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PARAGRAPH 427—BUTTONS.

The lowering of the tariff again in 1893 caused nearly all the manufacturers that had survived the previous depression, to discontinue.

The business as it is to-day has nearly all been built up during the last 15 to 18 years and can now only be considered as being fairly well established. Because of its proportionately large pay roll it has thus far been of more value to the community and to the employees than to the employers.

The following figures taken from the census of 1910, show the relative position of the button industry as regards number employed in relation to capital invested:

Number of employees per million dollars of capital. Buttons..... 1, 118 | Printing and publishing.....

625 Boots and shoes. 966 Foundry and machine shops.

400 Men's clothing. 956 Liquor industry.

99 Hosiery and knit goods..

825 All manufacturing industries.. 411 Lumber and products.....

626 Gentlemen, let me assure you that this is simply a statement of a few facts, omitting the sad details of hardships, mental distress, and bodily suffering, occasioned through no employment during the two long periods of low tariff depressions in this industry. I know from past experience that, personally, we could do more business with the same amount of capital and with less work and responsibility if under a low tariff we would import the bulk of our goods instead of making them here, but it is on behalf of the thousands of worthy Americans who depend upon this industry for their living that I come before you to make this appeal and, gentlemen, I thank you for the opportunity. Respectfully submitted.

M. B. SHANTZ.

SUPERIOR IVORY BUTTON Co., Newark, N. J., WRITE CONCERNING IVORY BUTTONS.

NEWARK, N. J., January 29, 1913. Hon. Oscar D. UNDERWOOD,

Chairman Ways and Means Committee, and Members of the Committee. GENTLEMEN: As the committee of ivory button manufacturers can not be given a hearing, we beg to submit, for the consideration of your committee, some important facts bearing on the tariff of vegetable ivory buttons.

We understand that an advalorem duty of 45 per cert is advocated by the Ways and Means Committee, and we wish to point out how such a duty, if adopted, would prove ruinous to such manufacturers as are engaged in the production of the cheaper grades of goods, while on the other hand giving practically a monopoly to those manufacturing a better quality of goods. The following examples showing the cost of 22 and 27 ligne buttons of the lower grade imported from Italy are based on actual quotations from a foreign manufacturer:

Example No. 1. 22 ligne button, cost per great gross (Italy)...

$1. 72 Plus 45 per cent ad valorem duty.

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Example No. 1 shows the cost of an imported button (with 45 per cent ad valorem duty added) to be $2.491 per great gross, while that same button can not be produced here for less than $3.50, a difference of $1.004 in favor of the foreign article.

In example No. 2 we have the cost of a 27 ligne (a larger size) button imported at $3.174. Yet that button can not be produced here to sell at less than $4.50, a difference of $1.324 in favor of the foreign button.

PARAGRAPH 427-BUTTONS.

Noexhorbitant profit has been figured in the above-named prices of $3.50 and $4.50— only 5 per cent. This, it must be admitted, is a minimum profit, but the maximum profit does not exceed 10 per cent.

In the above examples we have taken a trouser button, which is the lowest in price. Coat, vest, and sleeve buttons are made of the same material, but bring a trifle better price. Nevertheless, these goods would practically fare no better under a duty of 45 per cent ad valorem. It is plain from the above that under such conditions the American manufacturer could not exist.

Our idea of a duty that would be fair to all concerned is a specific duty of one-half cent per ligne per gross and 10 per cent ad valorem, and we illustrate below how this would operate, using the same buttons as were used in examples Nos. 1 and 2.

Example No. 3. 22-ligne button cost per great gross in Italy....

$1. 72 Plus specific duty of cent per gross per ligne.

1. 32 Plus ad valorem duty of 10 per cent.

. 17 Cost of foreign button here.......

3. 21 as against $3.50, the lowest price at which the same button could be made to sell for here.

Example No. 4. 27-ligne button cost per great gross in Italy.

$2. 19 Plus specific duty off cent per gross per ligne..

1. 62 Plus ad valorem duty, 10 per cent..

.22

4. 03 as against $4.50, the lowest price at which the same button could be made to sell for in this country.

It will be seen from examples Nos. 3 and 4 that even under a duty of 10 per cent ad valorem and one-half cent per ligne specific, buttons that can not be produced to sell for less than $3.50 and $4.50 per great gross, respectively, can be imported for $3.21 and $4.03. It is only $0.29 and $0.47 per great gross below the domestic price under this duty, as against $1.004 and $1.324 below domestic price under a specific duty of 45 per cent; but on coat, vest, and sleeve buttons which are not sold so close the American and foreign would be on an equal basis.

To show how the 45 per cent ad valorem duty and that of one-half cent per ligue per gross specific duty and 10 per cent ad valorem duty would operate on the better grade of goods, we give examples 5 and 6.

