Imágenes de páginas

PARAGRAPH 423—BRUSHES. This was where I was going to introduce my pamphlet on the child-labor question.

Mr. LONGWORTH. You just said that your argument had nothing to do with it. You stated that on the record. So far as your argument on the reduction of the tariff from 40 per cent to 20 per cent, you withdrew this proposition. You said so a moment ago.

Mr. HOLTON. I stand by my statement.

Mr. LONGWORTH. All right; then we will withdraw all that question.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you desire to have it appear in the record ?

Mr. HOLTON. I do. In the course of my speech I was going to offer it as an exhibit.

The brush industry abroad is not in the most flourishing condition; failures are frequent, and the big plants few and far between that will compete favorably with some of the big industries established on our own continent, and which practically without exception are very highly rated in the commercial agencies.

I have personally made trips to Europe to purchase goods, and in the course of my travels have visited Germany, France, and England, and have found that, with duty and freight considered, it has only been possible to import brushes of the higher grade which would enter at all into competition with the American product.

In our brief you will note we state that the total volume of imported brushes is but 8 per cent of the total production in the United States. We also draw your attention to the tremendous increase in the amount of exports of American brushes, but particularly in the case of Canada, showing that the United States is sending to Canada 40 per cent of the brushes against the markets of the world, notwithstanding the fact that the United States pays a higher duty than any other country, and since 1909 have increased their own exports to that country by 40 per cent, as shown by the report of the department of customs, Dominion of Canada, 1912.

Believing that the incoming Democratic administration is pledged to a tariff revision downward, we would respectfully request that our matter receive the earnest attention of the committee, and that we be placed upon a competitive tariff basis, which will create a larger revenue to the Government, rather than be retained under the high prohibitive tariff, which, as we have pointed out in our brief, is rapidly reducing the ratio that imported goods mentioned in paragraph 423 bear to the product of the domestic manufacturers.

Read into the record by Mr. Hill:



(By cable to the Tribune.}

LONDON, November 16. Extraordinary revelations concerning the earnings of women workers in the great industrial center around Birmingham have been made by the government inquiry held in connection with the special order for the inclusion of married women within the compulsory provisions of the insurance act.

Employers themselves testified that women engaged at home in hook-and-eye carding and similar work often earned only 2 cents an hour, while many of them, even by


working 54 hours a week, could not earn more than $1 a week. A representative of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said that a carder of hooks and eyes might reasonably expect to earn $2.25 a week if she worked the whole week, while larger sums might be earned at carding miscellaneous goods. These, he added, were entirely unskilled workers and a child could do the work. Indeed, many children, he said, did assist their mothers.

This testimony, which met with a hostile reception from the trade-unionists at the inquiry, was hardly substantiated by a director of a limited company, who said that of the 270 women outworkers employed by his firm 20 per cent earned under 25 cents a week, 35 per cent under 50 cents, 21 per cent under 75 cents, 13 per cent under $1, 7 per cent under $1.25, 2 per cent under $1.50, and 2 per cent under $1.75. The highest price they paid for carding was 20 cents per great gross and the lowest 10 cents per great gross.

Mrs. Emma Farrington, a contractor for carding, said that the most industrious of the carders did not earn more than $1 weekly, even if they worked 54 hours a week, and Mrs. Scott, another employer, said an average worker could not earn more than 2 cents an hour.

Other witnesses pointed out that the majority of the women engaged in this class of work entered into it with the object of augmenting their husbands' earnings, but the general tenor of the revelations has created quite a sensation in England, where there is ever a tendency to cry shame when the subject of sweated labor is under notice, but precious little is ever done to remedy the evils.



To the honorable members of the Ways and Means Committee, House of Representatives:

The undersigned are a committee appointed by the importers and dealers of brushes in the United States to lay before the Ways and Means Committee the facts pertaining to this industry. Brushes are provided for in paragraph 423 of the tariff, which reads as follows:

“Brushes, brooms, and feather dusters of all kinds, hair pencils, and quills, forty per cent ad valorem.'

We recommend that the duty be decreased from 40 to 20 per cent.

The importance of the brush industry has been increasing, owing to the rapid increase in the number of brushes used. This is true of the world at large, and particularly so of the United States, where the campaign of hygiene, which has been carried on among the public generally and in the public schools' in particular (in some cities free toothbrushes are given the children), has created an increasing and growing demand for large numbers of toilet brushes. As the demand for brushes increases, it of necessity causes an increased demand for the less expensive grades. This results in a hardship to the consumer, for the reason that the present duty is absolutely prohibitive on brushes selling at retail for 50 cents or under, with the exception of the cheaper grade of nail and tooth brushes. It follows that the public pay more than they should be compelled to pay for the cheap brushes, and at the same time the Government loses a revenue which it could obtain provided the tariff was low enough so as to permit of their importation.

