishonest fabric manufacturer is slowly but surely killing off sheep husbandry.
Nothing “ails the sheep industry” more than this unfair and too often down right dishonest competition. The honest merchant suffers with the buying public and the wool grower, for he, too, is at the mercy of the fabric manufacturer and is forced to accept clothing made from the all wool and a yard wide" stuff which may be really all wool but a reworked fiber that has served mankind even unto the third and fourth generation-reworked until there is no tensile strength, no wearing quality, nothing but a distorted pattern after the first exposure on a damp day.
But the chicanery in fabric manufacture does not end with reworking woolen rags and palming off the material as virgin wool. Shoddy may be "all wool," and it may contain a mixture of reworked wool, cotton, wood fiber, hemp fiber, jute fiber, flax fiber, cheap furs, feathers, and perhaps other ingredients unknown to any but the shoddy manufacturers themselves. But these are fibers the National Sheep and Wool Bureau investigators have actually found in clothing creations sold under the "all wool" guaranty.
A bill will be introduced in both Houses of Congress at the December session, which, if enacted into law, will promptly and vigorously stamp out this heinous practice of juggling truth in fabric manufacturing. The bill is known as the truth-in-fabric law, and it should receive unanimous support from both Houses of Congress. We have a pure food and drug law that imposes heavy penalties for misbranding any article of food or drug. As clothing is second only in importance to food in our economic welfare in fact it may be considered on a par with food-heavy penalties ought to be imposed upon those guilty of misbranding wearing materials.
The purpose of the truth-in-fabric law, as outlined in the original draft, is to “protect sheep husbandry from unfair competition with shoddy and to protect the public from deceit and profiteering that result from the unrevealed presence of shoddy in woolen fabrics and clothes, by making it compulsory to make known the presence of shoddy and cotton in woven fabrics and clothes made from such fabrics.'
The law defines shoddy as wool fiber that has been previously spun and woven into any kind of material, wood fiber, hemp fiber, jute fiber, flax fiber, fur feather. Cotton is defined as cotton fiber that has never previously been spun and woven into cloth, and virgin wool is defined as wool that has never previously been spun and woven into cloth.
Each manufacturer will be required to obtain a Federal license and is required to mark indelibly and plainly on the selvage of every yard of goods manufactured the number of his license and the content of shoddy or cotton the material contains. Pure-wool goods, made from wool direct from the sheep's back will be marked “virgin wool.” The legend on the selvage of the cloth will read thus:
“Reg. No. -- (a) virgin wool 100 per cent.". "Reg. No. (a) virgin wool per cent; (b) shoddy --- per cent." “Reg. No. --- (a) virgin wool —- per cent; (b) shoddy ------ per cent; (c) cotton -- per cent." “Reg. No. ---- (a) virgin wool -- per cent; (c) cotton --- per cent." "Reg. No. --- (b) shoddy --- per cent; (c) cotton ---- per cent." "Reg. No. — (b) shoddy -— per cent."
Jobbers, cloth wholesalers, garment manufacturers, and retailers are forbidden to accept cloth that does not bear this registration mark and identification of fabric on every yard of the selvage, and clothing manufacturers, tailors, and retailers are required to sew into each garment before it is offered for sale where it is easily accessible, a white cotton strip of cloth on which is indelibly written and in a manner that will not be blurred or erased, the precise designation as that which appears on the selvage of the cloth from which the garment is made.
The truth-in-fabric law is made operative within 60 days after its passage. On all cloth manufactured prior to the operation of the law, and on all garments manufactured prior to the operation of the law, the manufacturer, wholesaler, jobber, and retailer are required to sew on a white strip plainly designating that the material or garment was in stock prior to the operation of the truth-in-fabric law.
. All mills are required to make a monthly report to the Department of Commerce the amount and character of raw materials of all kinds used during the month, together with a list of the lots manufactured the preceding month, giving detailed and precise fabric information required under the law.
Penalty for the first offense under the law is a fine of $10,000 or 1 year in prison, or both; for the second offense, $25,000 fine or 3 years' imprisonment, or both; and for the third offense, 10 years at hard labor in the Federal prison, and also to be forever disbarred from the manufacture or sale of fabrics or apparel in the United States. Executive officers of corporations are amenable to the law the same as if they conducted the business individually or separately.
Importers are placed on similar regulations and the foreign tradesmen must comply to the letter of the truth-in-fabric law, or his goods will be barred from the United States.
