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ris, Traveling Expert G. H. Tod, and Superintendent A. S. Cole. There will also be bunkhouses for 20 Chinese workmen.
The above item was furnished by a San Francisco news agency, from which it can be reasonably inferred that the buildings to be erected within the short space of three months, and built of corrugated iron, etc., can not be very costly, yet the capital of the Coast Manufacturing & Supply Co. (of which R. H. Ensign, of Šimsbury, Conn., is president) is capitalized for $1,000,000, one-twentieth of which represents the buildings and machinery, while the remaining nineteen-twentieths are covered by good will and water-mostly water.
R. G. Dun & Co. also state that the parent concern (Ensign-Bickford Co., of Simsbury, Conn.) is a close corporation and highly prosperous. In proof of this, R. H. Ensign reported that the company had quite a large surplus over the capital stock of $1,600,000, but did not care to state how much it really was, except that a large part of their assets were in the form of first-class securities.
The duty on safety fuse should be reduced from 35 to 10 per cent, for the reason that the production of that article costs less in this country than abroad. Cotton, which forms an important part of the imported fuse, is exported from this country to Europe, and the duty unfairly placed upon a domestic product.
The business in this country is practically owned by a trust (Ensign-Bickford Co.) which constitutes a monopoly, and President Wilson says “Business must be set free of any form or kind of monopoly.”
A reduction of only 10 per cent (from 35 to 25 per cent) will be of little benefit, because the duty is applied to the cost at the factory, and would be equivalent to only 5 per cent to the consumer, after adding the duty, cost of transportation from the factory to the various points of consumption in this country, as well as only a reasonable profit to the importer and retailer.
American fuse is exported at 25 per cent less than for home consumption, and as the trust is just as eager to secure the foreign business as that at home, it must be obvious, even to the uninitiated, that a reduction of duty to that extent (from 35 to 10 per cent) will not affect American or Chinese labor.
Blasting caps for mining purposes, also manufactured by a trust (another monopoly), should be placed upon the same footing as percussion caps used by sportsmen, namely, 30 per cent ad valorem, instead of $2.25 per thousand, and equal to about 100 per cent, which is nothing less than legalized robbery.
Documents in support of the above have already been submitted to your honorable committee. Respectfully,
J. Fitz. BRIND.
DENVER, Colo., December 17, 1912. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: In my letter of 13th instant I inadvertently said “the original duties of the McKinley tariff were afterwards restored.” It should have been the Dingley tariff of 1897.
In that act the duty on blasting caps was $2.36 per 1,000—just 5 per cent more than the present duty of $2.25.
No provision, however, was made for blasting fuse. The duty on gutta-percha covered fuse (that being the article of chief value) was 35 per cent, but if cotton was the principal item of manufacture it was 45 per cent, both being the same as at present.
There are only two factories in this country making blasting caps——the Metallic Cap Co. of New Jersey, with principal office in New York, but owned by the Du Pont Powder Trust, and the other in San Francisco, owned by the California Cap Co.-both factories employing less than 100 people altogether.
When the present outrageous duty was first placed on blasting caps, it was done on account of the high tax on alcohol, large quantities of which were used in the manufacture (12 parts of alcohol and 1 part of fulminate of mercury), but at the present time denatured alcohol at the cost of 60 cents per gallon (instead of straight alcohol at $3 per gallon) is used, being only one-fifth of previous cost.
In Mexico there is a specific duty on blasting caps, as well as sporting caps, but the
a latter is ten times greater than the former, the actual rate on blasting caps being equal to an ad valorem duty of only 3 per cent instead of 100 per cent, as in the present Payne bill, while sporting caps are equal to 30 per cent.
Blasting fuse has a specific duty equal to 7 per cent ad valorem, instead of 35 per cent in this country.
Furthermore, importers of blasting caps in the city of Mexico are selling No. 3 (XXX) quality, at $2.75 (United States currency) per 1,000, but in the United States, precisely the same grade of domestic caps (owing to the excessive duty) can not be had for less than $5.50 per 2,000 which is exactly 100 per cent higher.
The result is, the American miners are robbed right and left, and it is high time they should get the relief they long have sought. Respectfully, yours,
J. Fitz. BRIND.
BRIEF OF CALIFORNIA CAP CO., RELATIVE TO DUTY ON BLAST
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 27, 1913. To the honorable Committee on Ways and Means:
The undersigned, California Cap Co., is a manufacturer of blasting caps, with factory located on San Francisco Bay, Cal. It does not manufacture percussion caps, mining fuse, cartridges, dynamite, or powder.