At the present time there are practically no imports of the following kinds of brushes: Paint brushes, varnish brushes, shaving brushes, shoe brushes, scrub brushes, window brushes, barber dusters, feather dusters, and horse brushes. All brushes of the abovementioned kinds are made largely by machinery, and the improvements in the machinery used in their manufacture in this country has reduced their cost of production so that they are practically shut out from importation, as it is impossible to manufacture them abroad and bring them into this country under the present tariff. This statement is true of all brushes except the cheaper grade of nail and tooth brushes, which are imported. Most of these are made of bone, which is largely exported from the United States, as also the sandpaper, saw blades, and drills used in the manufacture of brushes. (See United States Consular Report No. 119, May 22, 1911, p. 811.)

The manufacture of brushes abroad is confined practically to France, Germany, Japan, and England.

PARAGRAPH 423—BRUSHES. The importations into this country under paragraph 423, together with the exports for the past 10 years, are as follows:

Total imports and exports, brushes, brooms, etc.

(See H. Doc. No. 145, p. 422.)


year 1789.

1 Only portion of year. The figures of domestic production given were obtained for the year 1904 from House Document No. 145, page 182, Sixty-second Congress, second session; the figures for 1905 from House Document No. 1503, page 554, Sixtieth Congress, second session; the figures for 1909 from House Document No. 145, page 182, Sixty-second Congress, second session; and the figures for the year 1910 were obtained from Tariff Hand Book, 1913, page 314, by adding together the products under paragraph 423.

In 1907 the imported brushes represented a total of only 10 per cent of the total value of the production of the American factories in this country (see hearings, Schedule N, 1908–9); and in 1909, as is shown by the notes on tariff revision published in 1909 for the use of the Committee on Ways and Means, this proportion had shrunk to about 8 per cent; and from information that we have been able to obtain as to the present status of the industry we are convinced that this proportion is constantly decreasing

It is to be noted here that these importations are not of brushes alone. They include brooms, feather dusters, and hair pencils, although all but a small percentage are brushes.

The brush industry is one of the old and well established industries of the United States, as is shown by the fact that a tariff has been levied for its protection since the The various tariffs that have been levied on brushes are as follows:

Per cent ad

valorem. 1909, Payne-Aldrich tariff.

40 1905, Dingley tariff.

40 1897, Wilson tariff..

35 1894, act of Aug. 27.

35 1890, act of Oct. 1..

40 1883, act of Mar. 3.

30 1864, act of June 30.

40 1861, act of Mar. 2.

30 1857, act of Mar. 3.

24 1846, act of July 30.

30 1842, act of Aug. 30.

30 1789, act of July 4..

71 This table shows that in the early days of the American industry when it most needed protection it enjoyed the least, and later when it needed the least protection it has received the most.

In this connection it is worthy of attention that in 1883 the duty was reduced from 40 to 30 per cent by a Republican Congress, showing that even then, 29 years ago, a Republican Congress thought a duty of 40 per cent was excessive.

The American manufacturer in his plea for a high tariff always lays stress upon the point that he is obliged to pay a specific duty of 74 cents a pound on the bristles which he uses in the manufacture of his brushes, but in making this plea he overlooks entirely the fact that the importer has to pay a rate of 40 per cent on the bristles, as they are part of the manufactured article imported, which is many times in excess of the specific


rate of 7 cents a pound on the bristles paid by the American manufacturer. The importer also pays 40 per cent duty on the wood used in brushes, but the expensive brushes of American manufacture are made of imported wood that is brought in free from duty under paragraph 712.

The figures of the importations of bristles furnish reliable data as to the amount of the American production of brushes, for the reason that but few brushes are made in this country from domestic bristles; most of the brushes manufactured here being made from foreign bristles. The importations of bristles has been steadily increasing, as is shown by the fact that in 1894 the value of bristles imported into this country was $639,030, in 1902 the value of the bristles imported into this country was $2,018,085, and in 1912 their value was $2,941,522.

That the American manufacturer is making a good, legitimate profit on his home consumption is shown by the fact that in a specific case a toothbrush made in Florence, Mass., is offered to the domestic jobbing trade at $23.25 per gross net; this same brush is offered to the Canadian jobber at $28 net, duty paid. This Canadian duty is 27} per cent, and this does not take into consideration the agent's commission, freight, and overhead expense, which proves that the Canadian jobber is being offered these goods at a lower price than the American jobber, the Canadian price being in the neighborhood of $20 or $21, based on the above calculation.

