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shoe, so many ounces in a 10 shoe, and so on up and down, and as to thread you would have to know how many ounces there were in each size of shoe, and if it was canvas on the inside of the upper you would have to know how many ounces or pennyweights there were of canvas in each size of shoe, because every shoe would have a little more or less than the next shoe in size, and your bill provides for the setting forth of those items, and you can see the clerical work that would be involved and the people you would have to have on that work. They would have to have an apothecary's scales in there in order to determine how much weight of each of those things there was in a different article.
Mr. REECE. A great many of those things, I think, could be obviated in determining what constituted the principal material which made up the shoe.
The CHAIRMAN. But you do not say that here. You say in respect to shoes that the manufacturer shall “cause each article to be tagged or stamped, showing the amount and kind of material other than leather used in its manufacture.” That is as wide as the world.
Mr. REECE. It was my purpose before the committee got ready to report the bill out, to amplify the bill, defining those things more carefully than it is now done.
The CHAIRMAN. You would not be in favor of such a bill as this?
Mr. REECE. That is, I would change that paragraph so as to indicate the material which should be marked. It was not my purpose to include all the material that enters into the composition of the shoe. · The CHAIRMAN. Do I make the complication clear to you, the difficulties that would attend the manufacture?
Mr. REECE. Yes, I understand that.
The CHAIRMAN. It would not only get your canvas in here, you might get half a cent's worth of canvas and 2 cents' worth of labor to handle that canvas from the time it came into the factory until it got onto the market, in the way of entries and weighing and measuring, and a thousand and one things, and where you begin to draw on labor account you begin to get your costs mounting pretty rapidly.
I wanted to call your attention to these possibilities, so that you would realize that we have quite a job on hand before we get this thing worked out.
Mr. BURTNESS. Now, if I understand your theory correctly, Mr. Reece, it is simply this: What you want is legislation that would require stamping or tagging for such portions of a shoe as are substitutes for leather and which appear to be leather, which the ordinary buyer might believe is leather.
Mr. REECE. That is correct.
Mr. BURTNESS. That is the only thing you intended to cover by your legislation, but it apparently covers more than that.
Mr. REECE. Yes; but the descriptions could easily be made so as to include only the principal article.
Mr. BURTNESS. And it is not your intention at all to cover shoes that do not purport to be made of leather?
Mr. REECE. Not at all.
CE. And one more have to com
Mr. BURTNESS. That is, canvas shoes, for instance, are not included under the terms of the bill.
Mr. REECE. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. One more thing. Mr. Burtness has brought up a very pertinent inquiry. We have to go now, but between now and to-morrow, when we will ask you to come back, please think of this: Whether or not it is worth your while to get back to the principle, maybo, of the French bill and provide for some consideration as to grades of material, even if you put in nothing but leather. There are various grades of leather of all kinds, and it is very important if you are going to tell the consumer what he is getting, to know whether he is getting number one, number two, number three, number four, number five sole leather, or this, that, or the other upper, or kangaroo one, two, or three, or sheepskin one, two, or five. He has to know all those things in order to get that. Mr. French covers that in his bill because he deals with material that can be classified, but for you to say “all leather” and let it go at that, and that leaves a fellow in the air just as much as he was when he started, because leather is a very elastic term.
We will come together at 10.30 to-morrow morning, if you please, and you will come back, Mr. Reece? Mr. REECE. Yes, sir.
(Whereupon at 12 o'clock noon, the committee adjourned until 10.30 o'clock a. m., Friday, April 18, 1924.)
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Friday, April 18, 1924. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Samuel E. Winslow (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order, please; and we will continue with the consideration of the truth-in-fabrics subject, and I will ask Colonel Wood if he will make a statement.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN P. WOOD, OF PHILADELPHIA, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOOL MANUFACTURERS
Mr. Wood. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I represent the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, which has its office at 50 State Street, Boston, Mass., and in conformity with the arrangement made by the chairman on Wednesday, with a view to saving time, my statement will also be made on behalf of the following: American Association of Woolen and Worsted Manufacturers, National Association of Woolen and Worsted Spinners, National Wholesale Dry Goods Association, Worsted Spinners' Association of Philadelphia, Cloth Manufacturers' Association of Philadelphia, and Manufacturers' Club of Philadelphia; reserving to representatives of those organizations who are present the privilege of speaking briefly upon special points which I may not adequately cover, and of filing with the committee briefs embodying the views of their several branches of industry.
