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PARAGRAPH 423—BRUSHES. Mr. LONGWORTH. Why do you say that?
Mr. HOLTON. On account of the popular-priced brushes being the largest seller.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Your proposition is that the imports would more than double ?
Mr. HOLTON. I did not make any specific figure. I said it would increase.
Mr. LONGWORTH. You ask that the duty should be reduced 50
Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Therefore the imports have got to double to produce the same revenue.
Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOLTON. I think it would be more than double, because it will enable a class of brushes to come in here which are now almost excluded.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Which are now made in this country?
Mr. LONGWORTH. You do not want to exclude them from the American market?
Mr. Holton. No, indeed.
Mr. FORDNEY. Have the prices gone up or down since the time of the establishment of the tariff law?
Mr. HOLTON. The duty has not gone
Mr. FORDNEY (interposing). Since the establishment of the law has the price to the consumer of these articles gone up or gone down?
Mr. Holton. I think if anything it has advanced slightly; that is, since the passage of the act.
Mr. FORDNEY. The Payne tariff law ?
Mr. Holton. No; that was retained at the same price as before, the same tariff as before. It was first put at 40 per cent under the Dingley tariff.
Mr. ÍONGWORTH. What was it under the Wilson tariff !
Mr. FORDNEY. The price has gone up since the passage of the Payne Act?
Mr. HOLTON. I could not say.
I am at present the treasurer of a corporation dealing in brushes of American manufacture, as well as imported goods. I have been engaged entirely in this one line of business during my 22 years of business life, and think at least that I can claim close acquaintance with each particular industry. In fact, the statements as to the industry are so convincing that expert testimony would not be
required. The statements are more fully amplified in the brief which I have filed.
The brush industry, as regards competition, is divided into two distinct classes, one class being household brushes, shoe brushes, horse brushes, paintbrushes, etc.; the other class being toilet brushes, embracing such brushes as hairbrushes, toothbrushes, nailbrushes, hand brushes, etc.
The present duty of 40 per cent has practically shut out all competition on the first class of brushes, and were the duty to be reduced to 20 per cent, as recommended, the importation of these brushes would be practically nil, owing to the patented processes of manufacture, although we ought to be placed on a competitive basis.
The second class of brushes are of more importance to the community as a whole, as we have pointed out, owing to the educational campaigns now being conducted all over the United States on the subject of hygiene, making these brushes practically a necessity in every household.
As an echo of this campaign, we would respectfully call the committee's attention to an item in the New York Times, Tuesday, January 28, 1913, which says that the warden of the Essex County, N. J., penitentiary, is supplying his prisoners with tooth brushes and powder, the rules of the prison requiring each of the inmates to make use of these brushes.
Mr. HARRISON. Do you consider that the cruel and unusual punishment which is prohibited by the Constitution?
Mr. Holton. Not at all.
And public schools are in some cities also giving tooth brushes away in response to this campaign.
Mr. KITCHIN. What are you going to give away?
The importation of this class is very much restricted by this duty of 40 per cent. The big or popular demand is for brushes of the lower grade. This branch of the industry is now being made chiefly on machines, and we find it impossible to successfully compete, as this machine industry has reduced the item of manual labor by 75 per cent.
Mr. Dixon. At the present time what class of brushes are being imported ?
Mr. Holton. At the present time almost every class of brush; nail brushes, tooth brushes, hand brushes.
Mr. KITCHIN. Two million dollars' worth of brushes were imported last year. What portion were hair brushes, would you say?
Mr. Holton. I could not say. We have no way of knowing. They are all grouped in one class: "Brushes, brooms, and feather dusters of all kinds, and hair pencils or quills.” That is the wording of the paragraph.
The popular-priced toothbrush is conceded to be one that retails for 25 cents. When I prepared this speech I considered that to be so, but I have since received a paper in which it says "A guaranteed toothbrush to retail at 10 cents each.” This is put up by the Florence Manufacturing Co., of Florence, Mass., which I think is the oldest, largest, and best equipped toilet factory in the United States. So evidently I have my standard too high there.
Mr. KITCHIN. You do not take everything that a manufacturer says to be true, do you, in his advertisements ?
Mr. HOLTON. No; I do not, but he offers a brush here that can be retailed, put into the consumers' hands and guaranteed for 10 cents.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Then you have made a mistake of 150 per cent to the ultimate consumer ?
Mr. Holton. That seems to be true. Up to the present moment I think it will be conceded by almost any brush maker that the popular-priced toothbrush is one retailing for 25 cents. Evidently this standard is to be upset. As I say, I do not know what that will result in. I do not know how it is going to affect the market one way or another.
Mr. HARRISON. Is it not an indication to you that the American manufacturer can produce toothbrushes cheaper than any man in the world?
Mr. Holton. It certainly appears that way. I am afraid we will feel the competition very strong.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Then you are not appearing here at all in behalf of the consumers ? Mr. HOLTON. I feel that I am. I think that if this is done that the
. consumer will always be the one ultimately benefited.
Mr. LONGWORTH. Do you believe it will benefit the consumer?
Mr. HOLTON. I think the consumer will be benefited by the lower tariff on brushes.
Mr. LONGWORTH. You spoke of it under the 40 per cent tariff, you having made your estimate on the popular priced tooth brush at 25 cents. You now discover they are made here in America for 10 cents. Does that change your opinion at all? Do you wish to revise your recommendation since you read that ?
Mr. Holton. No; I stand by my brief, because as I say this is a new field. I do not know how it is going to affect the market. It has to be tried out.
