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PARAGRAPH 536–COAL-TAR PRODUCTS.
Whereas the domestic production of creosote oil is not nearly sufficient to meet the demand and it therefore is necessary to import large quantities of this oil from European countries; and
Whereas the total importation of creosote oil for the year 1912 amounted to approximately 60,000,000 gallons, all of which was used as in previous years for the preservation of timber, such as railroad ties, bridge and construction timber, telegraph and telephone poles, paving blocks, etc., amounting in total to approximately 750,000,000 board feet of timbers; and
Whereas the preservation of timber by treatment with creosote oil serves to increase the life of the timber from three to five times its natural life or its life untreated; and
Whereas for the reasons just given wood preservation is one of the most potent factors in the preservation of our natural timber resources and its results of the greatest and most direct aid to the Federal and State Governments in their endeavor to retard deforestation and its manifold harmful consequences and to perpetuate our forest resources; and
Whereas a duty on creosote oil would seriously interfere with the constantly increasing development of timber preservation which should be encouraged by all possible means, and be a direct contradiction of the present Government policy of forest conservation on national forests and on forest lands acquired in order that they may be conserved: Therefore be it
Resolved, That we, the American Wood Preservers’ Association, in consideration of the foregoing reasons, respectfully recommend to the Ways and Means Committee of the House and to Congress that creosote oil remain on the free list as heretofore and no duty be imposed thereon.
STATEMENT OF MARCH G. BENNETT, GENERAL MANAGER
OF SAMUEL CABOT (INC.), BOSTON, MASS., REGARDING CREOSOTE.
Four years ago I submitted to this committee the following brief asking that creosote be kept on the free list, where it has long been.
We are distillers of tar and refiners and handlers of creosote and other crude coal-tar products. These products are all upon the free list, and we do not ask for any change, but, noting in the statement submitted to the committee by Mr. Stewart Chaplin, representing the Semet-Solvay Co., at the hearing on Tuesday, November 10, a suggestion that the committee consider placing a duty upon creosote, accompanied by reasons why such a duty would be advisable, we respectfully call the attention of the committee to the following important reasons for continuing creosote upon the free list, where it now is under section 524:
(1) The domestic output of creosote is entirely insufficient to supply the demand, and probably three-quarters of it is handled or controlled by two large corporations, one of which is a consolidation of many small companies.
(2) The demand is practically certain to increase faster than the supply:
(3) The price of creosote is now higher than ever before and is tending upward for the above reasons.
(4) Creosote is used mostly for wood preservation; it is the best wood preservative known. The economy of preserving wood has only recently been generally recognized in this country, but now a large number of plants for wood preserving exist, and their number is growing rapidly. Railroad, mining, and other large corporations have plants for treating their ties, piles, planking, etc. Many woodpreserving companies turn out all kinds of preserved lumber for general purposes, including wood paving blocks for streets and
PARAGRAPH 536-COAL-TAR PRODUCTS.
Government contractors erect plants for treating lumber for Government docks, etc., where creosote is required as a protection against both decay and destructive worms. This industry, which is a very important factor in the conservation of our timber supply, would be handicapped by a duty.
(5) The output of tar will not be increased for the purpose of producing creosote alone, because if that were so the present high price of creosote combined with the economies of the by-product oven in other directions would already have produced the increase. It is the lack of a market for the other products of tar that keeps down the production.
(6) If for other reasons the output of tar does increase, there will be a proportional increase in the output of creosote, but it will be a great many years before the domestic production, under the most favorable conditions, will be at all adequate to supply the demand.
Every statement in the above brief can now be repeated with great emphasis. The price of creosote is much higher even than it was then, and its use in this country has increased enormously, while the domestic supply has become relatively smaller. The 5 per cent duty which is proposed by House bill 20182 will not stimulate the production of creosote in this country, but will only result in increasing the price to the consumer, because the price of creosote is established in England, where the bulk of the supply is produced, and the cost to American users will then be increased by the amount of the duty paid. This increase will apply to both imported and domestic creosote. The revenue derived will be so small as to be negligible, and certainly not sufficient to compensate for the annoyance and labor caused both to the consumer and the Government by the imposition and collection of a duty.