The several bills relating to fabric branding, which are before your committee, can be assembled in two groups, the French bill being typical of one group, and the Rogers bill typical of the other group. I shall, therefore, discuss these two as representative of all. The ostensible purpose of both is to protect the consumer-purchaser.
Mr. French's bill comprehends only a very limited part of but one kind of consumer goods. And in that very restricted field it relates to but one factor, and that not the most important of the many characteristics which go to make quality and value. Mr. Rogers's bill applies equally to every kind of merchandise bought by the public, except food and drugs, and covers any misrepresentation. The importance of this distinction must be emphasized before considering details.
The French bill does not even include all kinds of textiles and clothing. Silk goods, linen goods, boots, shoes, and other leather goods, articles of rubber, and many other of the common necessities of everyday wear are omitted from its provisions. Although purporting to deal with manufactures of wool, it excludes from its provisions a very large portion of all the woolen garments and fabrics of retail commerce, for it takes no account of the enormous quantity and great variety of knitted products, all of which stand in precisely the same relation to the purpose of the bill as those products to which it does relate. Knitted goods are made from the same raw materials as woven goods, and many knitted fabrics can only be distinguished from woven ones by a technical expert.
Here, for example, is an overcoat, which I have no doubt Mr. French will be surprised to learn is made of knitted cloth, and that his bill would not apply to the garment nor the cloth of which it is made, although any and all of the raw materials with which the bill is concerned can be used in the manufacture of such a fabric. Examine it as closely as you may, you will not be likely to discover any difference between this coat, to which the bill would not apply, and one made of similar, but woven, cloth, to which it would apply.
There have been developed lately changes and improvements in the process of knitting which make it possible to produce cloths by the knitted system that are for all practical purposes identical with woven cloths. This is an example, the coat which I have been wearing for the last three years.
Even in the very narrow field to which Mr. French's bill is restricted, it relates only to the raw fiber. That is very much the same as though a building code should be adopted which took nothing into account but cement and lime, made no distinction between poor and good cement or between good and poor lime, and applied no standards of construction, no requirements as to durability of foundations, nor strength of walls, nor any of the many things which go to make a safe structure.
In the production of woolen goods the quality of the raw material is important, but is of less consequence than the characteristics of structure and finish.
Even with regard to the one thing to which the bill does partially and superficially relate, it follows no standards of goodness. Its only discrimination being in terms of popular misinformation.
This can be made clear, and a better understanding of the whole subject can be had by examining specimens of a few of the innumerable kinds of fiber which are included in the terms wool and reworked wool.
Elemental substances like lead, copper, silver, and gold are uniform in their characteristics under all conditions. A pound of pure silver has precisely the same qualities from whatever source it is obtained.
The French bill assumes that wool has a similar characteristic of uniformity, and it would have the consumer infer that all virgin wool is of equal merit. Let us see how far the advocates of this measure would go in deceiving the public.
Here is a specimen of fine wool, just as it is shorn from the sheep. In this condition about two-thirds of its weight consists of dirt and grease, which has to be removed by scouring. Price about 75 cents.
Next is some of the same wool after cleansing. In this condition it is worth at the present time about $1.50 per pound. But not all of this, shorn from the same sheep, is equally good. Some of the individual hairs or fibers are long and some are very short. When the longer ones are separated from the shorter, there results this, known as top, worth about $1.75 a pound, and this, which is called noil, worth 35 cents the pound. Note the difference in the length of staple. It requires no technical experience to realize the great difference. From this, the top, very strong yarn and durable cloth can be made, while the noil, an exceedingly useful material for certain purposes, would not by itself make a strong thread and fabric. But, equally with the top, it is virgin wool; and inferior fabrics made largely of this material would, under Mr. French's measure, be entitled to the brand virgin wool equally with those made wholly of such stock as this.
