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PARAGRAPH 463–HORN COMBS.

of manufactured textiles, this term comprising yarns, as well as woven material, of which the component part of chief value is asbestos, as described in the present tariff act of August 5, 1909, Schedule N, paragraph 462, in which the word " yarn" was inadvertently omitted, and which article--the foundation of the asbestos textile industry-should be now classified with woven materials, as orginally intended.

We would respectfully call your attention to the fact that more than 100 per cent of the

cost value of our manufactured asbestos textiles is due to the cost of labor, while in Europe, owing to the great difference in the cost of labor, the same asbestos products can be manufactured at less than one-half the labor cost here.

We further desire to call your attention to the fact that these is no crude asbestos mined or produced in the United States, suitable for the manufacture of asbestos textiles. All the crude asbestos which we use comes from abroad.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, 1912, there was imported into the United States crude asbestos to the value of $1,378,682, which was manufactured here at an additional cost of more than 100 per cent for labor.

During the same period of time there was imported into the United States manufactured goods to the extent of $241,064, on which 25 per cent duty was paid, and manufactured materials to the extent of $96,488, on which 40 per cent duty was paid.

Notwithstanding the present duties of 25 per cent on asbestos yarns and 40 per cent ad valorem on woven asbestos materials, these present duties are so inadequate a protection to our young and struggling industry that within the past half a dozen years the importation of these asbestos textile products has increased over 100 per cent in volume. More than doubled, in spite of all our efforts to compete with the German and English manufacturers, both of whom derive their crude material from the same foreign source (Canada) as ourselves.

Inviting your earnest, thoughtful, consideration to the above facts, as we feel that the maintenance of the 40 per cent duty for which we are asking upon all asbestos manufactures is only a very moderate rate of duty indeed--not even balancing the difference in labor cost alone--for the partial protection of the skilled labor which American manufacturers are employing, we, the undersigned, desire to meet the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, January 29, if convenient to the members of the committee. Respectfully,

H. V. EVERHAM,
Secretary Keasbey & Mattison Co., Ambler, Pa.

C. B. JENKINS,
President General Asbestos & Rubber Co., Charleston, S. C.

S. R. ZIMMERMAN,
President United States Asbestos Co., Manheim, Pa.

CHRISTOPHER HUBER, President Asbestos Fiber Spinning Co., North Wales, Pa.

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PARAGRAPH 463.

Manufactures of bone, chip, grass, horn, quills, india rubber, palm-leaf, straw, weeds, or whalebone, or of which these substances or any of them is the component material of chief value, not specially provided for in this section, thirty-five per centum ad valorem; but the terms “grass" and "straw' shall be understood to mean these substances in their natural form and structure, and not the separated fiber thereof; sponges made of rubber, forty per centum ad valorem; combs, composed wholly of horn, or composed of horn and

metal, fifty per centum ad valorem. See Geo. Borgfeldt, page 5224.

HORN COMBS.

TESTIMONY OF JOHN WALTON, REPRESENTING JACOB

WALTON SONS, FRANKFORD, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

The witness was duly sworn by the acting chairman.

Mr. WALTON. The subject is horn combs—that is, combs made from cattle horns and used for hair dressing-under Schedule N, paragraph 463. The last clause is the clause covering our industry.

PARAGRAPH 463-HORN COMBS.

At the last session of Congress, for reasons which are given in our brief and which seem to be perfectly adequate, there was a change made in this duty from 30 to 50 per cent. The industry, which is a very old one in the country, at one time and for many years was not antagonized very particularly by foreigners, due to the fact that the foreign manufacturers, who manufactured goods largely by hand and who had not paid any attention to the needs of this country, failed to investigate the country particularly, and they did not bring in the class of goods that we sell here.

Accordingly the 30 per cent duty seemed to fairly protect us until perhaps a decade ago, when the agents of the foreign companies were here investigating the business and looking into the styles and the sizes and also into the manner of manufacture. As a consequence then they began an aggressive campaign of introducing their goods.

Mr. Harrison. Under what paragraph of the tariff were they carried before the Payne law selected them for a duty by themselves!

Mr. WALTON. I fail to have that note. They were not under combs at all.

Mr. HARRISON. It makes no difference, if you have not the information there.

Mr. WALTON. The last tariff bill was made at our suggestion to give us a designation. Prior to that it was under the manufactures of horn.

Mr. HARRISON. And that carried 30 per cent? Mr. Walton. Yes, sir. It carried with it many other things. Under manufactures of horn there were manufactures of strips of horn, and I do not know how many articles; quite a large list of horn manufactures.

