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Mr. MAPES. Personally I would be glad to have your views about the Rogers misbranding bill, as distinguished from the French truthin-fabrics bill, if you will develop it as you go along.
Mr. SILVER. If I may say just before I answer that if the committee will permit me to insert in the record what I otherwise would have read, that is, the remainder of my direct statement; also the letter and the brief of the Wyoming Wool Growers' Association, along with the list of the supporting people, I would have nothing further to say unless it is in response to questions you wish to ask.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be permitted. Mr. HAWES. I request that the gentleman be permitted to insert such matter as he desires in the record in addition to any other resolutions on the subject.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be granted. Mr. SILVER. Thank you very much. (The papers referred to are as follows:)
STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY MR. SILVER
The difference in the cost of the virgin wool and shoddy which enters into the cloth of a man's suit is about two or three dollars and therefore does not bear any direct relation to the difference in the cost of the suit of clothes. It is the height of asininity to claim that it would materially increase the cost of clothing if virgin wool were used in place of shoddy. We are not advocating that virgin wool be used in every place where shoddy is now employed, but we do maintain that when a man pays $60 for a suit of clothes instead of $30 that he is entitled to know that he is not getting a shoddy suit. The passage of the Capper-French truth-in-fabric bill would accomplish this end.
Neither can it be argued that the marking of fabrics is so expensive that it will raise the price of a suit of clothes or of any garments. We are not asking that an expensive process be used. We are entirely content with the most inexpensive. We do not ask that the percentage of wool, shoddy, muck, mungo, cotton, silk, or other fabrics be woven into the selvage edge of the cloth; we are content with a waterproof stamp which will mark the goods automatically as they are woven which will not require even as much attention as the looms which now spin day in and day out with practically no care whatever. So when the manufacturers of clothing advertise that the passage of the CapperFrench truth-in-fabric bill will increase the cost of clothing, they are fabricating a falsehood which is even worse than the shoddy clothing which they foist upon the public. No law catches all crooks, but that is no reason for not enacting all the safeguards possible. Even the Federal Trade Commission does not eliminate all the bad practices in the country.
Manufacturers of woolens know as well as anybody else that wool has certain qualities which make it a much better garment than cotton for some purposes. They know, or at least their mothers' knew, that woolen goods are particularly needed in properly dressing infants, yet they manufacture garments of cotton for infants instead of from wool and call it “Alabama wool.” The public by this label is lead to believe that the cloth is of wool instead of cotton.
The foisting of this percentage of reworked wool on the public is nothing more nor less than an employment of the "fire-sale” methods in the woolen clothing industry and Congress through its refusal to pass a truth-in-fabric bill countenances such a display of greed. We can not talk of it in any other terms and we can not think of Congress's action in any other way for a truth-in-fabric bill has been before Congress for more than 22 years. There is no reason to believe that every Member of Congress has not been informed regarding this bill. Unfortunately, however, due to the rules and regulations of Congress, Congress itself has never had the opportunity of voting on the question. The furthest the bill has ever progressed was being reported from the Senate Committee last session.
Farmers and consumers long have been cognizant of this situation in Congress. They have not relished it, but, due to the strength of certain factions through organization and otherwise, the lid has been clamped on the truth-in-fabric law and so much weight placed there that the farmers and the rest of the consumers have not been able to move it. The revised rules, however, we hope will make it possible even to move as inert a mass as we have had to contend with for lo these long years.
The woolen manufacturers introduced testimony before the Senate committee to the effect that tests have been made by certain people in an endeavor to determine the percentage of virgin wool and shoddy in the various fabrics. The result was that these people who are classed as experts are unable to tell the difference without submitting the clothing to wear. That is exactly what the consumers and farmers have been claiming right along, that they could not tell when they purchased woolen goods whether it contains a small or large amount of shoddy and therefore for self-protection the Congress should pass a truth-infabric bill. The manufacturers seem to think that the tests were made by some of the most competent men in the country. They proved to a nicety our side of the case. If they had submitted clothing full of shoddy and clothing from virgin wool to wearing tests, exposure to weather, etc., we are certain that the shoddy garments would have no more stood up under the wearing then they do in actuality.
I do not want the committee to get the impression that this legislation is purely for the benefit of the farmers. I represent the farmers in this matter and that is why I am stressing their side of the case. They consume fully half of the wool produced here in the United States and therefore are not only producers but consumers. They produce virgin wool and are not able to purchase it for they can't tell it when they see it on the market. All they know is that when they purchase goods loaded with shoddy that it does not wear and they frequently do not get their money's worth.
The farmers, of course, are the backbone of the woolen industry; take away the virgin wool and the shoddy would not last long. The situation as it is at present protects the immigrants who have turned rag pickers and junk dealers who have raked this country for cast-off wearing apparel and have grown rich even before they could learn to speak the English language. The farmers, representing a third of the population, the producers of the raw products and virgin wool, do not propose that the rag pickers and the shoddy, mungo, and muck producers go out of business. They do, however, request Congress to make them label their goods so as to protect the public.
Listed here are only a few of the hundred of organizations definitely on record for truth in fabric legislation making it compulsory to identify substitutes:
National Housewives' League, New York, N. Y.
