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brush production that we come before you now and ask that the present rate of 40 per cent—that that rate not only be maintained, but that we be granted an additional rate, to make it 50 per cent ad valorem.
I appreciate that that is a very unusual request, and if we can not make good the equity of our plea we have rightly no place here, because we recognize that this Congress was elected expressly for the purpose of establishing a tariff for revenue. We ask in this plan that you are working out that you give us that equitable relation, that you will give us a fair deal, so that the toilet-brush importations will not be as they are now, abnormal. I will undertake to show you very briefly where they are abnormal. Mr. RAINEY. Do you think that an importation of one-seventh of
. the amount that is produced is abnormal
Mr. BONNER. I think I shall be able to show from the Government's statistics that notwithstanding there are approximately 400 brush manufacturers in this country, there are not 50 toilet-brush factories.
Mr. RAINEY. What do you want the imports to be?
Mr. BONNER. I was going to say-I am referring now to the production rather than to the number of factories, and tnat calls for an explanation. While, of course, there are no definite statistics showing who manufactures the $14,000,000 worth of brushes, they are largely made in factories that do not come within the pale of the factories that have to stand the burden of this importation. They are the factories that produce mill brushes or brushes for special uses. There are not 50 factories that are in the class that can produce the goods that I have referred to as toilet-brush factories. The latter special shops are in every town, and you can readily see that they make up the statistics of the gross amount of brushes manufactured. I am supported in this statement by others in the toilet and painters' business who know in a general way the capacity of the different factories, and that is that there is not to exceed approximately $7,000,000 worth of this $14,000,000 which comes under the class which you mention-that is, toilet and painters.
Mr. Rainey. What about the imports? What kind of goods come in ?
Mr. BONNER. The imports will come within the class that I mentioned-toilet and paint or artists'-because special machine brushes are made in endless variety and value and for every conceivable industrial and mechanical use. We may have a special machine, and we ask a certain man to make a certain brush for it. We can not get that brush abroad; we do not pay the commercial market price. Factory or mill brushes are limitless as to character. They even include street-sweeper brushes in this class of manufactures.
I want to call attention to the imports from countries where the increase is shown, and there is a tremendous increase. I doubt if there are many industries where the proportion of increase is so great. Since we had the last hearings, in 1908, the increased importation of brushes has been 269 per cent and the imports from that date back to the enactment of the McKinley law for something like 206 per cent. The abnormal increase in the toilet and artist brushes is from
Japan. The increase of imports from Japan since the McKinley law went into effect has been 3,856 per cent.
Mr. PALMER. Your desire is to have us write a rate which will reduce the importations of the kind of brushes that compete with the American manufacturer ?
Mr. BONNER. No, sir; I do not believe that 50 per cent will reduce the importations $1.
Mr. PALMER. Then why do you want 50 per cent?
Mr. PALMER. Do you mean to say the imports will continue to be as much as they are now?
Mr. BONNER. Yes. I know you have the Treasury statistics before you. I had the privilege of administering the customs myself for some nine years, and in that way I happen to know and have some idea of the statistics and how they are compiled. You will see that the Japanese imports are increasing year by year abnormally, and we are prevented year by year from making the class of goods that are generally sold in this market, because of the Japanese importations. I am sure a 50 per cent rate will not curtail such shipments here at once.
Mr. Dixon. What is the largest class of goods imported ?
Mr. BONNER. Well, there are hardly any toothbrushes manufactured in this country; there are only some special goods made under patents and special designs.
Mr. Dixon. How about hair brushes ?
Mr. BONNER. I should say that 60 to 75 per cent of the hair brushes and that class of brushes used in this country are imported. You can not go into a retail store or a wholesale store but what you will find that the dominating toilet brushes are imported.
Mr. Dixon. I notice that you made an examination of the brushes used in the committee rooms. What class are those ?
Mr. BONNER. The hair and the hand brushes were made in France. The one that I saw in the Senate Office Building was made in Japan.
Mr. Dixon. Then the brushes that are used in the House Office Building are all imported brushes?
Mr. BONNER. So far as I know, sir. I know they are in the Ways and Means Committee room.
Mr. Dixon. They are the same brushes that were used here under the Republican administration.
Mr. BONNER. Yes, sir; I called attention to the fact at that time that we ought to have a change in the tariff rate because we are not able to hold our own in a competitive way.
We are not asking for protection in this change. Your chairman was not here when I made the request which I said at the time was unusual. I understand that the party in power was on the basis of a tariff for revenue. We feel, and in fact we know, that we are entitled to 50 per cent as against 40 per cent as an equitable arrangement and as a basis of tariff for revenue.
