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Shoddy is wool that has previously been used one or more times and therefore it is both second hand and a substitute for virgin wool.
Furthermore, the principle and the issue involved in the use and sale of a second hand article in place of a new article is always precisely the same as the issue involved in the use and sale of a substitute in place of the genuine.
You state in your letter that my arguments would indicate that I am supporting the measure because I believe the consumer needs protection. I certainly am supporting the truth in fabric bill because I believe the consumer positively does need protection.
You further state that my belief that the consumer needs protection must be based on the idea that the statement of previous history of the fiber would be some guide to the consumer as to the wearing quality of the cloth, and you state that it must be conceded that this question of wear or serviceability is the only thing in which the purchaser is interested.
The purchaser is, of course, interested in the wear or serviceability of the cloth, but for you or anyone to state that that is the only thing in which the purchaser is interested is preposterous. A paramount consideration of the purchaser always, and the thing which the purchaser desires first of all to know is whether he is purchasing a new or second-hand article, a substitute or the genuine, and the reason that the purchaser desires first of all to know this fact is to protect himself against the fraud of being forced to buy a second-hand article or a substitute against his will and to pay for the second-hand article or the substitute a higher price than would be paid if the truth were known. This reason is entirely distinct and a thing apart from the purchaser's interest in knowing concerning the durability or desirability of an article. For example:
A second-hand suit of clothes may possess infinitely greater value and may give far greater wear and serviceability than a new suit of clothes. This fact, however, does not lessen the purchaser's desire to know that it is a second-hand suit that he is purchasing, and the reason that he desires to know that it is a second-hand suit has nothing at all to do with the wear or serviceability of the suit, but merely to protect himself against the fraud of being sold a second-hand suit as a new suit and at a higher price than he would pay for a second-hand suit.
The Capper-French truth in fabric bill, like the pure food laws, does not appraise or certify quality but merely makes it compulsory to identify substitutes in order that the purchaser may be protected against the fraud of being forced to purchase a substitute against his will and to pay for a substitute a higher price than would be paid if the truth were known.
It is not the function of the pure food laws to appraise or certify quality. It is merely the function of the pure food laws to identify substitutes and adulterants and for the reason already stated, yet notwithstanding the pure food laws only perform this one function and do not give the purchaser information concerning the degree of food value or wholesomeness of the food, yet so valuable is this one function that the pure food laws have the support of a universal and tremendous public sentiment and no sensible person would think of suggesting their repeal.
Your letter seems to me to endeavor to create the impression that the National Consumers' League is opposed to the identification of substitutes in cloth. Such an impression is entirely contrary to the statements put in evidence by the National Consumers' League at the hearings on the truth in fabric bill before the House committee in March, 1920. The following is quoted from testimony of the National Consumers' League:
"Last November at the annual meeting of the National Consumers' League the following resolution was passed:
"'We believe that statutory honesty, such as is now enforced by the Federal pure food law * * * will be equally useful when applied to cloth. *
“This resolution was embodied in the program for our next 10 years of work.
“On March 8, Mrs. Florence Kelley, who is our general secretary, wrote to the leaders of the political parties and made the following suggestions to be embodied in their political platforms:
''We stand for the application to the textile industries of the same principle of compulsory correct branding and labeling already established in relation to food and drugs.
“Mr. Chairman, I am appearing to put our organization on record behind this proposition. It seems to us entirely fair. It could not work any hardship, from our point of view, on either the shoddy people or the woolen people."
You state in your letter that none of the large and active organizations of consumers appeared in support of the truth in fabric bill. All of us are consumers of woolen cloth whatever our affiliations or by whatever designation we may be known.
The farm organizations are among the largest and most active consumers' organizations that I know of. The local farm organizations are organized into major national organizations and all of these major farm organizations, representing millions of members, all consumers, have appeared for the Capper-French truth in fabric bill at all congressional hearings that have been held.
Dr. Genevieve Tucker, representing the Women's Club of Davenport, Iowa, in her testimony for the Capper-French truth in fabric bill at the hearings, said:
"I come to speak for the women consumers of fabrics and clothes in the homes."
A telegram from the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs received and inserted in the records of the Senate hearings on the Capper-French truth in fabric bill, is as follows:
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 5, 1921. 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 and ask for its passage.