I therefore again respectfully urge upon your committee that there is no adequate reason for imposing a duty upon creosote and very many important reasons why it should remain on the free list.
LETTER OF BRITTON & GRAY REGARDING COAL-TAR
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 7, 1913. Hon. OSCAR W. UNDERWOOD, Chairman Committee on Ways and Means,
House of Representatives. DEAR SIR: In the bill H. R. 20182, as passed by the House on February 2, 1912, paragraph 23, page 6, lines 15–19, reads:
“Coal-tar products known as dead and creosote oil, soluble and sulfonated dead and creosote oil, anthracene and anthracene oil, benzol, naphthol, resorcin, toluol, xylol; all the foregoing not medicinal and not colors or dyes, five per centum ad valorem."
We beg to call your attention to the extended use made of creosote oil in the preseryation of ties and timber in railroad construction and maintenance. One of the railroads we represent is now spending more than $500,000 annually for creosote oil for this purpose, and probably the total expenditure on this account by the railroads will equal ten times or more the amount of this single company's expenditure. In thus treating the timber so used the railroads are protecting the forests of the country, and naturally urge that a tax upon them in aiding this laudable result is not just.
It is therefore hoped that the committee will permit this article to remain where it is now under the present law, to wit, on the free list. Very respectfully, yours,
BRITTON & GRAY.
PARAGRAPH 536–COAL-TAR PRODUCTS.
BRIEF OF NEW YORK QUININE AND CHEMICAL WORKS,
NEW YORK CITY.
New YORK, January 15, 1913. Hon. 0. W. UNDERWOOD, Chairman Ways and Means Committee,
House of Representatives. In reply to your notice of tariff hearings for 1913, we recommend that paragraphs 536, coal tar, crude, etc., and 639, aniline oil, of the tariff of 1909, remain unchanged. These two paragraphs cover the crude material for the manufacture of medicinal derivatives of coal tar. These latter are as yet made only in a very small way in this country, being closely controlled by German syndicates, who established themselves strongly in this country under the protection of our patent law. These patents are gradually expiring and there is no doubt but that American manufacturers, if they could once become established in these products, could successfully work in competition; but the German syndicates are ever watchful, and on the first intimation of competition here they dump their goods on this market at prices made with little regard to cost. Naturally, under these conditions, American manufacturers hesitate to erect the costly plants necessary for these products. Respectfully submitted.
NEW YORK QUININE AND CHEMICAL WORKS (Ltd.).
BRIEF OF A. E. FANT, OF THE GULFPORT CREOSOTING CO.,
GULFPORT, Miss., January 9, 1913. Hon. B. P. HARRISON,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR Sır: I was out in Texas the other day and happened to hear that the Committee on Ways and Means are considering the advisability of transferring creosote oil, or dead oil of coal tar, from the free list to the list of articles taking a tariff for revenue only, and took the liberty of wiring you as follows:
"Am advised Ways and Means Committee have placed duty on creosote oil and dead oil of coal tar. Please insist that these commodities be transferred from article 23 in Underwood bill to free list, as if duty is added to present cost its use as preservative of timber would be prohibitive. This action would render worthless millions of feet of loblolly pine which we have in south Mississippi that is now being creosoted and used in all kinds of railway and dock construction; also as crossties. Domestic production is only about 30 per cent of consumption, the other 70 per cent being imparted from England and Germany."
As the tariff bill now under consideration contemplates levying a tariff for revenue only, we would not attempt to give other reasons why this commodity should remain on the free list.