The exports from the United States into Canada are increasing rapidly, as is shown by the fact that the exports from the United States into Canada in 1908 were valued at $153, 110, and in 1912 were valued at $217,444. The total importation into Canada from all countries of this class of goods in the year 1912 was $539,927, and of this amount the United States furnished $217,444, or about 40 per cent, and this in spite of the fact that the two other large importers into Canada are England and France, both of which enjoy a preferential tariff.

The question of labor is entering less and less into the manufacture of brushes, as the industry is rapidly changing from a hand industry to a machine industry, and this is true not only of the manufacturers in the United States but also those abroad; the manufacturer of the machine claims that the cost of manual labor is reduced 75 per cent by the use of the machines.

In the arguments used previously by the American manufacturer in endeavoring to maintain a high tariff on these goods he has commented on the great difference in the cost of labor here and abroad. But these conditions are not as represented by the American manufacturer, as is shown by Senate Document No. 68, Sixty-first Congress, first session, part 2, page 111; but as stated above, even this item does not figure as prominently as heretofore, owing to the adoption of machines in this industry,

We do not deem it necessary to go into detail as to the question whether or not brushes are a necessity. By the term brushes are included hairbrushes, toothbrushes, nailbrushes, clothes brushes, paintbrushes, varnish brushes, etc. It is self-evident that all of these are necessities and are in general use by all classes of the community, so that the American people are, as a whole, vitally interested in the tax on this class of merchandise.

As some classes of brushes are necessary to the health of the American people, and their more general use is being urged in many ways by our physicians and experts on hygiene, it does not seem as if articles of this nature should bear a heavy tax and thus increase the burden on the poorer classes when they are endeavoring to carry into actual practice the teachings of hygiene so necessary to the health of the individual and of the general community. The United States Government has an opportunity here of not only helping the health crusade, but at the same time of collecting more revenue, provided the duty is reduced to such an extent that these brushes can be imported in larger quantities.

A comparison of the figures given above shows that the production of brushes in the United States is increasing very rapidly; that the imports into the United States from abroad from the year 1902 to 1912 have increased about 81 per cent, while the proportion of imports to the production into this country is steadily declining; that the exports from the United States are steadily increasing, having grown about 165 per cent from 1902 to 1912, these conclusions demonstrate that the present duty is too high and should be reduced to 20 per cent ad valorem, as above recommended. Respectfully submitted.



Counsel, 34 Nassau Street, New York City. JANUARY, 1913.


The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions, gentlemen ?

Mr. FORDNEY. I want to ask a question or two. You spoke about the raw material out of which those brushes are made, rosewood, mahogany, ebony, all those things, and you say they come in free in the log?

Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. FORDNEY. They come in free in the log without manufacture, without labor having been put on the logs ?

Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. FORDNEY. They are brought in for the purpose of furnishing employment to American labor, of converting the logs into lumber, into the finished product. If brought in in a manufactured manner, in any shape or form, then there is a higher rate of duty ?

Mr. Holton. In our particular case 40 per cent. The same wood brought in, manufactured into brushes, takes 40 per cent.

Mr. FORDNEY. That depends upon the manner in which it is brought in. It pays 15 per cent ad valorem as rough lumber?

Mr. HOLTON. But it is not in rough lumber.

Mr. FORDNEY. I know, but that is brought in in that way; it is brought in in the log in large quantity now?

Mr. HOLTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. FORDNEY. And therefore gives employment to American labor to convert it into lumber, and the relative cost of converting that log into lumber is very great, so far as labor is concerned; not so in getting the log out of the woods; that is a small cost. Therefore, that whole log was to give employment to American labor or to protect American labor if labor had been put upon the lumber?

Mr. HOLTON. I think they have been amply protected.
Mr. FORDNEY. Have they been more than amply protected ?
Mr. Holton. The figures apparently prove it.

Mr. FORDNEY. My friend, let me ask you, you are complaining about men in business making too much money because of the protection given to them, are you not?

Mr. HOLTON. No, sir.

Mr. FORDNEY. Is not that the position you take, that under protection American labor is employed and capital is overpaid, or something about it, because you want more importations from abroad; is not that it?' There is something about it, now; what is it? Is it the profit that American labor and capital makes that displeases you?

Mr. HOLTON. No, sir. We are displeased with the fact of being constantly outdistanced.

Mr. FORDNEY. What is your business? Are you an importer, a merchant ?

Mr. HOLTON. I deal in American brushes and import brushes up to a certain price, competing with the American product.

Mr. FORDNEY. How much capital has your concern invested ?
Mr. HOLTON. $28,000.

Mr. FORDNEY. What is the annual volume of business that your firm does ?

Mr. HOLTON. About five times that.
Mr. FORDNEY. What is your profit now on the capital invested ?
Mr. HOLTON. The net profit?

« AnteriorContinuar »