Mrs. W. H. SHARP. A letter from Richard H. Lee, then special counsel of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, received during the Senate hearings on the Capper-French truth in fabric bill and inserted in the record, contained the following statement:
"I wish you would let me know if the hearings are to be continued for any length of time, and if so I will arrange to get down later. If they are not, then I would suggest that you read my testimony, previously taken, into the present record, and I authorize you to say that I would testify to the same things to-day if I were personally present.”
In this statement which Mr. Lee made, representing the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, and which he asked to have read into the record of the Senate hearings, the following assertion appears:
“If you were to put this proposition up to 100 people to-day and tell them you had a bill like this measure to protect the public in buying textiles so that when wool was mentioned it would be mentioned intelligently and have some meaning, ninety-nine out of a hundred would be for the bill. I have tried it myself. I have spoken to a number of persons and with 100 per cent result along that line.'
From a multitude of facts that could be quoted, these are only a few pieces of evidence quoted from the official record of hearings on the Capper-French truth in fabric bill, and in the face of these facts your statement that none of the large and active organizations appeared in support of the bill, and your further statement that the sheep growers as a class were the only witnesses who appeared at the hearings in favor of the bill, are astounding.
You argue that if fabrics and clothes were stamped virgin wool it would be possible for the clothing manufacturer to procure unwarranted prices for poor quality virgin wool fabrics, and you express concern for the purchaser and deplore the undoing which you say would result to the purchaser.
That your arguments are fallacious and that the fear you allege is unfounded are proven by the fact that cheap, coarse virgin wool, or cheaply constructed virgin wool fabrics can not be made to appear better than they are, and in consequence the purchaser will not pay unwarranted prices for the same. Shoddy fabrics, however, can be made to have precisely the same appearance as virgin wool fabrics notwithstanding the shoddy fabrics are greatly inferior, and because both shoddy and virgin wool are sold under the same names-the names of
wool," "all wool," and "pure wool," the price of virgin wool may be procured for shoddy.
In this fear which you profess you also completely ignore the following facts:
1. That no shoddy is now sold as shoddy but is all sold under the same name as virgin wool, the name of "wool.”
Ž Leading merchants, both retail and wholesale, have for years featured the term "wool as one of their leading selling points and have taught the people to trust the term "wool” implicitly as meaning genuineness and superiority.
3. The people do not even suspect that the term “wool” includes shoddy.
4 As the result of the three facts stated above an inordinate price can be procured for all grades of shoddy, even the most inferior, with the result that the consumer is defrauded and a tremendous premium is placed upon the sale of
all grades of shoddy, while the sale and price of virgin wool are correspondingly and inordinately decreased.
Why if you fear and desire to prevent the undoing of the purchaser have you not expressed concern at the undoing and defrauding that now result to the consumer from the four facts enumerated above?
You state that the truth in fabric bill has provided an entirely new definition for shoddy instead of what you term the old meaning of the word, namely, “Wool that has been recovered from yarn or cloth, and you present the theory that the definition of shoddy as designated in the bill is a deliberate attempt to make the word "shoddy" an anathema.
Shoddy, of course, includes recovered wool fibers just as wool manufacture includes woolens; and it would be as unreasonable to contend that only recovered or used fibers of wool are shoddy, as to contend that only woolen fabrics are of wool manufacture. For example:
The National Association of Wool Manufacturers includes among its members, manufacturers who manufacture woolens and it includes other manufacturers who manufacture worsteds. Both worsted and woolen fabrics are of wool manufacture and may be truthfully described as “wool,” just as recovered or used fibers, whether of wool or some other fiber, are shoddy.
Further, the definition of shoddy which the Capper-French truth in fabric bill gives is not a new definition. The United States Government in its census of manufactures in 1914 gives the following definition of shoddy:
"'Shoddy' is the generic term applied to recovered wool, cotton, jute, or other fiber of any sort * * *."
The Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary gives the following definition of shoddy cloth: • “Cloth made of shoddy, or any cheap or poorly constructed cloth having cheap substitutes for wool."
As a further definition of the word “shoddy" this same dictionary states: “Anything inferior or adulterated."
Therefore, we have the proof that the Capper-French bill's definition of shoddy is neither new nor unusual, but is the definition both of the United States Government and of a standard dictionary, for years in general use with the people.
