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been pretty much all over it. It was this patriotic feeling that, during the Spanish War, in some few weeks brought 200,000 boys to the colors. Those were the boys who brought the victory. They were used to fireworks and the dangers of shooting and all kinds of things like that. Take them away from your children, away from young America here, and the country may some day regret they have educated lambs instead of men. That is a necessity that is called for. In other countries they have what you call the standing army or compulsory military service, where the requirement is that everyone has to be a soldier; but here you have to look for something else.
Mr. FORDNEY. I notice paragraph 433, under which you are talking, includes bombs. Those are necessary in very many instances, are they not? They are used extensively?
Mr. WAGNER. There are various kinds of bombs, and some are not necessary.
Mr. FORDNEY. As to that particular I am joking, but the point is you are asking for a lower rate of duty so you can once more import the foreign-made article ?
Mr. WAGNER. If it is possible to bring that business up again; if it has not been killed for good.
Mr. FORDNEY. If just what you are asking for could be brought about, and that is a lower rate of duty so you can increase your importations, it would then lessen domestic production in this country and transfer it abroad, or increase the use of that unnecessary article, would it not?
Mr. WAGNER. I do not know whether it would mean anything of importance, but there is an old saying, “Live and let live.” If a country wants to export goods, it will also have to allow imports that other countries can import here. I have seen it that some people want European goods of many different kinds, and will pay more for them; and if you go on the other side you will find some people can not find goods good enough unless they are American goods, and they will pay more for them there.
Mr. FORDNEY. Is it not true that a bomb, a firecracker, or a skyrocket can be made in this country that will make just as much noise as one that is made abroad-and that is what they are for, to make noise ?
Mr. WAGNER. I have not had any importation of any articles that make a large, loud noise; only in the small, innocent things.
Mr. FORDNEY. Even with the small, innocent things they can raise just as much disturbance and create just as much nuisance if made here as if made abroad; and if you get into the law the words you are expressing here, it means destruction to that much domestic industry in this country and the growth of that much abroad. Is not that right?
Mr. WAGNER. No, sir; it is not, for several reasons.
Mr. FORDNEY. How do you figure out that sending our money abroad and employing some people in Europe to make these firecrackers does not displace some American laborer making firecrackers?
Mr. WAGNER. It is not firecrackers. It is only some specialties that can be made better in Europe than here.
Mr. FORDNEY. If it is a specialty that is not made here but that is made in Europe to be used here, your tariff would not make any difference as to that particular specialty ?
Mr. WAGNER. It can not be bought here if they want it, because there is a certain limit that can not come over. When the tariff becomes so high that it can not be sold for one cent there is no sale for it. I can not raise an article to one and one-half cents or two cents.
Mr. FORDNEY. You never saw a patriotic boy yet that would not have something to raise Ned with on the Fourth of July. You never saw a patriotic boy that would let a cost of two or three cents prevent him from having something to make a noise with on the Fourth of July.
a Mr. WAGNER. The most of the things I speak of are colors that do not make a noise.
In the last five or six years, according to statistics, there were more than 25,000 accidents in the country on the Fourth of July, and not one has been laid to the door of any of the goods which I import.
Mr. FORDNEY. Since your importations have fallen off, though, those articles have increased in value to the American consumer or have gone down in price?
Mr. WAGNER. They are pretty nearly the same price for inferior goods.
Mr. FORDNEY. Then the tariff has not cut any figure so far as the American consumer is concerned, only it has transferred the industry
in which you engage from abroad to the United States. That is what • the law has done. That is your argument, is it not? You do not import now, but you did then?
Mr. WAGNER. Yes, sir.
Mr. FORDNEY. So now the American is making them instead of the foreigner, and you can get the American-made goods if you want them?
Mr. WAGNER. I can not get goods equal to these. It can not pay to buy goods second hand.
Mr. FORDNEY. I never knew firecrackers to be bought second hand yet.
Mr. WAGNER. These are not firecrackers.
New York, N. Y., February 10, 1913. Mr. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD, Chairman of Committee on Ways and Means,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Dear Sir: Permit me in consequence of the evidence given by me in the hearing on the 30th of January, in regard to paragraph 433, to add some information which, after what later transpired in this matter, has become necessary to add.