New York City Colony of the National Society of New England Women, New York, N. Y.
Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs, Columbus, Ohio.
Chamber of Commerce, Hollister, Calif.
Bozeman Commercial Club, Bozeman, Mont.
American Farm Bureau Federation, National Grange, National Board of Farm Organizations, Farmers' National Congress (a majority of the members of these organizations do not own sheep).
IMPORTANT!— PLEASE READ ThoughTFULLY
After careful investigation and consideration the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs at its annual convention unanimously passed a resolution indorsing the French-Capper truth in fabric bill. The Ohio federation has a membership of 100,000 women. We understand this bill and ask for its passage. Copy sent to chairman.
Mrs. W. H. SHARP.
SENATOR CAPPER REPLIES TO OPPONENT OF TRUTH IN FABRIC BILL-OBJEC
TIONS TO THE CAPPER-FRENCH TRUTH IN FABRIC BILL ANSWERED
The people have been taught to trust the term “wool” as denoting genuineness and superiority
The people do not even suspect that shoddy as well as virgin wool is sold under the term “wool.”
The fact is, however, that even the most inferior shoddy may be “all wool” and "pure wool.”
This taking advantage of the people's misunderstanding of the terms “wool,” “pure wool," and "all wool” by permitting shoddy to counterfeit virgin wool is one of the greatest wrongs ever committed in business.
To permit this wrong to go uncorrected is to strike a blow at the very principles of justice upon which our Nation and our institutions are founded.
It is a fraud to permit the purchaser to believe that a secondhand article is new or that a substitute is the genuine.
Great quantities of shoddy (a substitute for virgin wool) are sold unidentified in cloth and clothes, and the people are defrauded by being permitted to believe this shoddy is virgin wool.
This fraud can only be prevented by legislation that makes it compulsory to identify shoddy.
The Capper-French truth in fabric bill makes it compulsory to identify substitutes for virgin wool and will prevent this fraud that now results from unidentified shoddy.
All those who directly or indirectly profit by the practice of selling shoddy unidentified and by thus permitting the people to believe shoddy to be virgin wool procure a higher price for shoddy than would be paid if the truth were known, may be expected to oppose the Capper-French truth in fabric bill.
These opponents of the Capper-French truth in fabric bill are employing the same sophistry and specious arguments against the bill that for thirty years were used against the proposed pure food laws.
The opponents of the Capper-French truth in fabric bill, though small in number, are powerful in influence and in order to offset this influence, the united and vigorous effort in behalf of the Capper-French truth in fabric bill is necessary of all who desire that the people of the United States shall be protected against the fraud that now results from unidentified shoddy in cloth and clothes. (J. B. Wilson, Vice President and Secretary, National Sheep and Wool Bureau of America.)
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Quoted from letter from United States Senator Arthur Capper, a sponsor of the truth in fabric bil Alfred A. Whitman, a fabric manufacturer, a leader of the opponents of the bill, and a spokesman for shoddy interests)
In your letter of June 28 in which you speak for Messrs. Meyers-Lipman Wool Stock Co. (shoddy dealers) you state that my inference is that shoddy is a substitute for virgin wool.
Your letter indicates that you believe the practice of selling shoddy unidentified would be considered less reprehensible if the idea could be established that shoddy is not a substitute for virgin wool, and evidently with this purpose in view you state:
“Shoddy is wool, not a substitute for wool, * *
The National Association of Wool Manufacturers, in its arguments against the truth in fabric bill compiled and presented at the congressional hearings, made this statement:
“It has been shown that reworked wool (shoddy) blended with new wool in certain wool fabrics makes possible the production of fabrics at a low price which can be made entirely of new wool only at a much higher price. Fabrics of these substitute materials, *
* * * You are asked to note that shoddy is here designated a substitute by the National Association of Wool Manufacturers.
At the hearings of the Committee of Military Affairs of the United States Senate, January, 1918, investigating the War Department, Winthrop L. Marvin, then secretary and treasurer of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, said:
“On account, primarily, of recommendations of the manufacturers' committee * * * that Army specification was changed on May 15, 1917, to a construction of 65 per cent of wool and 35 per cent of wool substitutes * That change was made because the wool manufacturers who made the cloth believed that the introduction of 35 per cent of wool substitute-reworked wool-would give a warmer and more comfortable fabric for the use of the soldiers than a cloth that contained 25 per cent of cotton.”
Your attention is again called to the fact that shoddy is here also designated. as a substitute for virgin wool.
We have here corroboration of two facts:
2. That the fact that shoddy is a substitute for virgin wool is recognized by the National Association of Wool Manufacturers and by the United States Government.
You attempt to bolster up your preposterous claim that shoddy is not a substitute for virgin wool by referring to the continuance in shoddy of the same chemical constituents found in virgin wool.
A substitute is an article that is used in place of another, and the fact that the substitute article may have the same chemical properties as the article in place of which it is used in no sense modified the fact that the article used in place of another article is a substitute. A suit of woolen clothes, for instance, that has been worn still has the same chemical properties that the suit had when it was new and had never been worn. After the suit has been worn, however, it becomes a second hand suit and may be sold by a second hand clothes dealer, and when so sold it is a substitute for a new suit.