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MERCHANTS & MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, BALTIMORE, MD., WRITE RE BRUSHES.
BALTIMORE, MD., January 29, 1913. Hon. DAVID J. LEWIS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR Sır: At the request of a number of brush manufacturers of the city of Baltimore, I am writing you to say that they are not bound together by any trade agreements or combinations, nor is there any likelihood of their being so; that the present duty on brushes is 40 per cent ad valorem, and that it should be not less than 50 per cent ad valorem. Brush manufacturers suffer abnormally from competition from foreign manufacturers. Over one-fourth of the market value of all brushes consumed in this country are of foreign manufacture. While competition with England, France, Germany, and Austria is severe, it does not compare with the terrible competition our manufacturers are experiencing with Japan, whose business in the last 20 years has increased 3,856 per cent. Women in the United States earn from 10 to 20 cents per hour, and in Japan, where children are more or less employed, 1 cent per hour. These facts can be verified from the United States consular reports. We are sending this to you for your information. Yours, very truly,
ROBERT J. BEACHAM, Secretary.
F. B. ARNOLD & CO., NEW YORK, N. Y., REQUEST CHANGE IN
TARIFF ON WOOL PADS, ETC.
New York, February 19, 1913. Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives. SIR: I would respectfully request in behalf of the importers of so-called "wool pads," disks of woolen material used as powder puffs, a change in rate of duty on these articles.
These articles are virtually brushes and for some time were taxed as brushes at 40 per cent ad valorem, until by a Treasury decision the duty was changed to that on * manufactures of wool valued more than 70 cents per pound,” 55 per cent ad valorem and 44 cents per pound. These articles weigh (see samples on file) from one-fourth pound to 44 pounds per gross, importations being chiefly of those that weigh about if pounds or less per gross. In these weights are included coverings, etc., and sometimes wooden handles.
The revenue from these articles is insignificant, and as the weights of these small articles continually vary, the trouble and loss of time in weighing and assessing the duty, both to the customhouse officials as well as to the importer, would seem an unwise waste of energy without any adequate return.
As these articles are used as powder brushes and are virtually such, it would seem correct that the same duty should be imposed on them as on other varieties of brushes, 40 per cent, and that they should be included in Schedule N, paragraph 423.
The same reasoning applies to so-called buffers, or nail polishers, which are used to brush and polish the nails, and which now pay sometimes as manufactures of wood, 35 per cent, as manufactures of leather, 40 per cent, or as manufactures of celluloid would pay under H. R. 20182, February 15, 1912, 35 per cent ad valorem, but not less than 40 cents per pound.
It would seem practical to condense all these articles under a duty of 40 per cent as brushes. Paragraph 423, Schedule N, would then read:
"423. Brushes, brooms, feather dusters of all kinds, powder puffs and nail buffers, and hair pencils in quills or otherwise, 40 per centum ad valorem.' Most respectfully,
FRANCIS R. ARNOLD.
BRIEF OF THE RUBBERSET Co., NEWARK, N. J.
Newark, N. J., December 31, 1912. Hon. EDWARD W. TOWNSEND,
Montclair, N. J. Dear Sir: We are, as you probably know, large manufacturers of brushes, which is an important industry that can only continue to prosper through ample protection form foreign competition.
We learn from a communication, a copy of which we inclose, that the Ways and Means Committee of Congress will have hearings on the tariff in January and we take the liberty of asking you to protect our interests so far as you are able to do so.
The brush industry in the United States is a large and important one, worthy of any consideration the committee may give it.
The capital invested is large and the majority of manufacturers interested are men who have devoted their lives to building up an industry that is typical of the energy and enterprise of the American people.
Thousands of families, makers of wood handles and metal parts, depend upon the success of the brush business for their livelihood.
The industry is not confined to a few manufacturers, but is distributed among a large number, among whom the keenest competition prevails.