The advance was based on the difference in cost of labor, which I am prepared to show by an affidavit I have here, in which the cost of our competing firms, particularly the one that is the most active and the one representing not the lowest-priced labor country, is less than one-third of the cost of labor in our factories here.

Also on account of the aggressive competition of the foreign manufacturers, who studied our business and aimed very definitely to secure it; and further on account of the fact that most of the goodsin fact, between 75 and 90 per cent of the horn combs we manufacture here--sell for 5 or 10 cents, due to the established custom nowadays of selling small articles—a custom which perhaps has been accentuated by the syndicate concerns—at 5 or 10 cents, the bulk of them, the goods that are in real use, being at the 10-cent price.

This price, which makes it absolutely necessary that the comb manufacturer must make his goods at å price that will sell to the retailers so that they can sell at 10 cents, compels us to keep our prices within certain limits.

It would not make any difference what tariff duty we had. The possibilities of raising the price, excepting on a very small group of extra fine goods, which is carefully made, and for which we have a very limited sale, would be suicidal for us to advance prices beyond that point.

Mr. HARRISON. Did I understand you to state that the raise of the rates on combs made at home from 30 to 50 per cent followed a request from you to that effect?

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PARAGRAPH 463–HORN COMBS.

Mr. WALTON. It was made on the presentation of facts which I happened to present.

Mr. HARRISON. Are you representing the manufacturers of horn combs?

Mr. Walton. Yes, sir; they requested me to present the facts.

Mr. HARRISON. Do you know what the total amount of the American production is?

Mr. WALTON. It is in the neighborhood of about half a million, as near as I can get at it.

Mr. HARRISON. The figures I have here show that in 1910 it was $8,275,932 worth.

Mr. WALTON. Of what?

Mr. HARRISON. Of combs composed wholly of horn or composed of horn and metal, and it says in a footnote, “Combs and hairpins industry."

Mr. WALTON. I know positively that could not be the fact.

Mr. HARRISON. Do you know what proportion of that refers solely to combs composed wholly of horn?

Mr. Walton. I happen to know about the product of the only factories there are. There are only four in the country.

Mr. HARRISON. Only four in the country?
Mr. WALTON. Yes.
Mr. HARRISON. Where are they located ?

Mr. WALTON. One in Binghamton, N. Y.; two of them in Newburyport, Mass., and our factory in Philadelphia.

Adding up what I would make as an estimate, because I have not the exact figures, and it varies with the years, I can not figure there is over $500,000 worth of horn combs manufactured in this country. We have almost the largest plant, and we produce between $150,000 and $160,000.

Mr. HARRISON. Do you believe the rest of this $8,000,000 of production in the combs and hairpins industry relates to hairpins ?

Mr. WALTON. If that statement is correct it must refer to that.
Mr. HARRISON. It is taken from the census figures.
Mr. WALTON. It could not refer to horn combs.

Mr. HARRISON. Then the value of imports of horn combs this year was $86,000 worth, in round figures. Mr. WALTON. That would be without the duty, I suppose ?

I Mr. HARRISON. That is without the duty.

Mr. WALTON. Yes. I have the figures handed to me of $130,000. So I suppose they mean duty paid.

Mr. HARRISON. That includes the duty paid. So there are $86,000 worth imported, and a half million dollars worth made in the United States; is that correct?

Mr. Walton. Yes. I put it $130,000, because that is the figure that exactly matches our price-$130,000 duty paid is what the American people paid, which represents more than 25 per cent of the manufactures. This last year the product of all the factories I think would run below $500,000, because we have all dono less business in 1912. In 1911 the business was a little larger and the imports were just a little larger. We can not tell what the comparative imports are with this year or last year, because in previous years in the old order of things they were all absorbed under manufactures of horn.

78959°-VOL 5--13—64

PARAGRAPH 463–HORN COMBS.

Mr. HARRISON. What are other combs made out of? They are made out of rubber, are they not?

Mr. Walton. There are a large number of combs made out of india rubber.

Mr. HARRISON. Is there not a much larger industry making combs of india rubber than of horn?

Mr. WALTON. I suppose it is larger. Mr. Harrison. How do the prices of that kind of combs compare with the prices of the others ?

Mr. Walton. They compete. The rubber comb is a very sharp competitor on some styles. They make lots of finer goods than we do, but in the common small articles they compete with us.

Mr. Harrison. From what countries are horn combs imported ?