Mr. HARRISON. It is a practical indication to you that the tariff would have to go lower still to get more revenue out of it?
Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. Holton. If this were true the 25 cent brushes as a popular brush would probably be a thing of the past.
Mr. KITCHIN. May be they are doll-baby brushes.
Mr. Holton. No, they are not, because it says here, "Six dozen senior size, 4 dozen junior size, 1 dozen assorted laddie and lassie sizes, 1 dozen baby size."
Mr. LoNGWORTH. Do you think under those circumstances that the ultimate consumer of toothbrushes is being robbed by the tariff on toothbrushes ?
Mr. Holton. No; I do not.
Mr. Holton. No; where we are doing but 8 per cent of the business I do not think there is very much robbery there. That is on our side, and I think 92 per cent on the other side. We are standing about all the tariff we can.
Mr. Hill. Would you think a revision of the duty on brushes would increase the quantity imported by cutting the duty in two?
Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hill. How much do you think it would increase the importations? Would it double them?
Mr. HOLTON. I think it would more than double them.
Mr. HOLTON. I think it would produce more revenue than it does to-day.
Mr. Hill. What effect would more than double in quantity in brushes imported have on the revenue from bristles? If we more than double the importation of the finished brush, what effect would it have upon the importation of bristles, which bring us a larger revenue than brushes do?
Mr. HOLTON. I do not agree with you there. The revenue is not larger on bristles.
Mr. Hill. On page 314 of our Handbook you will find that brushes were imported last year to the amount of $2,074,000, and bristles were imported, sorted, bunched, and prepared, to the amount of 3,354,000 pounds, with a value of $2,926,000, or nearly a million dollars more than the value of the brushes imported. Now, as the importation of
, brushes increases, the importation of bristles will fall off, will it not?
Mr. IIOLTON. No, sir.
Mr. Hill. Then would you put into one pocket what you would take out of the other?
Mr. Harrison. That would be true, Mr. Hill, if the rates of duty were the same for bristles and brushes. Although there was more in value in bristles imported, there is three times as much revenue obtained on brushes.
Mr. Hill. Yes, I understand the rate is much higher, but the whole question as to whether you would lose revenue or gain it would depend on the accuracy of your guess or anybody else's guess, and anybody else's is just as good as yours as to what the effect of a 20 per cent duty would be on the importation of brushes compared with the 40 per cent duty. The chances are, it would seem to me, that the Government would be a loser by the operation. Still I want you to put in your opinion.
Mr. HOLTON. It is entirely an estimate.
Mr. Hill. If brushes were increased in importations, the bristles would be decreased ?
Mr. HOLTON. It is entirely an estimate.
Mr. LONGWORTH. What do you base your argument on? Is it that you desire to increase the revenue, to benefit the ultimate consumer, or to benefit yourself ?
Mr. HOLTON. All three.
Mr. RAINEY. Mr. Holton, you know something about the manufacture of brushes in this country, up there in the State of New York ? You live up there in New York ?
Mr. Holton. Yes, sir; I will reach that presently by exhibits, showing the different kinds of brushes, how they are manufactured, and I will reach that in a moment if I am allowed to proceed.
Mr. FORDNEY. Just one question at this point. Are those bristles produced in this country?
Mr. HOLTON. To a very small extent.
Mr. FORDNEY. So that all the bristles that the American manufacturers use come from Europe, don't they; they are imported anyway?
Ifr. HOLTON. China and east Prussia.
Mr. FORDNEY. Now, then, would we not get more revenue if we were to increase the duty on brushes and prohibit the importation of brushes, and lower the duty a fraction on bristles and increase the importation of bristles and increase the American manufacture of brushes in this country--get more revenue and get more employment ?
Mr. HOLTON. No, sir.
Mr. FORDNEY. Would it not be better to have it brought in in bristles than in brushes ?
Mr. Holton. If the bristles come in in brushes, we pay 40 per cent ad valorem on the bristles in the brush. Coming in in the bundle, as they do, they pay 7.5 cents per pound specific, which, at the least calculation, would not amount to over 4 per cent; and the higher grade but 2.
Mr. FORDNEY. It is a protection of the labor put upon the brush when you put the duty on the brush over and above the duty on the bristles. My suggestion would give us all the importation of bristles we want, give all the American labor employment to make all the brushes we consume, transfer the industry from there here and still give us the revenue.
Mr. RainEY. Inasmuch as he has brought up the question of the labor, I think we had better go into that right now. I want to ask you a few questions. Is it not true that this industry in New York State employs children as young as 7 years?
Mr. HOLTON. Even younger.
Mr. Rainey. Is not this a sort of household industry, where they take these brushes up to their rooms in the nighttime and work, the children putting the bristles in the brushes ?
Mr. HOLTON. That is done in the tenement-house district in New York.
Mr. RAINEY. And in many houses that are not licensed for that? Mr. HOLTON. I believe the biggest part are not licensed.
Mr. Rainey. Independent of your own interest in the matter, because you might be prejudiced and they might insist upon the other side that you are prejudiced, have the manufacturers of these brushes been investigated in New York, and has it not been investigated by the National Child Labor Committee?
Mr. HOLTON. Quite recently. You are anticipating my speech a little bit.
Mr. RAINEY. Mr. Fordney just anticipated your speech, so I wanted to bring that out now. Have you got the report on the National Child Labor Committee up there on this industry?
Mr. Holton. Yes, sir." I have some authenticated photographs from that same committee.
Mr. RAINEY. Yes. Let us also see some of those photographs.
Mr. FORDNEY. I presume under Democratic administration now you will have no more child labor; you will have a child-labor law