The necessity for such a drastic law and the heavy penalties incorporated may be seen more clearly from the following article written by Mr. Richard Spillane, and published in the Philadelphia Ledger of April 19, 1919, under the caption, “Shoddy sold as wool deceit, if not fraud, on consuming public":
“In former days wool meant wool. 'All wool and a yard wide' was a term of some significance. A suit of clothes, an overcoat, or any garment of wool was expected to be of enduring worth. To-day it is not. The reason is that so much shoddy is introduced into woolens that the strength of the cloth is impaired.
"What adds to the complexity of the affair is that a man who has handled woolens all his life has difficulty in telling a cloth that is virgin wool from one that is part wool and part shoddy, or what proportion of the cloth is shoddy and what percentage wool. Only the maker of the fabric is competent to state.
“But there is one test that is infallible. That is the one of wear. Wool will wear ‘until the cows come home. Shoddy will show its bad features in short order.
“Goods made largely of shoddy should not be sold as all wool, even if technically the term is correct. It is not in the technical sense the term should be determined. but in the effect. In effect the buyer is deceived, if not swindled. This does not apply to the retailer. Far from it. The retailer wants to know absolutely and unqualifiedly the character of the goods he buys. Where ‘reworked' wool is concerned he has to trust to the statement of the seller of the fabric. To a degree he is as helpless as the buying public.
“This is a queer state of affairs. But it is not peculiar to America. The British have the same problem. They used to have a noble reputation for the excellence of their woolens. A man who bought a suit of clothes 'made in London' was a proud individual, and not infrequently would boast the garment never would wear out. Incidentally he would make disparaging remarks about the poor quality of American goods.
"Now a man in London who buys 'all wool' gets a major portion of shoddy. just as he does in America. It is said the British try to do better by their home trade than their export, for the reason that the British climate is rigorous and the people must have stout woolens or there would be much suffering, but with all their efforts shoddy is making rapid strides in the United Kingdom, and especially so since the war began in 1914 and the shortage of wool drove textile men to consider substitutes or makeshifts in order to meet the emergencies of the day.
“Technically, shoddy is wool, but it is wool that is second hand or third hand or fourth hand or fifth hand or sixth hand or seventh hand or eighth hand. It comes from the refuse pile of the woolen mill or from the old clothes dealer or the rag man, and by being ‘reworked,' that is shredded and cleansed and carbonized, it may be used again and again.
"In its pure state wool is wonderful in its wearing qualities. Any one who has worn real woolen garments appreciates this fact. But a lot of the stuff sold to-day as woolen goods is not so much wool as it is shoddy.
“The shoddy industry has assumed great proportions in America. It is said on high authority 80 per cent of the raw material used in manufacturing all wool' clothing is shoddy. That may explain why your clothes do not wear as they did in former days and why people complain of the poor quality of the woolen goods of to-day.
“Do not misunderstand the situation. There is not enough first-hand, first-class wool in the world to meet the world's needs for wool. In America the annual wool clip is only 300,000,000 pounds. That is less than 3 pounds per capita. The cotton crop, figured on a basis of 13,000,000 bales, would be 6,500,000,000 pounds, or 43 times as much as the Nation's production of wool. It must be understood, also, that all worsted goods are made of real wool, first-hand wools and not of 'reworked' stuff, which is shoddy. Deducting the large amount of wool consumed in worsted leaves only a moderate total for woolen goods.
“If the gentlemen who attend the Philadelphia conference address themselves to this question of 'shoddy,''the debate should prove one of the most interesting of the year to the textile industry, for the subject is so intricate and yet so easy of understanding that to some persons it is fascinating.
"In the first place, any one who declares that goods made of 80 per cent shoddy or 20 per cent real wool are not all wool would be stating an untruth. Shoddy is wool. There is no getting away from that fact. But it is revamped wool. It is wool that has lost strength through the reworking process to which it has been subjected, and the more times it has been reworked the poorer in quality it has become.
“There is not enough wool in the world to-day for all the needs of the people. There will be if the cultivation of sheep receives attention. That would help decidedly also in simplifying the meat problem. But whether the sheep crop is increased or not, shoddy should not be marketed as wool.
“To protect the public against fraud and safeguard the health of the Nation, Congress passed the pure food law.
“Why not a pure goods law?
“There is a thousand times more fraud in the shoddy that is passed off as wool than there ever was in the misbranding of food.
“There is a use, a legitimate use, for shoddy, but shoddy should be sold as shoddy and not as wool.