This question of tariff on creosote oil was considered by the Ways and Means Committee who framed the Payne-Aldrich bill in 1909, and the manager of this company submitted a brief at that time, from which we beg to quote as follows:
“As a means of revenue the imposition of a tariff would be of doubtful value, both because of the fact that the Treasury would immediately repay a part of such tariff from the various departments, such as the Isthmian Canal Commission, the Engineer Corps of the War Department; Bureau of Yards and Docks, Navy Department; Marine Hospital Service of the Treasury Department, all of which are large users of creosoted material. But aside from the fact that a part of the revenue thus gained would be lost, there is the broader question of the conservation of the forests. The
accomplishments of wood preservation are in general as follows: (1) It prolongs the life of durable species of woods, (2) it prolongs the life of inferior and cheaper woods, (3) it enables utility of inferior woods, which without preservation would have little or no value, and conserves the better woods, (4) it decreases the annual cut. To be concrete, we may discuss the question of crossties. It has been determined by the Bureau of Forestry that the average life of untreated ties throughout the whole United States is seven years. In the case of treated ties the average life has been found to he, conseryatively estimated, 17 years. The total number of ties now in use, 700,000,000; annual replacement if none were treated, 100,000,000. If all were properly treated, annual replacement would be one-seventeenth of 700,000,000, or 41,000,000 of ties, representing an annual saving of thousands of dollars to railroads and timber to posterity of
PARAGRAPH 536–COAL-TAR PRODUCTS.
59,000,000 ties, or nearly 2,000,000,000 feet b. m. per year. This, at a reasonable estimate of $8 per M, gives $16,000,000 yearly saving and assists in the conservation of forests.
"Following the same line of illustration for poles, piles, posts, lumber, timber, mine props, such as can be properly treated, it can be shown that an annual saving of $49,000,000 can be effected by wood preservation. Is such an industry as this to be jeopardized by the desire for inordinate profit?
"There are now in the United States between 60 and 65 plants for wood preservation, as against 5 a few years ago.
"The importations of creosote oil for the years 1902, 1905, 1906, 1907, and 1908 were as follows: 1902, 3,711,563 gallons; 1905, 7,750,531 gallons; 1906, 13,235,007 gallons; 1907, 22,462,819 gallons; 1908, 22,043,165 gallons, an increase in six years of over 600 per cent.
"The railroads have expended, and are expending, large amounts of money in preparing for wood preservation and in furthering the science of wood preservation, and, rather than discourage their efforts, it would seem much better to devise a means of cheapening creosote oil, so that it could become available to people of moderate means. At the present price of creosote oil delivered at the treating plant, the creosote oil alone adds approximately $9.50 to the cost of each 1,000 feet of lumber. This is sometimes prohibitive to the small consumer, and for that reason creosoted lumber has been popular only with Government departments, corporations, and wealthy individuals. Even at the present price it is often a close question as to whether creosoted lumber is economical after adding the cost of freight, oil, treatment cost, and profit to the cost of the lumber, and any increase in the cost will simply throw customers into the market for untreated material, which brings us back again to preservation.
"The timber-treating business is in its infancy. It is decidedly on the increase now, and the factor which retards its growth even now is the fact that no man can afford to build a plant until he knows where the creosote oil is to come from. The buyers can take all that is produced, both abroad and in the United States, and there is no such thing as overproduction. It would seem to be folly to check a growing industry by a revenue tariff, pay back part of the revenue, and deplete the forests years before they should be depleted.".
We might state further that we have millions of loblolly and short-leaf pine which, aiter being creosoted, is used very extensively and satisfactorily for crossties, and in large dimensions is used in all kinds of construction, none of which would be conşidered without first being creosoted, owing to the inferior grade of the wood. It can be readily seen that the use of these inferior woods, creosoted, can conserve the long leaf and better species of wood for other purposes, and the long life which the creosoting adds to the inferior woods conserves a large interest of our forest to posterity.
Creosote oil is a by-product obtained from a distillation of coal tar; coal tar is secured from retort coke ovens, and from the fact that it is a by-product it is very difficult, if not absolutely impracticable, to perceptibly increase the production of it.
During the year of 1911 there was used in this country approximately 75,000,000 gallons of creosote oil, while the domestic production was only a little more than 20,000,000 gallons, the remaining quantity being imported from England and Germany.
In view of the above, we submit that it is our opinion that even a tariff for revenue only would be a very severe blow to the wood-preserving industry, which is one of the greatest conservers of our timber resources.