You express great fear that some of the substitutes for virgin wool used in wool cloth will, if they are sold as shoddy, impair the prestige of shoddy.
In the United States Government's census of manufacturers, in the table tabulating materials used in woolen and worsted fabrics, there appears items in which camel, alpaca, vicuna hair, and mohair are enumerated. Following this appears an item described as follows:
* All other animal hair."
Here is the evidence that various animal hair of unnamed animals is used in the manufacture of wool cloth. Corroboration of this in provided by the following:
In a letter signed by A. R. Balcon, chief metallurgical engineer of the Acme Engineering Co., of Toronto, addressed to the minister of labor, the following statement is made:
“For some considerable time I have been making tests and analytically examining samples of goods secured from various manufacturers * * * and the discovery is simply appalling. As an example, one reputable business house sent me samples ranging from $45 to $75 for an ordinary suit, the higher priced ones being guaranteed to be 'all wool,' and on examining these, in no instance was there 10 per cent of wool in any of the cloth. On the contrary, the cloth was spun from woolen rags put together and a small amount of wool that is what is known as new wool, and the fur clippings from various fur-bearing animals.
* “If you will start an analytical examination you can easily verify my state
You express no concern that hair of unnamed animals and other conglomerate and inferior stuff is sold under the name of "wool," but you express great concern lest any of these materials should be sold under the name of shoddy.
Why is it, Mr. Whitman, that you are so concerned least the prestige of shoddy should be injured by the various substitutes for virgin wool being classed and sold as shoddy, while you express no concern whatever at the injury that now results to the prestige of virgin wool from selling all these various hair materials of unnamed animals enumerated in the United States census of manufacturers, : as being used in wool shoddy cloth, and also selling even the most inferior grades of wool shoddy under the name under which virgin wool is sold?
You attempt to minimize the amount of shoddy that is used by stating that no shoddy can be used in worsteds, and by asserting that statistics show that 60 per cent of the total yardage of wool cloth made in the United States is worsteds.
Mr. Maxwell, then treasurer of the Hockanum Mills, worsted manufactures, in his statement to the Committee on Military Affairs of the United States Senate, in January, 1918, at the hearings on the investigation of the War Department, said:
“There has been some introduction of reworked wool in the worsted cloth * * *."
Here is a statement made by a fabric manufacturer that appears to be in direct conflict with your statement that no shoddy is, or can be used in worsteds. However, how much shoddy is used in worsteds, or whether any is used is immaterial. The truth in fabric issue does not hinge on the amount of shoddy that is used or whether or not shoddy is used in worsteds. Certain basic facts, however, are known on this point, namely:
That for more than a decade not more than one-third enough virgin wool has been grown in the world per year to make the wool cloth that is each vear manufactured.
Here is a well-known fact that can not be successfully disputed and which you completely ignore, while the inference which you suggest from your quotations of statistics as to the percentage of worsted cloth and woolen cloth that is manufactured, is an arbitrary assumption in direct conflict with the known facts of the case.
You state that you are sure the woolen manufacturers will be only too glad to . cooperate in standardizing cloth value, but you contend that knowing the content of the cloth, whether it is virgin wool or substitutes, would only serve to mislead the buyer, because it would, you state, be no indication of the quality of the finished cloth."
Those manufacturers and distributors who profited by unidentified substitutes and adulterants in food, as the result of procuring from the purchaser a higher price than would be paid if the purchaser knew that food contained a substitute or adulterant, also contended that to identify substitutes and adulterants in food would prove misleading to the buyer, because it would not indicate the food value or wholesomeness of the food, and these opponents of the pure food laws would also have been very glad to have cooperated in standardizing and certifying the degree of nutrition food contained if, by so doing, substitutes and adulterants would never have been identified.
So the position and contention of you and the fabric manufacturers whose cooperation you offer are perfectly analogous to the position of the opponents of the pure food laws.
Those who directly or indirectly profit by the practice of permitting the purchaser to believe a substitute is the genuine, in order to force the sale of substitutes and to procure from the purchaser a higher price for the substitute than would be paid if the truth were known, may be expected to oppose the CapperFrench truth in fabric bill.
This fraudulent practice of permitting the purchaser to believe a substitute is the genuine by selling both the substitute and the genuine under the same name, provides the opportunity and the inducement to palm off substitutes for the genuine. This pernicious practice provides the opportunity and the inducement to palm off substitutes as virgin wool. It penalizes the right and places a high premium on the wrong.