Mr. HULL. How could you make out if you had free bristles ?
Mr. BONNER. I really believe that the foreign bristles would be no cheaper if free. The reason for that is that the specific rate is only 7) cents a pound and we would never find it in the price duty free.
Being in sympathy with this tariff-making body, and speaking for our own factory, we feel that in deriving the revenue to which the Government is entitled the brush industry should pay its proportion on its raw materials. Right in that connection let me say that there are some twenty-odd items used in the manufacture of our toilet brushes on which we pay a duty.
We pay a duty on bristles, fibers, quills, and varnish; we pay a duty on some kinds of lumber; we pay a duty on strawboard; we pay
a duty on wire; and a duty on sandpaper. We are contributors, notwithstanding the fact that the Japanese brushes are coming in here. As I said a moment ago, the increase in importations from Japan has been abnormal, having been 3,856 per cent since the McKinley law went into effect.
Mr. PALMER. The total imports were less in 1912 than they were in 1911.
Mr. BONNER. By just a few thousand dollars.
Mr. BONNER. As I understand it, the imports generally fell off a little bit that year. Trade conditions changed somewhat. There has been on the market within the last year or two-or there was two years ago—a class of brush goods called Parisian ivory. It was sort of a fashion or fad. Everybody all over the country wanted this Parisian ivory. This last year there has not been so much of a demand for it, and that accounts for the difference in brush imports for 1912.
The CHAIRMAN. Your time has expired, Mr. Bonner.
Mr. BONNER. I thank you. I will now file for record, with my foregoing statement, the brief of my company, The Ames-Bonner Co.
The brief submitted by The Ames-Bonner Co. follows: Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Ways and Means Committee, House of Representatives. Sir: The present duty on brushes is ad valorem–40 per cent.
Recognizing the attitude of the present Congress in relation to a tariff for protection and, therefore, appreciating the highly responsible position of your honorable committee, we, as manufacturers of toilet brushes, the very life of whose business depends upon governmental assistance in combating the inroads of foreign competition, frankly say to you that we are not seeking for protection in the sense that protection means the prohibition of foreign-made brushes.
We have never had such protection in the past, even under administrations that professed to make the protection of infant American industries their chief consideration, because nothing under 70 per cent ad valorem could possible serve to keep out of this country the brush products of the labor of Europe and Asia, and the highest ever given us has been 40 per cent.
We are merely petitioning your committee that we be accorded the justice of having our industry pay only its fair proportion of the revenue required to satisfactorily conduct the Government.
In 1890 the importation of brushes amounted to $767,128.
These importations were almost entirely confined to what are known as toilet brushes; that is, hair, cloth, nail, and tooth brushes.
Toilet brushes are not exported to any material extent, and under present conditions could not be sold even in this country in competition with the brushes made by the cheap foreign labor were it not for the convenience accorded American purchasers.
The domestic gools may, fortunately for the domestic makers, be had in small quantities with immediate delivery, a very great advantage in these days when the
tendency is to place the burden of stock carrying upon the manufacturer. This fact is a strong argument with American salesmen in their efforts to sell buyers of foreignmade brushes, and is successful with small and medium sized buyers.
But the large jobbers, the great retail stores and other buyers who are able to adequately anticipate their wants in toilet brushes, almost invariably buy abroad, because, as they tell us, they buy cheaper.
The following is an illuminating instance:
A number of years ago the Ames-Bonner Co. designed a long, narrow hairbrush. It was originally intended for curling children's hair. Eventually, however, it became widely used by barbers and hairdressers. The result is that to-day exact duplicates are being made in Germany, France, and Japan for American dealers who are able to order this particular brush in comparatively large quantities. They buy it abroad for less money than it can profitably be made here, solely on account of the great difference in the cost of labor and bristle and overhead charges.
It is not only the importers and the large jobbers who are buying toilet brushes abroad. There are retailers and houses who sell direct to the consumer that American manufacturers can not possibly sell under the present duty of 40 per cent.
So great, indeed, is the distribution of foreign-made toilet brushes in the United States that the assertion may be made without fear of successful contradiction that there is not a department or drug store of fair standing in the whole country in which foreign-made toilet brushes are not to be found at all times. To-day these brushes come principally from Japan.
Taken by three decades, the increase in the importations of brushes from Japan are as follows: 1891, $15,872; 1901, $191,911; 1911, $736,781. Last year, 1912, the total was $602,923. Years 1891 to 1912, 21 years, 3,856 per cent increase.
