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WOMEN'S SHOES 1900-1910

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MEN'S SHOES 1900-1910

SHOE NEWS 1900-1910

August 14, 1904

Shoe trade authorities report that the proportion of button shoes manufactured for the coming season will be larger than ever before and will constitute fully 10% of the total output while last season it was only 2%.  Nearly all the large shoe factories are increasing the output of button shoes.


H. W. Heinrich, vice president of the M. D. Wells Shoe Co., was called on for a few remarks and he stated that Watertown is an ideal spot for factory purposes.  He said his factory started here five years ago with about 37 employees and that now 178 find employment, and that in the near future the capacity would be doubled; that he never in all his experience found a more contended lot of workers . . . that whereas he did not get all he asked from the people in the way of financial encouragement, he was well satisfied with his treatment.


New Home for Wells Shoe Co.  Last week Friday evening the Watertown Realty Co. let the contract for the remodeling of the Woodard-Stone plant in North Water Street, which when completed will be occupied by the Wells Shoe Co. and the working force thereof will be-greatly increased.  The cost of remodeling will be about $5000.  August Hoefs will do the mason work; H. Willenbockel the carpenter work and W. G. Pritzlaff the tinning.  The plumbing and heating contract will be let on Saturday.  This new enterprise has been brought about by the officers of the Advancement Association, and they deserve the thanks and appreciation of the public in general.  When the present plant of the Wells Co. is vacated, which has proven too small for its business, the Advancement Association says it will have no trouble in securing a manufacturing concern to occupy it.