In the same meeting (the 30th) almost directly after my testimony was taken, Mr. D. Walter Bell of the Pittsburgh Sparkler Co., presented some evidence in regard to electric sparklers, on which he requested a reasonably high duty in order to protect his export business.
This request, coming just after I addressed the committee showing that a great reduction in the present tariff is necessary if the country in future should have any revenue at all from fireworks, makes it look almost like the whole question at issue was high or low duty on sparklers.
Whether the duty on sparklers is high or low, in as far as revenue is regarded, is without any difference. No revenue can be obtained from this article, as Europe can not compete with the United States with this article in this country. Formerly great quantities of sparklers were imported from Europe, but as soon as manufac
turers in this country started to copy this article (which is of European origin) the importation discontinued-and it discontinued long before the Payne bill went into effect in 1909, and in the figures I have given over my importations in 1907, 1908, and 1909, not a single gross of sparklers is included.
Sparklers are sold in this country at 20 cents the gross. I have bought good sparklers even at 18 and 19 cents. The highest price asked for domestic sparklers from a jobber is 25 cents a gross.
They come generally in boxes, 12 pieces in a carton.
One gross carton, 12 in a carton, costs from $2.40 to $3. Three dollars is the highest price a wholesale fireworks business pays, and the most are sold cheaper.
The cheapest price ever quoted me for sparklers in Europe is 3.50 marks, less 5 and 2 per cent per gross. Cartons of 12 sparklers equal to $3, .08 to .09, or in case lots at 10 gross, $30.80, whereas a case American sparklers is sold to the jobber at about $25 to $30, or an average of $27 a case.
As far as I remember, a case weighs 290 to 300 pounds. (These goods can be shipped in Germany in large cases, as they are not considered explosives.)
From this it will be seen that European sparklers can not be sold at all in the United States, even if there were no duty on them at all. The freight on fireworks has been raised enormously. No steamer will carry more of that class of goods from Hamburg or Bremen, and at present the cheapest calculation at which I can bring any fireworks from Europe to the United States is 8 cents per pound, gross weight.
There is thus no necessity for high duty on such goods, to protect American industry, nor do I understand Mr. Bell's meaning in stating that a reasonably high duty is necessary in order to protect American export. Whether the duty is $10 the pound on these fireworks articles, or they are on the free list, has no bearing on the exports from the United States. What the meaning is I can not understand, as I find no meaning in a request for high import duty in order to protect the export.
In connection with this, I would state that there was a movement up this winter to get all the factories that manufacture sparklers to raise the price from 20 to 45 cents the gross. This plan failed; also another plan of raising the price somewhat les I was informed that one factory would not take part in this action unless the other parties would grant this factory certain privileges.
If such a corner should be successfully worked another year it would, of course, be of great benefit to the so-called Fireworks Trust, if under disguise of protecting American labor a duty of 300 pounds at 12 cents gross weight, $36 a case, could be maintained. The trust could then do as it wanted.
The present high duty is an excellent protection for the trust, but if revenue is desired from fireworks, the present rate must be cut very considerably. Respectfully, yours,
Edw. H. WAGNER.
TESTIMONY OF D. WALTER BELL.
Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman and members of the Ways and Means Committee, I am here representing the American Sparkler Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., who are manufacturers of what are known as sparklers. I have some samples here on the table. These sparklers are made in various sizes, and are ordinarily put up in pasteboard boxes, generally a dozen to a box. That is No. 433, under fireworks and articles not otherwise specifically provided for. These are an absolutely harmless article, I might say, by way of recommendation to the American public generally, and I will light one a little later on if you would like. This is the ordinary size [exhibiting). The larger ones are known as torches. They are absolutely luxuries. They are used on festive occasions of all kinds—the Fourth of July, Christmas, New Year, holiday celebrations, parties, balls, and illuminations generally.
The CHAIRMAN. What duty do they pay now!
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any importations coming through the customhouse?
Mr. BELL. I am not able to say about that. I doubt if there are. If there are, there are very few, as far as I know. I can not say as to that, because I am simply representing the company and am down here at Lynchburg. I am representing it as a stockholder, and representing the interests of the sparkler here.
'The CHAIRMAN. We would like to know very much the amount of the importations and the amount of the American production.