It asks that blasting caps be classified as at present and that the specific duty thereon be retained, as in paragraph No. 437 of the tariff act of 1909, for the reasons briefly stated below and to be accompanied with details if you desire further particulars in the matter of maintaining an exceptional industry.
1. The industry is small, but important. It is hazardous, and the capital in vested is not large. Less than one and a half million dollars will cover the entire cost of the factories in the United States, of which there are four, all competitors.
2. Blasting caps are small, but essential to all blasting operations and the consequent industrial existence of the country. The cost of each cap is less than 1 cent, but the efficiency of expensive work, the life and limb of operator, and liability of employer depend upon its high quality.
3. From a tariff point of view, blasting caps are not revenue producers and never can be. The market is limited. Approximately $800,000 worth is all that are consumed annually in the entire United States. A larger quantity of caps would not be used if given away, because only one cap is placed in each blast. The Du Pont Co. sells such enormous quantities of other explosives, in which blasting caps of uniform quality are so necessary, that we venture to say they would be compelled to continue manufacturing caps even at a loss, and could make their dynamite sales carry whatever losses there might be on caps; hence the importations would increase only by what we small producers would lose. Kill us in favor of possible revenue and the Government would not derive over $25,000 per year, if that. On the other hand, our continued existence is worth infinitely more than this to the consumer and to the Government as well as to ourselves.
4. The results of a revision of the tariff, either by reduction or by an ad valorem rate, lower than 75 per cent, will be–a) dangerous to the consumer. (6) Will not benefit anybody except importers. (c) Will leave the business in the hands of only one doméstic factory and foreigners. (d) Will make the country dependent upon irregular supply because the opportunities for shipment are restricted on account of passenger vessels not being permitted to transport blasting caps., (e) Will necessitate the transporting and warehousing of large quantities of an article dangerous at its best. (1) Will encourage competition in cheap caps of insufficient strength, hence dangerous.
5. The United States Government appropriates nearly half a million dollars each year to its Bureau of Mines, one of whose aims is to encourage the general use of highgrade caps with all explosives so as to prevent one of the very menaces which a reduction in duty would stimulate, namely, the sale of cheap caps of insufficient strength to inexperienced miners and farmers who are using dynamite more extensively in agricultural pursuits. Modern high explosives are purposely made less sensitive so as to be handled with comparatively less danger. Being less sensitive they require larger and stronger caps. It is very dangerous and may cause inestimable losses in other ways if a low-grade or cheap cap get into any of these so-called "safety" or "perPARAGRAPH 437-AMMUNITION. missible” explosives. Nevertheless the inexperienced are tempted to buy these cheap caps when they get a chance. So we feel that the good work of that bureau should not be blocked by a move to derive a few thousand dollars' revenue and at the same time bring about a condition which may cost the Government a few lives and several hundred thousand dollars to correct.
6. It is public policy to maintain the present ideal conditions, as to locations of blasting-cap factories on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in western Pennsylvania. There is also one projected in the Middle West. These factories make a convenient distribution of the product for the consumer to minimize the risk of accidents to the traveling public in the matter of having the dangers from transportation and storage not extend farther than necessary; and also having supplies available to the consumer not so far away as to make consequent high cost of freight and slower deliveries.
7. Consumers are satisfied with present conditions. They get a square deal” and fare as well and in some instances better than consumers in foreign countries, both as regards price and quality. All of the caps that can reasonably be used in a round of blasts costs on an average of 24 cents per miner per day, for the best quality. Experience has proven that quality, reliability, and availability are more important to the consumer than saving the mere part of only 1 or 2 cents a day, when several hundred dollars' worth of work is so largely dependent upon it, to say nothing of possible personal injury or loss of life.
8. Blasting caps being contraband of war, it would be poor economic policy to kill so important an industry.
9. Canada has only one blasting-cap factory, which is sufficient to take care of the requirements there, and that Government recognizes the necessity of protecting it by tariff. No importations are made into Canada, either from the United States or elsewhere.
10. The present duty here is a fair difference between cost here and abroad on caps of desirable quality; it gives life to us, the independent manufacturers, and stimulates domestic competition.