Example No. 5. 24 ligne, better grade, cost, per gross (Italy).

$0.50 Plus 45 per cent ad valorem..

. 221 Cost of foreign button here......

.721 This same button is sold for $0.65 per gross here, which indicates that the duty of 45 per cent ad valorem is somewhat excessive.

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Example No. 6. 24 ligne, better grade cost per gross (Italy).

$0.50 10 per cent ad valorem duty.

.05 1 cent per ligne per gross specific duty. Cost of foreign button here......

.67 As stated above this button can be made to sell for $0.65 here, leaving the article amply protected under a specific and ad valorem duty.

We believe we have shown that under a duty of 45 per cent ad valorem the manufacturers of the lower grades (who represent about 60 per cent of the total manufacturers) come to ruin, while the manufacturer of the better grades is excessively protected. We have also shown that under a duty of one-half cent per ligne per gross

PARAGRAPH 427-BUTTONS.

and 10 per cent ad valorem both are amply protected, and while perhaps we may feel that the latter is the proper duty, yet what we would emphasize most is that only such a duty be adopted as will be fair to both classes, which is not true of the 45 per cent ad valorem, as has been demonstrated above.

When we invested in a new building last spring, we felt that the Democratic Party would be successful. But we felt, too, that the party would be fair and just in its tariff reductions.

A reduction of 33} per cent is certainly very liberal. Furthermore, it is the limit. The suggested duty of one-half cent per ligne specific and 10 per cent ad valorem represents a 33} per cent reduction--the limit. We would prefer a reduction of only 25 per cent; but if we must concede more, we trust that we will not be compelled to concede more than the limit and thus be forced to abandon a business which required hard work to establish.

We have just invested $100,000 in a modern plant. We pay the highest wages and have been able to keep our men employed steadily. Our position is that of a manufacturer who desires an honest tariff that is fair to the consumer and that will protect the American workman and American capital. With this in view we shall be glad to give any further information that you may desire. Very respectfully,

SUPERIOR IVORY BUTTON Co.
A. BRODERSON, Treasurer.

BRIEF OF SNYDER & WHEELER, NEW YORK, N. Y.

NEW YORK, February 4, 1919. The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,

Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: We understand the Treasury Department has recently decided importations by United States ivory button manufacturers of ivory nut slabs from Italy as free of duty.

Your committee last week gave a hearing to a deputation of ivory button manufacturers, who, we think, made out a good case for retention of present duties on ivory buttons, an article very largely, indeed, of labor when finished. To be consistent in demonstrating necessity of protection from the cheap labor of Italy, Japan, and Austria, hardly see why the United States manufacturers should benefit, as they are beginning to do, of the cheap labor of Italy, etc., on a portion of the process of button manufacture.

A concession has lately been granted by Ecuador to parties who will put up a plant for drying, shucking, and cutting ivory nuts into slabs. Among the other reasons against permitting these slabs to come free of duty:

The putting of ivory nuts into slab form reduces their bulk to nearly one-half, and to that extent would reduce freight earnings by steamship and railroad lines.

Amount of labor now employed in United States in the bringing of ivory nuts along as far as slabs is of considerable item, and who could not exist against foreigners doing this amount of manufacture. The mere freight on slabs to United States would be a bagatelle compared to labor discrimination involved.

Trade with South America would be injured, as, naturally, ivory nuts would go to a greater extent to countries of cheap labor, if such countries could send the slabs free into the United States; and inward goods usually mean outward goods of like amount for our merchants with South America.

Ivory nuts and ivory nut slabs are used wholly and solely in the manufacture of buttons.

It is important to this trade that a duty be placed on slabs, or pieces of ivory nuts in tariff bi now forming, for if not now recognized by your committee it may be a long time before it can again be brought up, and by then irreparable harm will have been done to a trade of long and satisfactory existence.

The duty on ivory nut slabs, or pieces, should, in our estimation, be at least 35 per cent. Yours, respectfully,

SNYDER & WHEELER.

PARAGRAPH 427_BUTTONS.

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BRIEF OF DUMAREST BROS. AND Isaac BRANDON & Bros., New YORK.
Ivory NutsWhen Sawn or Cut into Slabs.

New YORK, February 8, 1913. The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,

Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: We understand the Treasury Department has recently decided importations by United States ivory-button manufacturers of ivory-nut slabs from Italy as free of duty.

Your committee last week gave a hearing to a deputation of ivory-button manufacturers who, we think, made out a good case for retention of present duties on ivory buttons, an article very largely, indeed, of labor when finished. To be consistent in demonstrating necessity of protection from the cheap labor of Italy, Japan, and Austria, hardly see why the United States manufacturers should benefit, as they are beginning to do, of the cheap labor of Italy, etc., on a portion of the process of button manufacture.