This condition, combined with increased cost of raw materials, labor, and the competition of foreign-made brushes, leaves a very small margin of profit and any reduction in the tariff on brushes would be most disastrous.
In justice to our employees as well as ourselves we feel that we are not unreasonable in asking the committee to favorably consider a duty of 50 per cent ad valorem on all manufactured brushes imported into this country, which would justly protect us from the competition of foreign-made goods that we now suffer.
If there is any further information you desire regarding this matter we will gladly endeavor to furnish it with as little delay as possible. Very truly, yours,
INDIVIDUAL TOILET BRUSH MANUFACTURERS REQUEST
INCREASE IN TARIFF.
Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD, M. C.,
Chairman Ways and Means Committee, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The undersigned individual toilet brush manufacturers of the United States respectfully request your honorable committee to consider the following petition regarding the present tariff as it affects the toilet-brush industry.
Paragraph 423, Schedule N-Brushes.- The present duty on brushes ad valorem 40 per
cent and the paragraph reads as follows: *423. Brushes, brooms and feather dusters of all kinds, and hair pencils in quills or otherwise, 40 per centum ad valorem.”
We petition that the phraseology of the above paragraph be changed as follows: “Brushes used in the painterscraft and in the arts, brooms and feather dusters of all kinds, and hair pencils in quills or otherwise, 40 per centum ad valorem.
"Toilet brushes of every description and all other brushes having a multiplicity of bristle tufts, not used as tools in any craft but for general brushing and cleaning, 50 per centum ad valorem."
The reason that we ask for this change is, that there is nothing whatever in common between a paint brush, which is a tool for the spreading of paint-just as a trowel is a tool for the spreading of mortar--and a hair or tooth brush, used for personal cleanliness or for the adornment of a lady's bureau.
All painters' brushes are made of a stick of wood, a metal ferrule, and one tuft of bristle, irrespective of the size of the brush, while a hairbrush or other toilet brush has a multiplicity of bristle tufts--sometimes 200 and more.
Furthermore-and this is the principal factor of difference-paint, varnish, or kalsomine brushes are the product of factory labor and can not be produced in private homes or tenement houses. Consequently the industry has prospered in this country under the present tariff rates, the production of such brushes having reached $11,000,000 annually. We import no heavy paint brushes whatever, the only imports into this country consisting of small artists' pencils, brought in here in limited quantities. The industry enjoys a fair degree of prosperity.
The toilet brush, however, whether it be a hair, tooth, nail, cloth, or complexion brush, is largely a handmade article abroad and is the product of foreign home labor. It is a house industry, distinguished from a factory industry. The labor item in a domestic toilet brush forms at least 50 per cent of its entire cost, and in many instances even more.
The result is that hand labor being a very expensive commodity in the United States and nowhere so cheap as in Japan, the latter country has become one of the
greatest toilet producers in the world and the second largest exporter to the United States. While we imported $195,782 worth of toilet brushes from Japan in 1902, we imported no less than $602,923 worth of the same commodity in 1912, an increase of over 300 per cent in 10 years. Japan furnishes this country with bone-handle, hand-drawn toothbrushes that are sold everywhere at retail at 5 cents and 10 cents each, with nailbrushes retailing at 10 cents each and with hand-drawn hairbrushes retailing at 25 cents each. It becomes harder and harder for the American toiletbrush manufacturer to compete with this flood of Japanese brushes, the product of the cheapest labor in the world, and he is being driven to have some of his brush work done by home labor instead of in sanitary factories, a most regrettable condition, as this country is trying to legislate against all home or tenement labor.
Of a total import of brushes into this country, amounting in 1912 to $2,067,149, Japan alone furnished $602,923, and Japanese brushes are actually selling in this country at a price which does not cover the American manufacturers' cost of material, leaving out the labor item entirely. This is explained by the low wages of brush workers that prevail in Japan. They are reported as 5 cents an hour for male labor, 2 cents an hour for female, and 1 cent an hour for child labor.