In that connection, I want to answer a question which was asked on the first day of the hearings, as to the distinction between woolen and worsted goods, which is probably important to keep before you in the consideration of this whole subject. As I have just explained, the wool as grown on the sheep consists of fibers of different lengths. By the woolen process, which is the most ancient, all of the wool is manufactured together, the long and the short staple. It is carded in such a way that the separate fibers are not parallel with each other, but are interlaced at different angles. After going through the cards it is made into yarn by a single process of spinning, which makes a relatively rough thread, such as is suitable for homespuns and tweeds and heavy goods which are fulled or milled.
Worsteds are made of wool in the same sense that carded-wool goods are. They are made entirely of the wool, but by a process of separation of the long from the short fibers. The long fiber is made into what is called “top," the first stage of manufacture, and the short fibers are all combed out and are used for other manufacturing purposes. From that point on the processes are similiar, except that in the making of the worsted yarn. The purpose is to lay the separate fibers side by side, parallel with each other, by repeated drawings and doublings together of different filaments, drawing four or five together into one, and then again laying four or five different ones side by side and drawing them down to one. By frequent
repetition of the doubling and drawing the greatest possible uniformity in the yarn is obtained.
The difference between the finished products, woolens and worsteds, is not itself to be measured by degrees of goodness. Both woolen goods and worsted goods are each meritorious in their own field. The distinction is that the worsted fabric is made usually of more uniform yarns, smoother yarns, and in strength would be somewhat stronger because of the elimination of the short fiber. But the matter of tensile strength in woolen goods is a comparatively unimportant item, because almost any woolen cloth suitable for manufacture into garments is apt to be stronger than the normal requirements of wear call for. The questions of durability rather goes to other matters, such as surface wear.
The varieties of virgin wool are countless; and they vary from this. beautiful, silky, and strong staple to these nearly worthless shearlings, taken from the pelts of sheep that were slaughtered for mutton shortly after the shearing time, and before there was time for a new growth of wool. Sheep, of course, go to the butcher at all seasons of the year, and the shearing is generally done but once. If the slaughtering happens to be done very shortly after the shearing, of course the wool is exceedingly short in staple, and almost worthless for ordinary manufacturing purposes. The fiber has hardly any length at all. Poor as these are, they are new, virgin wool, and entitled to all of the distinction and special honor which the French bill bestows without discrimination upon all that has not previously been spun or woven.
Here are other specimens of inferior, comparatively worthless, virgin wool.
Tag locks; portions of the fleece so matted with filth that they can not be cleansed by ordinary means. They are cut from the fleece and sold for special treatment to remove the foreign matter. The market price in this condition is about 3 cents. When cleansed they are of short length, harsh, and apt to be very weak.
Another is paint locks The owner's identification mark or brand is sometimes put on the sheep with a tar paint, which is so difficult to remove, that it is cheaper to cut off the ends of the fiber to which the paint adheres. These short ends are, like the tag locks previously menticned, reclaimed by the application of suitable solvent. But when cleaned they are of too short length, and too much impaired to have much value They, nevertheless, are under the French bill just as much entitled to the term virgin wool as the beautiful material first shown to you. The price of the paint locks is about 5 cents a pound.
Here are some by-products that qualify as virgin wool according to the definition. It is unnecessary to take up your time with detailed descriptions. Their appearance proclaims their inferiority:
Woolen card fly, worth about 3 cents a pound; woolen card burr waste, worth about 6 cents a pound; woolen card strips, worth about 3 cents a pound.
It would take a great deal of time to exhibit and explain a comprehensive collection of all varieties of wool, of which there are many hundred sorts, differingin fineness from a gossamer filament like the top I have shown you, to coarse and stiff hair like this 36/40 South American. Differing in length from 8 or 9 inches to some so short they