Mr. WALTON. Our severe competition in combs is from Aberdeen, Scotland. There is a comb factory there which is really a combination of all the large factories of Great Britain. I suppose it would be denominated a trust if it was in this country. They are very active in their competition with us.

Mr. Harrison. Where do you get your horn from?

Mr. Walton. We buy in the world, practically. The American horns used to supply us years ago, but owing to the dehorning of cattle and cross breeding, it has reduced the quantity and quality of the horns, and we are compelled to buy South American horns.

Mr. HARRISON. Do you pay any duty on those ?
Mr. WALTON. No, sir; no duty.
Mr. Harrison. They are on the free list?
Mr. WALTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. HARRISON. Where do your competitors in Aberdeen, Scotland, get theirs ?

Mr. WALTON. In the same markets. We usually compete in Antwerp.

Of course, the Aberdeen, Scotland, factory has one advantage--at least all European manufactories have this advantage; in the fact, according to my information, that there is no dehorning of cattle in the other countries, and local horn markets usually furnish a percentage of the product, which would be of much value to them, because you can usually buy the local horns, if there are any quantities of them, at less prices than the regular stock horns which we have to buy in large quantities.

By your inquiries, you have elucidated several points I wanted to make. There are several things. In the first place, though, the duty was changed at the last Congress, and since then there has been a tendency downward, absolutely no increase in prices by the American manufacturers. On the contrary, there has been a tendency downward. I think it would amount to between 2 and 5 per cent less for the gener al line of our horn combs to-day than three years ago.

This price is brought down largely because our American manufacturers are equipped as they have been for a number of years, for the production of a larger amount of goods than the country will take, in view of the importations. As a consequence, there is home competition, which, in addition to the foreign competition, keeps the prices low.

PARAGRAPH 463–HORN COMBS.

In view of these facts, and the fact that we can see no advantage to the consumer nor to the Government, in any change of the tariff, our plea is that the tariff be allowed to remain just as it is.

Mr. HULL. What kind of machinery do you have in your factories ? Mr. Walton. Most of the machinery is the product of the individual factories themselves. Several of the manufacturers are inventors, and have very good machinery. Unfortunately for our industry, one of the factories was foolish enough to sell American machinery to the Aberdeen comb works, some years ago, which we deplored very much, but it happened and we can not get away from it.

Mr. Hull. Is the machinery here and in Europe practically the same?

Mr. Walton. There is some difference, but it is practically the same. It happens that we have several workmen in our plant who have worked in the Aberdeen comb works, and I judge from the description of their plant that in the main it is like ours. To some extent we may be superior.

Mr. HULL. The costs are about the same?
Mr. WALTON. Of what, the machinery?
Mr. HULL. Yes.

Mr. Walton. The machinery costs more here, because we have a different price that is paid labor. Their machinists, some of them, get $4 and $6 a week, and we pay ours $20.

Mr. Hull. I mean the machinery itself.

Mr. WALTON. We build our own machinery. Of course we pay the labor on that. There is no plant or manufacturing concern for comb machinery; the comb manufactories build that themselves.

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SYNOPSIS OF BRIEF.

(Subject: Horn combs, made from cattle born and used for hair dressing, Schedule N, par. 643, last clause.)

Present duty of 50 per cent ad valorem advanced in the last bill from 30 per cent for reasons given in briefs presented to Sixty-first Congress, extracts of which are attached herewith.

(1) This advance was based on the difference of cost of labor.

(2) The aggressive competition of foreign manufacturers made possible by their low rate of wages.

(3) The fact that most of our goods are sold in this country at either 5 or 10 cents, so that a change of duty would have no effect on the consumer.

As proof that this advance was justified and should be maintained, we submit the following:

1. Since the change, there has been no advance in prices of horn combs by the domestic manufacturers.

2. The importation of foreign combs has continued large.

3. The horn-comb business is affected by sharp competition both at home and from the foreign manufacturers.

In view of the fact that the duty of 50 per cent ad valorem did not make possible an advance in prices, and the further fact that we have a steadily rising scale of wages since the last tariff bill, and the further fact that according to all advices we receive there has not been any advance in foreign wage scale, we feel justified in urging that the present duty shall not be changed.

EXTRACT FROM BRIEFS SUBMITTED TO PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS.

Horn combs are made of cattle horns, and some years ago the production in this country supplied us with all our raw material at a moderate price; but owing to the breeding of shorthorn cattle and the process of dehorning, the quantity and quality of American horns have fallen so low that it has been necessary for some years for

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