It provides an adequate motive to explain the opposition to the Capper-French truth in fabric bill of fabric manufacturers and the shoddy interests for whom you speak.
Human experience shows a strange, perverse tendency of human nature that results ofttimes in those on whom a wrong confers a benefit becoming unconscious of the wrong.
Fabric manufacturers, and the shoddy interests have long enjoyed an unfair advantage and benefit as the result of the fraudulent practice of permitting the purchaser to believe shoddy is virgin wool, and it appears that they are no longer conscious of this wrong.
Otherwise, it is inconceivable that those of such high integrity would continue to defend a practice so indefensible as is the practice of permitting the purchaser to believe the substitute is the genuine by selling both the substitute and the genuine under the same name, in order to procure for the substitute a higher price than would be paid if the truth were known.
An indication of how honest merchants feel toward this truth in fabric proposition may be had from the following typical quotation:
1. Quoted from a letter from a retail clothier:
"I want to go on record as strongly favoring Senator Capper's bill of truth in fabric.
“The necessity of such a bill is a reflection on the clothing industry, as it is conducted at the present time.
"How an honest merchant or manufacturer can oppose this measure gets me.
"" 'I have been in the clothing game over 35 years and I recall no time when the clothing industry was in as bad repute with the buying public as at present.
"We are now reaping what we have sown. I wonder when we, as a Nation, will realize that ‘right is might.' That righteousness exalteth a Nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”
2. A representative of the National Association of Merchant Tailors who appeared before the Senate committee for the truth in fabric bill said:
"The National Association of Merchant Tailors is one of the largest organizations in this country, * * *
“I am here to-day in behalf of the merchant tailors of this country, as well as the consumers whom the merchant tailor has finally to deal with, * *
"So I am not here to-day to boom the wool man or the cotton man or the silk man, but I am here to ask you to pass this legislation to protect the consumers, * * *
"I do not see why he or she (the American citizen) should be compelled to put on this rubbish that is being sold by these unscrupulous manufacturers for ‘pure wool.”
3. The Pacific Coast Merchant Tailors' Association:
"On behalf of every reputable merchant tailor west of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Coast Merchant Tailors' Association earnestly urges favorable consideration of the Capper truth in fabric bill, for the following reasons:
"A. It is the only means of protecting merchant tailors and their customers from an imposition upon them of cloth containing shoddy and other adulterations under the guise of all-wool fabrics.
"B. It is as essential that the public be protected from impure clothing as from impure food, and the proposed bill is parallel to the pure food law.
"C. The public believes that it is getting virgin wool when it buys what is represented as an all-wool garment. The public has a right to be freed from the imposition and fraud thus practiced upon it."
4. Letter from the Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City, Mo.:
"This organization is strongly in favor of the basic principle in this bill, believing that it would insure square business dealing, protection to the cloth-buying public, and a square deal to the American sheep industry.
“Will you not give this bill your hearty support and see that it is not smothered in the committee?'
Literature which the opponents of the Capper-French truth in fabric bill have distributed among merchants, sets forth as facts, conclusions based on premises that are untenable and irrelevant. Although by means of this specious literature and other efforts certain merchants and certain merchants' organizations may be deluded into temporarily aligning themselves with the opponents of the bill, and may endeavor to prevent the enactment of the measure, this will only result in making the public more indignant at the efforts to prevent the enactment of this just legislation and more determined that the truth in fabric bill shall be put on the statute books. Evidence of this is provided in the following:
"TRUTH IN FABRIC BILL
"PHILADELPHIA STANDARD AND TIMES
“February 25, 1922. “What a firm hold dishonesty has obtained on our commercial life is well and graphically illustrated by protest of the retail clothiers of New York and New Jersey against the truth in fabric bill introduced in the New Jersey Legislature. This bill demands that merchandise be truthfully labeled with regard to the raw products from which it has been manufactured. Consequently, a garment made from shoddy or cotton could not be sold as wool. Evidently the law is intended for the protection of the buyer and to safeguard the public against deception.
“The protest reveals a peculiar twist of mind and would indicate that the retail business is built up on a basis of deception and that it can not thrive in the light of the truth. · It is only fair, however, that the public should know what it is