If the present 40 per cent duty is added to the above sum of imports, amounting to $2,067,149, it shows that somewhat over $3,000,000 worth of foreign toilet brushes are sold in the United States. The total American production of such brushes is not greatly over $4,000,000, so that we divide this trade with the foreign manufacturers on a nearly equal basis.
The conditions of the Japanese labor market are more or less duplicated by the “house industry”' in brush making in Europe. Personal investigation abroad discloses the following facts:
In London, England, women in their homes, by working all day on drawing or fastening bristles into brushes, earn 24 cents a day. In the Black Forest of Germany, where the brush industry is paramount, home workers, principally women and children, earn 15 cents a day, while in the leading brush centers of Hungary, notably in the towns of Pressburg and Debreczin, their earnings are not over 10 cents a day.
Outside of this very low cost of foreign hand labor, the American manufacturer is further handicapped by a tax on his raw material—bristles. All bristles that are used for the toilet-brush industry come from abroad and are subject to a duty of 71 cents per pound, averaging about 3 per cent on their cost. No other country, including Canada, taxes bristles.
Furthermore, the fastidiousness of the American public is such, that they will give a natural preference to an imported article, paying from 10 to 25 per cent more for an imported toilet brush than for an American product of equal quality, simply because of the glamour of the word “imported.” This fact can be ascertained by a visit to any drug or department store.
The result is that after the American toilet-brush manufacturer, overcoming all the above handicaps, succeeds in producing brushes of equal quality to the foreign article, he is obliged to sell them at from 10 to 25 per cent below the foreign brush, because at equal prices with the foreign brush he can not market his product.
There are no combinations or trade agreements between the manufacturers, the industry is scattered all over the country, and the profits are below normal; there are no wealthy toilet-brush manufacturers in this country.
In raising the duty on toilet brushes to 50 per cent, we beg to point out that the revenue produced by this change in the tariff will undoubtedly be enhanced, as this advance, which will be but 7 per cent on the product--the brush per dollar foreign money costing laid down $1.50 instead of $1.40 at the present-is not sufficient to retard the import or sale of foreign toilet brushes in this market. It is, however, very helpful to the domestic manufacturer in meeting the problem of increased labor cost and living up to the restrictions of modern factory laws. Respectfully submitted.
UNIVERSAL Brush Co., HENRY ALEXANDER, President
CONVICT LABOR-SECTION 14.
We petition that the phraseology of the above section be changed as follows:
“That all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor, or by house, home, or tenement labor and not in properly equipped factories, subject to the factory laws of such foreign countries, shall not be entitled to entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation thereof is hereby prohibited; and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this provision."
We contend that as the tendency of legislation in our different States is toward the prohibition of tenement-house, sweatshop, and home labor, all of which is insanitary and without proper factory inspection, it is incumbent upon this Government to prohibit the entry into the United States of goods manufactured under such conditions abroad. And furthermore, as investigation has proven that this home labor is paid abroad at a rate of not over 8 cents to 24 cents per person per day, no protective tarilf can possibly compensate the American manufacturer for the difference of such labor cost between foreign countries and its cost in the United States. And, finally, we contend that it has a tendency to force certain manufacturers in this country to have their work done in tenement houses which otherwise would and should be done in properly equipped factories. Respectfully submitted.
UNIVERSAL Brush Co., Henry ALEXANDER, President.
Troy, N. Y., January 17, 1913. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: The present rate of 40 per cent on toilet brushes which are about all that are imported though but about one-fourth of total of all brushes made in the United States is altogether inadequate, and the lower cost brushes of Japan, Germany, and France are and have been pouring into our country in ever-increasing proportion and duty should be at least 50 per cent.
Importers furnish vast quantities of brushes at less than cost of production here. When it became evident that the Wilson bill would lower the rate on brushes, disaster befell most of the makers of toilet brushes.
The Payne bill was unfair to brushes in failing to advance the rate when requested, though powerful interests and influence prevailed to restore some items that had originally been lowered.