Mr. BELL. Yes. I would say, in the second place, that there are absolutely no combinations in this country between the manufacturers. On the contrary there is a fierce warfare and competition between such manufacturers as there are. They have even gone to the length, some of them, of putting our goods in their boxes and selling them as samples--those who make an inferior article, and who wish to get the business in that way. I would say the third reason for the retention of the duty is that the business is absolutely new. We have been in operation four years, getting in shape. It is in a state of incubation. I would say that in that time we have lost about $12,000. We do not go to any great expense in the way of salaries and so forth; aside from the president of our company, who is paid $150 a month, and the stenographers, we have but one salaried man, who receives $20 a week. Apart from the stenographers, practically everyone is on the basis of piecework. One of the good features of the business is that it affords employment for young women at good rates of pay, a good deal better than the department stores and without the necessity for an outlay for appearance sake. It is a very good business from that standpoint.
Now, we have foreign competition. We are trying to build up an export business. I would say that we could not get any export business at all if it were purely a matter of competing prices, but with American ingenuity we have been able to devise certain exclusive features which, so far, have not been copied by our German friends, who are our chief competitors. In the first place, we make a sparkler which is waterproof, so it will stand in any kind of atmosphere and will permit its transportation across the Tropics. The waterproof sparkler enables us to reach a trade which is at a long distance and over sea, such as the Philippines, Java, and China and Japan, but we can not reach trade near Germany or in Europe, because their prices undersell us. We have lost some very large foreign orders; for instance, we lost one Asiatic order of about $40,000. We have been able to devise a lighter weight sparkler, which gets us into such countries as the South American countries, where they levy heavy import duties on weights. We make a sparkler so that 144 dozen will not weigh more than 100 dozen of the German make, so we have been able to get into, say, Brazil, by virtue of the lighter weight. Those things have enabled us to get some trade there and throughout the world, but we are not able to meet the Germans on the proposition of price when it comes to that feature exclusively.
Now, another point in connection with this matter is that we pay heavy duties on the articles that we use, and the conditions are such that a reduction of imports on these articles will not help us mate
rially, if at all. For instance, we use powdered aluminum of the very highest grade, which pays 12 cents a pound import duty. That is controlled by a combination in Germany. It is not made in the United States, although I heard just recently that a company in America is just starting out to make an aluminum powder. Whether they will succeed or not is a question to be determined.
Now, we have tried all other makes and kinds, and can not use any other. Dextrine is also made in Germany, and it is in the hands of one person. Our nitrate pays 3 cents a pound and 25 per cent ad valorem, and that is also controlled by a very few wealthy individuals. Now, I do not think the reduction of duty on any of these articles would help us, because they will simply raise theirs up so much more. As a matter of fact they have gotten together and advanced prices very largely. In addition to that, we have heavy differences in freights-ocean freights-and in the cost of labor and materials. We started in under the former tariff just about the time of the present existing tariff, and if we had known as much as we do now, we never would have started in under that tariff, because it would have been impossible to succeed, and it would be impossible to succeed under any material reduction in the tariff.
My position in the matter is this, that I would like to see reasonable duties kept upon the ingredients which we use, which I have mentioned, to give the people here a chance to develop these goods. We have had to go to Germany by compulsion. I believe in keeping a reasonable degree of duty on these articles to encourage the American manufacturer, so we can buy them at home. That is what we want to do.
These sparklers are dipped on wire, which is copper coated. We have been able to buy the wire and our steel at home so far, and I presume we shall be able to continue to do so. Those are practically the only two domestic articles that we use in the manufacture of sparklers ?
Mr. Dixon. Light one of them.
Mr. BELL. The younger generation pretty generally know what sparklers are, but I would not have known myself what they were, except for the fact that I am interested in their manufacture.
The witness thereupon lighted one of the said sparklers.
Mr. BELL. At night they make a very pretty display. The incandescent particles are very finely divided steel, so finely divided that they chill instantly on touching the flesh, and do not do any particular damage.
Mr. Dixon. How many are there in a box?
Mr. BELL. This size box retails for 3 cents a box. I want to bring out the fact that a reduction in the price to the wholesaler, even if we had to force down our prices, would not materially help the consumer, for two reasons: One of the principal reasons is on account of the trade custom. The trade in these little novelties is accustomed to get certain prices-3 cents or 5 cents or 10 cents for a box of these things