In view of the above facts, we request that you use every effort to have creosote oil, or dead oil of coal tar, retained on the free list, if you can consistently do so.
With kindest personal regards, and wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year, we beg to remain, Yours, very truly,
A. E. Fant, General Manager.
BRIEF OF BURDETT, THOMPSON & LAW.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 10, 1913. Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives. Dear Sir: On behalf of the St. Helens Creosoting Co., of Portland, Oreg., we have the honor to suggest that the coal-tar product known commercially as “dead or creosote oil,” which is extensively used in this country solely as a wood and timber preservative, and which has never heretofore and is not now dutiable, be continued
PARAGRAPH 536-COAL-TAR PRODUCTS.
on the free list in any scheme of tariff revision which your committee may recommend to the next Congress.
We make this suggestion at this time in view of the fact that by section 23 of the bill (H. R. 20182) of the second session of the Sixty-second Congress to revise the chemical schedule, which passed the House of Representatives on February 21, 1912, a duty of 5 per cent ad valorem was imposed upon such imported product, and it is assumed that, perhaps, in the bill which is now in course of preparation by your committee for a revision of the tariff, as respects that schedule, to be introduced and considered in the next Congress, a like provision may be incorporated therein, unless upon further consideration of the conditions obtaining in this industry and other industries dependent thereon your committee may see the wisdom of continuing this article of commerce on the free list.
The company which we represent is one of a large number of like companies engaged in treating timber for various purposes with this creosote oil, as a preservative, to the end that the life of such timber may be greatly prolonged, with the result of thereby limiting the drain upon our fast-diminishing forests. Our company is a new one with a capital stock of $250,000, about one-half of which represents the value of the plant and the remainder represents the dead or creosote oil imported from time to time from Germany and England.
The fact is well known, and was recognized by your committee in its report of February 16, 1912 (H. Rept. No. 326, 62d Cong., 2d sess.), on said bill H. R. No. 20182, that the domestic product is wholly insufficient to meet the demands of the timberpreserving industry.
In that report (p. 200) you say:
“The principal countries producing primary coal-tar products are England and Germany, the former largely for export. Other European countries, as France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and Holland, likewise distill considerable quantities of coal tar, exporting mostly to Germany. The United States production is very small, the census of 1905 giving coal-tar distillery products valued at $340,641, and conditions since then could not have changed much since in 1910 the imports for consumption of dead oil (creosote oil) alone, which is obtained in the course of coaltar distillation, were 36,720,000 gallons, approximately 165,000 tons, valued at $2,168,239."
The reasons for the small production in the United States of dead or creosote oil are thus stated by Mr. Kendrick of the Atchison Railway Co. in the Railway Age Gazette of March 16, 1910 (p. 15):
“The production and composition of domestic creosote are regulated to a large extent by the demand for pitch, which is the primary product for which coal tar is distilled. Creosote is a by-product of insufficient value in itself to pay the cost of manufacture. The pitch takes out a large proportion of the heavier constituents of the tar and leaves a proportionately increased amount of light oils.
"" In Europe the conditions are quite the reverse. There is little demand for pitch, but a large demand for the lighter constituents of the tar, which are used in the manufacture of the aniline dyes. Hence the lighter constituents are removed and the heavier left in the creosote. In the United States these heavier constituents are considered the most valuable components of the preservative, and consequently at the same price the foreign oils are preferred."
In Circular 206, issued July 18, 1912, by the Forestry Bureau, entitled "Commercial Creosotes with Special Reference to Protection of Wood from Decay,” by Carlile P. Winslow, pages 32-33, it is said:
“In 1903 and 1904 the domestic production (of creosote oil) exceeded the imports, but since that time, although the annual consumption of domestic creosote has practically quadrupled, the imports have rapidly outstripped the domestic production, and in 1910 exceeded it by almost 150 per cent.
TABLE 4.-Consumption of creosotes.
3,711, 565 3,783, 472 7, 750,531 38,640,000 37,569, 041 45, 081, 916
7,711,565 8,633, 472 1150, 531 1,000,000 51, 431, 212 63,266, 271