Brushes are one of the few things that should have duty advanced.
We estimate the net increased revenue (from 40 to 50 per cent) at 10 per cent, as amount of duty on what came in would be increased while a little less brushes would come in. Yours, respectfully,
E. & C. Wood Co.,
C. Wood, President. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 18th day of January, 1913. (SEAL.]
STEPHEN COMESKEY, Notary Public in and for the County of Rensselaer, Ń. Y.
BRIEF OF J. E. COULTER, TREASURER, GRAND RAPIDS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., January 23, 1913. To the WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: Referring to Schedule N, paragraphs 423 and 424, which relate to the duty on brushes and bristles, we desire to call the attention of your honorable committee to some facts and figures in connection with the manufacturing of brushes in the United States and in foreign countries. In doing this we are speaking from our own standpoint as manufacturers of toilet brushes and kindred lines (except toothbrushes), but not as manufacturers of paint brushes or artists' brushes, which is an entirely different line of our industry; and we hope to convince you that the present tariff on brushes is entirely inadequate and not high enough to protect the interests of the laboring classes employed in our industry in the United States. The people employed in this industry are of necessity possessed of more than the average intelligence, because of the care and attention to detail required in the proper performance of their duties; therefore they are entitled to a good average wage, and we claim that 40 per cent ad valorem does not cover the difference in the cost of labor which exists between this country and the foreign countries which manufacture brushes and sell them in the United States. The following average wages paid in the brush industry of the different countries will clearly show this:
Per day. United States.
$1.55 England.. France.
.80 Germany (free labor).
.60 Germany (prison labor).
The employees in Japan brush factories are paid as follows: Males, 28 to 38 cents per day; females, 13 to 18 cents per day; children, 8 to 11 cents per day. Average for the working force of a normal factory, 20 cents per day. This is on a basis of two men, three women, and three children.
By carefully figuring our costs we find that in the hairbrush line 60 per cent of the total cost in this country is for labor, and taking two concrete examples as follows:
A hairbrush which costs us for material, $0.95; for labor, $1.40; total, $2.35, we sell at $3 per dozen.
A Japanese manufacturer makes this brush at a cost of: For material, $0.85; for labor, $0.25; total, $1.10. In billing this to New York to his agent he would not, of course, be justified in billing it at cost, but by adding a good fair factory profit he can bill it at $1.35, on which he pays 40 per cent duty, or $0.54; total, $1.89; and this represents the cost of the brush to the Japanese manufacturer's agent in New York. This example shows you that it would take 76 per cent on the price at which the Japanese manufacturer would bill his goods into New York port to make the cost to the New York agent equal ours, or $2.35.
A German manufacturer will make a brush at a cost of: For material, $0.85; for labor, $0.56; total, $1.41. This he could bill to his New York agent at $1.70 and have a profit of 20 per cent for his factory: He pays 40 per cent duty on $1.70, or 68 cents. This makes the brush cost his New York agent $2.38, and this applies to German free labor, but the German prison labor will figure just about the same as Japanese labor.
Another example is a hairbrush which costs us: For material, $4.81; for labor, $7.09; total, $11.90; and which we sell at $16 per dozen.
The Japanese manufacturer can build it at a cost of: For material, $4.81; for labor, $1.19; total, $6. He invoices it to his New York agent at a profit of 33} per cent, or $8 per dozen, on which he pays $3.20 duty, making a cost to his New York agent of $11.20. This enables him to sell the brush at $15 per dozen, or $1 under us, after the manufacturer has already made a profit of $2 per dozen, or 33} per cent, at home.
In this instance it would take a duty of 50 per cent on $8 per dozen, which we have supposed is the price the manufacturer would bill the goods into New York at to his agent, to equal our cost. In this connection we might say that there is nothing to hinder either of these parties from invoicing the goods to their New York agents at
120 to 30 cents per day.