In conclusion, a lower rate of duty can not make blasting caps a revenue producer, can not benefit the consumer, and can not continued the advisable existence of us small independent producers. The justice of maintaining the present specific duty, “blasting caps $2.25 per 1,000,” should therefore be recognized and this duty continued for the cogent reasons above stated. Respectfully submitted.
CALIFORNIA CAP Co., By R. L. OLIVER, Manager.
BRIEF OF E. I. DU PONT DE NEMOURS POWDER CO.
The WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I would like to impress upon the minds of the committee the fact that the manufacture of blasting caps, considered as an industry by itself, apart from the manufacture of high explosives in the detonation of which they are required, is a business of small volume. The total trade in the United States does not exceed $1,000,000 annually. This trade is supplied by three factories, and the total annual output is approximately 200,000,000 caps. The unit of production is 1,000 caps. Thus there are 200,000 units. It would seem, therefore, that from the viewpoint of revenue the industry, whatever the tariff may be, will be all but negligible. With the present tariff reduced it is doubtful if the revenue derived from importations would reach a total of $75,000. This is on the assumption that the foreign manufacturers might supply one-half the caps annually consumed in the United States.
The effect a reduction of the present tariff, which is $2.25 per thousand, would have on the business of the Du Pont Co., while important, is not vital. Our business consists chiefly in the manufacture and sale of explosives, and in order to protect the integrity of our product we will be compelled to continue the manufacture of caps whether we make any profit on them or not. Upon the quality of the blasting cap depends the efficiency of the explosive and the safety of those who are engaged in its use. While the cap itself is of little financial value, its importance in connection with the blast is vital. A strong cap means complete detonation, and complete detonation means a perfect blast free from dangerous gases. A weak cap means incomplete detonation and a consequent imperfect blast with the generation of those poisonous gases which are the terror of all miners.
As the art of making explosives has advanced there has come into ever-increasing use the so-called insensitive powders, by which is meant those powders which are not as easily exploded as is straight dynamite and which require stronger caps to effect their explosion. So-called permissible explosives are examples of the result of the splendid effort which has been directed largely by the Bureau of Mines, fostered by the Government. Strong blasting caps are absolutely essential to the carrying out of the results and recommendations of the Bureau of Mines. Indeed, in all the literature sent out by the bureau it urges the use of strong caps and goes so far as to say, " Permissible explosives are permissible only when used with the caps prescribed by the bureau. None of these caps prescribed are of less strength than what is known as the No. 6 cap. Should this duty be reduced it would lead to the importation of cheaper low-grade caps, which would be a menace to the lives of all who use them. This is the most serious phase of this question.
I have been in the business of manufacturing and selling explosives for 30 years, and I would say that, in view of the reduction of fatalities since the so-called safety explosives have come into use, if it were in my power I not only would forbid the importation from abroad, but the manufacture at home of the low-grade caps. It is true that for many years they were considered good enough to explode dynamite, but we have learned after bitter experience, having seen the terrible toll in human lives collected through the years, that they are not good enough. We know now that the stronger the cap the more complete and safer the explosion,
and, in view of the ever-increasing uses to which dynamite is being put, this feature of safety should be considered of primary importance. I doubt if the members of this committee, or indeed anyone not engaged in the manufacture of explosives, appreciate the extent to which dynamite is now being used for agricultural purposes- not only in blowing up stumps and breaking bowlders, but in planting trees, digging post holes, ditching, draining swamps, and subsoiling vast areas. This means that dynamite is to be handled by thousands of inexperienced people and emphasizes the importance of throwing around it every safeguard possible, and, above all, of decreasing its sensitiveness. The less sensitive the dynamite the stronger the cap must be.
The American manufacturers of caps do not exact from the American consumers of caps an unreasonable profit, and if the members of this committee have any doubt on this subject our books are open for their inspection. Every additional advantage that comes to us in the manufacture finds its way to the consumer. As an instance, with the reduction in the cost of manufacture that came from the use of tax-free alcohol, we passed the advantage to the consumer. On the No. 6 cap this represented a reduction of $1 per thousand. I would frankly state that on the actual investment thie du Pont Co. has in the business of manufacturing caps, hazardous though the business is, their return does not exceed 13 per cent.
Summarizing, I would give the following reasons why a continuation of the present tariff seems advisable:
First (and most important). To keep out of this country weak, foreign caps, the importation of which is a menace to the lives of American workmen not only in mines but in tunnels or on the farm or wherever they may be engaged in handling explosives.