A concession has lately been granted by Ecuador to parties who will put up a plant for drying, shucking, and cutting ivory nuts into slabs.

Among other reasons against permitting these slabs to come free or duty:

The putting of ivory nuts into slab form reduces their bulk to nearly one-half, and to that extent would reduce freight earnings by steamship and railroad lines.

Amount of labor now employed in United States in the bringing of ivory nuts along as far as slabs is of considerable item, and who could not exist against foreigners doing this amount of manufacture, the mere freight on slabs to United States would be a bagatelle compared to labor discrimination involved.

Trade with South America would be injured, as, naturally, ivory nuts would go to a greater extent to countries of cheap labor, if such countries could send the slabs free into the United States. And inward goods usually mean outward goods of like amount for our merchants with South America.

Ivory nuts and ivory-nut slabs are used wholly and solely in the manufacture of buttons.

It is important to this trade that a duty be placed on slabs or pieces of ivory nuts in tariff bill now forming, for if not now recognized by your committee it may be a long time before it can again be brought up, and by then irreparable harm will have been done to a trade of long and satisfactory existence.

The duty on ivory-nut slabs or pieces should, in our estimation, be at least 35 per cent. Yours, respectfully,

DUMAREST Bros.,
Isaac BRANDON & Bros. (Inc.),

Importers of Ivory Nuts, etc.

TESTIMONY OF ADOLPH KELLER, OF NEW YORK CITY.

The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Keller.

Mr. KELLER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appear here for two purposes, first, on agate buttons, paragraph 427, and on trouser buckles, paragraph 425, of Schedule N.

Speaking of agate buttons. I represent Messrs. Strauss Bros. & Co., J. Porter & Co., and ourselves, Dieckerhoff, Rafller & Co., all of New York City, in whose behalf I respectfully request a reduction of duty on buttons commercially known as agate buttons.

The rate of duty assessed under the present tariff act, paragraph 427, is one-twelfth of a cent per line gross and 15 per cent ad valorem. Although it may seem that there were $200,000 worth of those goods imported last year, the agate buttons that were imported predominating were the agate shoe buttons. Seventy-five per cent of the agate buttons that came in the country last year were shoe buttons.

PARAGRAPH 427-BUTTONS.

The other 25 per cent was the agate button, and these are buttons that are not manufactured in this country at all. They are absolutely a foreign production, and there is no possible chance within the near future of them ever being manufactured in this country, for the sinple reason that the raw material has never been found in this country to produce these goods.

Mr. HARRISON. Where do they come from?
Mr. KELLER. From Paris, Germany, and there is an Italian factory.

Mr. HARRISON. Where do they get the material out of which they make them ?

Mr. KELLER. From China.

Mr. HARRISON. So Paris and Germany import agate from China and manufacture the buttons and ship them over here?

Mr. KELLER. Although the button is known as in agate button, it is not agate.

Mr. HARRISON. What is it?

Mr. KELLER. It is an earth. It is only commerically known as an agate button. It is the cheapest kind of button manufactured. It is used principally on the garments such as children's clothing, cheap shirts, and in fact on the cheapest kind of clothing that is made.

Mr. HARRISON. It is not actually the cheapest button that comes in? That is a nickel-bar button, which is cheaper still ?

Mr. KELLER. No; there are agate buttons cheaper than this.

Mr. HARRISON. The unit of value of agate buttons is three-tenths of a cent, and the unit value of the nickel-bar buttons, of which there is a very small importation, is one-tenth of a cent?

Mr. KELLER. I think they are absolutely prohibitive is to the nickelbar button.

Mr. HARRISON. Practically, yes. But the bulk of the imports of buttons are of these agate buttons you are now testifying about?

Mr. KELLER. Yes, sir; when the domestic manufacturers put the price of buttons under the McKinley tariff, in making the various schedules as they appear in the tariff now, I think there are about eight different rates of duty, and when they made that they made a high enough rate that they even prohibited their own manufacture of certain classes of buttons, and they can not even sell them.

Mr. HARRISON. So far as this very high tariff of 45 per cent on agate buttons is concerned, it is purely a revenue tariff, and there is no protection in it?

Mr. KELLER. There is a protection.
Mr. HARRISON. Because it protects other kinds of buttons ?

Mr. KELLER. Not necessarily. It does not protect other buttons, for this reason: The usual button, for instance, is one where 75 per cent come in and are protected at one-twelfth of a cent a line and 15 per cent, the same as the agate button, but the differential duty on those only runs 25 to 40 per cent; so there is really no protection there. If they were specific under the same paragraph as shoe buttons, where they are only providing for paper, and on the same rate, I believe, of 1 cent a gross, it would be impossible to import those shoe buttons.

Mr. Harrison. Suppose we put a 25 per cent ad valorem duty on agate buttons, would there be more imported ?

Mr. KELLER. There certainly would.

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