With the continuation of such an increase, it is easy to prophesy what will become of the American toilet-brush makers before another decade has been completed unless we have relief.
Advertisements of Japanese and European brush manufacturers are to be found in all American trade journals devoted to drug sundries, dry goods, barber supplies, and even variety magazines for the 5 and 10 cent stores.
One Japanese toilet-brush concern, with a branch office on Broadway, New York, during the past year has advertised the fact that it had so increased its business in the United States that it was compelled to use the entire floor of the big Broadway building instead of the single room in which it had started business.
In Japan the employees of the brush factories work from 7 a. m. to 6 p. m. seven days a week. Generally they work 312 days in the year, though one of the largest factories is known to work 330 days. Male employees receive from 28 to 38 cents per day; females, 13 to 18 cents; and children, 8 t il cents. The skilled females, who do drawn work, receive up to 22 cents a day.
Contrast this condition with the condition existing in this country with everincreasing but proper stringency in the child and women labor laws; and that, while brush makers generally in most shops are necessarily among the lowest-paid workers in the United States, that the Japanese labor gets less than one-fifteenth as much.
Time was when France and England furnished the bulk of the toilet brushes used in the United States, but to-day Germany and Japan have come strongly to the front.
Germany is sending vast quantities of brushes to this country to-day, and, what is more, the German manufacturers are advertising in the American trade journals the fact that they are making their brushes with the improved steel anchors that have heretofore made American competition with foreign hand-drawn brushes possible in many instances.
While it is true that there are American industries grown to the stature of giants that are still protected as infants, it is also true that there are many that have not become monopolies--in fact, produce a reasonable profit only as a result of strict economy.
The manufacture of toilet brushes is one of these.
Therefore when the toilet-brush manufacturers ask for a rate of 50 per cent ad valorem they are truly asking for life itself, which implies also the living of a host of faithful employees who have aided in building the industry and who are to-day unfitted for other labor.
The present tariff (which we insist was not protection) has caused the American manufacturers to develop brush making to the standing of an art, and it is a pleasure to be able to say to-day, after years of earnest and honorable endeavor, that they are now turning out high-grade toilet brushes that are freely acknowledged by experts to be the equal of any made in any country in the world.
No brush trust has been developed, nor have any fortunes been made in the brush business.
And furthermore, in spite of the increased cost of living, the advanced quotations on bristles and imported woods, and the higher wages paid, the prices on the general lines of toilet brushes have not been increased, nor can they be with the present condition of foreign competition.
Not only is there no brush trust, but there is no collusion, such as a gentleman's agreement, among the various American brush manfuacturers and competition is keen.
We are herewith appealing for the very life of the toilet-brush industry, and we are honestly sincere in our assertion that it constitutes a real infant industry, far too weak to sell its products abroad.
We are not petitioning your honorable committee for the prohibition from the
THE AMES-BONNER Co.,
Manager. TESTIMONY OF ERNEST H. HOLTON, NEW YORK CITY. The witness was duly sworn.
Mr. HOLTON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I represent the importers and dealers of brushes in New York City, which city is the main source of distribution in the United States.
Brushes are provided for under paragraph 423 of the present act and pay a duty at the rate of 40 per cent ad valorem.
Mr. Bonner made a statement here yesterday, probably inadvertently, in which he stated that the total production of these goods was $14,600,000 in 1910. It happens that that was the first year that the classification in which the production was subdivided, as you will see, if you will look at your list. You will find that brooms, brushes, and feather dusters are mentioned in this paragraph and are given in one section. The manufactures of brushes are given in another section, but in making that comparison they took the total of the imports.
Mr. HARRISON. Please give me the paragraph again.
In 1910 they were subdivided for the first time that I can find. So in correcting that it would make the domestic production $29,125,000 odd, against the imports of $1,747,000. You see there has never been any distinction in the importations coming in. They have all come in under the one paragraph.
Mr. HARRISON. As a matter of fact, about 7 per cent of the domestic consumption is imported ? Mr. HOLTON. It would be more accurate to say 8
cent. My recommendation is that the tariff on brushes be reduced to 20 per cent ad valorem.
As far as the brooms and feather dusters are concerned, there was a gentleman appeared before you last night, an American manufacturer, who said that he would be perfectly willing to have the brooms put on the free list.
Mr. Dixon. Provided the handles were put on the free list.
Mr. HOLTON. We would like to ask that brushes be put on a 20 per cent basis. It would yield a very much larger revenue to the Government.