Second. So that American manufacturers will not be tempted in order to meet increased foreign competition, to take a backward step and produce in their own factories the weak and inferior grades of caps which they and the Bureau of Mines have in recent years so urgently advised consumers not to use.
Third. Because it can be shown that the foreign manufacturer contemplates making this country a dumping ground. This is shown by prices quoted by German manufacturers for shipments to this country and Mexico as compared with their domestic prices, export prices being from 40 to 45 per cent less than the price to home consumers. To be more specific, they offer for shipment to this country at $1.96 per thousand the sa me weak No. 3 caps for which they charge their home consumers $3.57 per thousand. They offer their No. 6 for export at $3.57 while for home consumption they quote $5.95, a difference of $2.38, which is more than the present tariff of $2.25.
Fourth. Because the difference in cost to manufacture in this country the grade of caps American consumers now recognize as a minimum reliable quality and the weak, inferior grade that would be imported from Germany under a lower duty is about equal to the present duty per thousand.
Fiith. Because American manufacturers are not taking advantage of American consumers by requiring them to pay the limit the present duty would enable them to exact, but are in fact selling caps at a profit of about $1 per thousand, which is less than one-half the duty of $2.25; thus making the present tariff serve the purpose, not of filling the purse of American manufacturers but of helping to educate American
consumers to the use of caps that will render less frequent the terrible accidents of which we so often read where unexploded dynamite left after a blast subsequently explodes from the use of a pick or a steam shovel.
Sixth. Because the demand for the reduction of this duty comes from importers and jobbers eager to make a small profit by handling the cheap foreign article.
In conclusion, permit me to express the hope that the Congress of the United States that so wisely legislated to protect the consumer against impure food and adulterated drugs, will not, on the chance of securing the merest pittance in the way of revenue, take a step that will practically nullify the successful efforts made by those people who have worked to the end that every possible precaution and safeguard may be thrown around those who handle explosives. Do not invite a return of that awful death that so long "lurked in the blast.”' Respectfully submitted.
E. I. Du Pont DE NEMOURS Powder Co.,
By W. B. LEWIS. WASHINGTON, D. C., January 30, 1913.
BRIEF OF F. BEHREND, NEW YORK, N. Y.
New York, January 18, 1919. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I respectfully call your attention to the high import duty on blasting caps used by miners, paragraph 437. The duty of $2.25 per 1,000 caps, at the present price of detonators in Germany, would mean about 107 per cent, which duty is prohibitive. As much as I know there is only one firm manufacturing these blasting caps in this country, and they have a monopoly for this article. A duty of 25 per cent, in my opinion, would be ample protection.
I also would suggest that one rate of duty on mining or safety fuses should be made, no matter out of what material they are manufactured. The present tariff is not very clear on this article. Thanking you for giving this your kind attention, I remain, Very truly, yours,
F. BEHREND. German detonators, or blasting caps. 1,000 detonators, No. 3, in Germany.
$2.10 Import duty per 1,000 detonators..
2. 25 Equals an ad valorem duty of 107 per cent.
UNION CAP & FUSE CO., CLEVELAND, OHIO, RE BLAST.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 30, 1918 COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND Means,
Sirty-second Congress. GENTLEMEN: In the interest of the Union Cap & Fuse Co., of Cleveland, Ohio, incorporated under the laws of New Jersey, I, as a representative of this company, do hereby petition that the tariff on blasting caps shall not be lowered from its present duty of $2.25 per thousand.
Our argument is, that not only the raw materials which enter into the manufacture of blasting caps, namely, copper, mercury, alcohol, chlorate of potash, and nitric acid, but also labor, can be obtained at such a low rate in foreign countries, especially in England, Germany, and France, as compared with that obtainable in our country, that unless the existing prices of these raw materials and of labor can be reduced in an exact proportion to the amount of any reduction in the tariff on blasting caps our development of successful or practical results is highly problematical.
We started our company only a few months ago in the belief that there is room for one more producer to operate in competition with existing United States manufactories, and while our investigation of possibilities in the venture are not extravagant, we have · faith that we can pull our company through to a level of reasonable success. The summing up of our investigation and formulation of our plans are based on market conditions that have prevailed in the United States in the past and do not contemplate