“So many men have become rich through deceiving the public by means of shoddy that they have come to be classed as ragpile millionaires. Recently, at the textile exhibition in New York, the shoddy people had booths displaying not only raw material, but finished goods of shoddy. They did not call it shoddy. In fact they protested against the term. They explained that shoddy was wool and a prejudice had developed and had broadened because of the name 'shoddy.' They had determined this should end. Therefore it was to be known henceforth as 'reworked wool.' And so it is known. And so it goes into garments. A suit of clothes may be shoddy, but it is 'all wool’ if you wish to say so. But the public understands 'all wool' to be wool that is honest wool, fresh, so to speak from the sheep's back. Therefore shoddy is not, all wool, and the public is deceived if not defrauded.
“A great number of woolen mill men want to end this shoddy fraud.
“In the schoolhouses throughout the land children at their writing exercises get sentences to write. One of the favorites for generations has been the axion that 'honesty is the best policy.'
“If it is the best policy, why dodge it?
“The Japanese, individually, have not the highest reputation for rectitude, but they are jealous of their reputation nationally.
“They are going out after world trade. They mean to establish themselves for all time in the markets of the world if possible. As a basis for enduring trade they are going to subject every article exported from Japan to rigid scrutiny. There must be no misbranding. Everything sent out must come up to specifications, must be honest, must be creditable to Japan.
"America is going after world trade.
" What will the customer of America who buys 'all wool' garments from the American manufacturer think when the trousers go lumpy at the first sprinkle because the all wool' from the ragpile has become lifeless from many carbonizations?
“Brand goods for what they are. “Sell goods for what they are.
"If hönesty is the best policy,'translate it into a fact in American trade at home and abroad."
LETTER FROM TEXTILES.
Boston, Mass., March 17, 1920. Hon. JOHN J. Esch, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Inclosed is a statement on the French and Rainey bills for labeling wool goods, which I ask you to include in the published report of the hearings on these bills before your committee. Yours, very truly,
SAM'L S. DALE, Editor.
THE FRENCH-RAINEY-CAPPER LABELING BILLS.
Boston, Mass, March 15, 1920. Hon. John J. Esch, Chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Sir: The French and Rainey textile labeling bills before your committee, also the Capper bill introduced in the Senate and a duplicate of the French bill, belong to an almost continuous succession of bills that, beginning with the Grosvenor bill of 1902, have since that time been introduced in the House and Senate to require the labeling of wool goods to show the proportions of the various materials of which the goods are composed, the supporters of these bills laying particular stress on the percentage of reclaimed wool, commonly called shoddy, as distinguished from other wool that has not previously been used in the manufacture of wool goods.
Object of the legislation.—These bills have been urged as necessary for the protection of the consumer against the adulteration of wool goods by which clothing is produced which, although attractive in appearance and selling at the price of all new wool fabrics, is lacking in durability, causing a double loss and fraud on the consumer by reason of the high price and inferior quality.
The relief for this burden proposed by the various bills has been to require goods made wholly or in part of wool to be labeled so that the purchaser could determine the value of the material by reading the inscription on the label. The gratifying results from the enforcement of the pure food laws and the acts requiring packages of various articles to be labeled to show the weight or measure have been cited as parallel cases proving the great benefits that would follow the enforcement of a law requiring the labeling of wool goods.
The consumers need protection. This line of argument has naturally had great influence with the millions of consumers loaded down with the steadily increasing cost of living and the growing burden of taxation, conditions that have been so grievously aggravated since August 1, 1914. If wool goods can be tagged so that the retail purchaser can determine their intrinsic value by reading the label, laws requiring such labeling should be enacted and enforced, because clothing is one of the three primary necessities of human life in temperate and cold climates.
A beautiful theory and an ugly fact.-- Like many of the best laid schemes of mice and men, however, this one to require the labeling of wool goods is but an illustration of a tragedy as defined by Herbert Spencer, “a beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact." I have outlined the beautiful theory. The ugly fact is that the FrenchRainey-('apper bills for labeling wool goods, not only can not be enforced, but that the attempt to enforce them would aggravate the conditions they are intended to remedy, thus laying an additional burden on the already overburdened people of this country.
Fundamental facts.--A few fundamental facts should be understood at the start and accepted without mental reservation in order to avoid wandering into bypaths of error in the consideration of the plan to label wool goods.
(a) Wool as it comes from the sheep's back varies widely in what constitutes quality, length, strength, fineness, and flexibility.
(6) Shoddy is wool obtained by tearing into a fibrous mass yarn or cloth containing wool, so that it can again be carded, spun, and woven into cloth, and also varies widely in length, strength, fineness, and flexibility of fiber, soft-twisted yarn spun from the best wool and loosely woven or knit into unfelted fabric naturally yielding the best quality of shoddy.
(c) As a result of the wide variations in the quality of wool and in the methods of spinning and twisting yarn, and weaving and finishing wool fabrics, much of the reclaimed material called shoddy is superior for the manufacture of clothing to much