The Commoner.
JUNE 18, 1909
.Reasons for Free Hides and Leather
Former Governor W. L. Douglas, of Massa
chusetts, has written the following instructive
article respecting free hides and leather:
The hoot and shoe manufacturers of this
country are facing a crisis even greater than
(many of them realize.
Under present conditions, that is, with pres
ent duties on hides and leather, it does not take
a prophet to foretell in a general way what will
happen. The logic of tariff events has already
proceeded far enough to indicate clearly tho
goal toward which we are rapidly traveling.
This is no less than a gigantic trust controlling
tho beef packing, leather tanning and shoe man
ufacturing industries, of this country.
This trust will, of course, he built around tho
present beef trust.
Such a trust is inevitable, providing the pres
ent duty of 15 per cent remains on hides. Tho
advantage given by this duty to the beef trust,
as the original owner of hides, is so great that
competition with it will be hopeless, as soon as
it can establish itself in the leather, tanning and
Shoe manufacturing industries.
Under the monopolistic influence of the tariff
on hides, the beef packers' trust has already
made great headway. It now controls directly
about 55 per cent of the hides of this country.
Indirectly, it is reasonably certain that it con
trols a1 large part of the 45 per cent of hides
which it does not take off of cattle. To make
Its monopoly of the raw material of leather still
more complete, it has recently gone into the
hide buying business. Thus, the independent
tanner is left with only a very restricted supply
of raw material. If he could buy foreign hides
without the payment of the 15 per cent duty,
he would have some chance to compete with
the packer tanners and the price of leather
would be more likely to be reasonable. There
is, however, no certainty of fair and reason
able prices for leather unless both hides and
leather are put on the free list. The beef pack
ers' monopoly has already gone so far that it
is only a question of a very short time when free
hides, without free leather, would be of little
or no avail to shoe manufacturers and other
users of leather.
By ownership and control, through commu
nity of interest, and by tanning contracts, the
beef packers' trust has already become so domi
nant in the sole leather tanning business that
it is difficult to locate independent tanneries.
More than thirty tanneries are now said to be
under Armour, Swift, Morris control. To a less
extent, the beef packers' trust is also connected
with the tanning of upper leather.
Recently we have heard reports that the beef
packers were becoming interested in the shoe
manufacturing business. To what extent, if any,
the packers have become manufacturers of
shoes, I do not know. It seems clear to me,
however,' that the almost inevitable result of
continuing the present policy of taxed hides and
leather is to throw the entire leather tanning
and shoe manufacturing business into the hands
of the beef trust, which has, through its
slaughtering interests, control of the country's
hide supply, and can dictate prices.
The New York Journal of Commerce of May
12 says:
"The strength of the hide market is giving
tanners cause for anxiety, as they can figure
out little profit at the prevailing prices of tho
raw material. Packers have the situation well
in hand, it is said, and propose to get their
asking figure, in the meantime not pressing
Under these conditions we see that the fight
for free hides is a fight for existence on the
part of the independent tanners. I predict that,
if the duties on hides and leather are contin
ued ten years longer, not only will the monopoly
of the tanning industry by the beef trust be
complete but the boot and shoe Industry will
then be a part of the tariff-fostered and tariff
nourished beef trust. Independent shoe manu
facturers can not pay 20 per cent more for
leather than will its trust competitors and, live.
The handicap is too great. Then there will be
a monopoly in the production of shoes and, as
Boon as the Independents are killed, the 25 per
cent duty on shoes will become effective and the
prices of shoes in this country will be advanced
to 20 or 25 per cent above foreign prices and,
probably, above export prices. Today there Is no
trust in tho boot and shoo industry and prices
are lower, quality considered, In this than In any
other country. This Is true notwithstanding
that we pay more for leather and for other tariff
taxed materials than Is paid by our foreign competitors and notwithstanding that we pay
by far tho highest dally and hourly wages
paid In any country. If the American
people want to continue to wear the best and
cheapest shoes on earth, they must see that their
senators and representatives vote for free hides
and free leather. There Is no other road to
cheap footwear.
About all that we can hope to get from the
present congress is free hides and reduced duties
on leather. Why congress hesitates to give us
free hides I can not understand, unless our sen
ators and representatives have ceasod to think
of the welfare of our 87,000,000 of consumers
and are concerned only about tho few producers
who constitute our great trusts. The facts and
arguments are all against taxed hides. There
Is no sound reason, under any theory of protec
tion, for continuing tho burdensome and monopoly-producing
duty on hides. Not only does
the duty not protect tho cattle raiser but, if it
did, there are so few of them, comparatively,
that they should not bo permitted to dictate the
prices of hides, leather and shoes to all of our
According to tho census of 1890 there wero
37,629 Btock raisers and 5,483,618 farmers In
this country. That is, the stock raisers consti
tute less than one per cent of our farming pop
ulation and only about one-fifth of one per cent
of our total population. Thus, assuming that
tho stock raisers are protected by the duty on
hides, wo seo that for each stock raiser thus
protected 500 consumers must pay higher prices,
for shoes. This ratio is not a proper one, even
from the standpoint of a protectionist. But
even this is much too high, according to Boyd's
City Dispatch. This great agency for circular
advertising said, on May 13, that it could find
only 22,000 names of persons who can fairly
be called stock or cattle raisers. On the as
sumption that tho cattle raiser is protected, then,
800 consumers of shoes are being taxed for tho
benefit of one stock raiser.
As our grazing lands are growing less and
less each year and as we now have to import
one-third of the hides consumed, we must either
increase the taxes on the masses for the benefit
cf an almost insignificant few or see this few
decline. No civilized country can raise enough
cattle to furnish hides and leather for domestic
use. Adequate grazing lands do not exist in
highly populated and civilized countries. A tax
on hides in this country, therefore, necessarily
means a tax on footwear for 87,000,000 of peo
ple. It can never mean anything else.
It is a mistake, however, to assume that the
cattle raisers benefit appreciably by the duty on
hides. Both the facts and the logic of condi
tions are against such an assumption.
In 1905 and 1906 hides were selling above
15 cents when cattle were below 6 cents, while
in 1902 hides wero selling at 13 cents when
cattle were selling at 8 cents. In 1906 hides
were selling at 16 cents, when cattle were
selling at 6.85 cents, while in 1908 hides wero
selling at 9 cents when cattle were selling
at 7 cents. From April, 1908, to April, 1909,
the price of cattle declined 2 per cent while the
price of hides advanced 47 per cent. From
February, 1906 to April, 1909, the pricoof cat
tle advanced 26 per cent while the price of
hides declined 8 per cent.
These figures disprove tho claims of the beef
packers that the cattle raisers are protected
by the duty on hides. The Wall Street Journal
on April 20, 1909, quotes "an official of Swift &
Co." as follows:
"Any reduction in tho hide tariff would in
jure the farmer, because the packers do business
on so close a margin that cheaper hides would
mean a slightly smaller return per pound to
the farmer for beef on the hoof."
' Isn't this clear? Isn't it beautiful this
solicitude of the packers for the farmers? The
packers want the hide duty retained so that
th'ey will have to pay higher prices for cattle.
How they do love the farmer!
As a matter of logic as well as of fact, the
beef packors pay as llttlo as posoiblo for cattle
and got as much as posslblo for hides. The
price of cattlo doponds mainly upon tho demand
for beef and tho prlco of hides depends mainly
upon tho demand for loathor. Hides, being an
Incidental or by-product of tho butchorlng busi
ness and cattlo being slaughtered primarily for
beef, It Is absurd to supposo that a duty on
hides will materially change tho prices paid for
cattlo. Wo may bo cortaln that tho packors
would favor freo hides If thoy thought that
freo hides would appreciably lower tho prices
of cattlo.
Tho cattlo ralsors got nothing, or noxt to
nothing, from tho dutios on hides and leather.
Thoy aro, however, by these dutios, compelled
to pay materially higher prices for shoes, har
ness, saddles and other leather goods.
In view of all tho facts, thoro is no sound
reason for retaining tho duty on hides In order
to protect cattlo ralsors or farmers. There Is
sound reason In favor of freo hides In order
to provide as cheap raw materials as possible
to tho tanning and shoo manufacturing Indus
tries, both of which aro of groat Importance to
all of our pcoplo. If the duty on hides Is re
tained, It will bo retained at tho behest of tho
beef trust and for tho purpose of enabling It
to hold and extend Its already groat and harm
ful monopoly. Congress will not do Its duty
to our 87,000,000 of shoo wearing people unless
It repeals tho duty on hides. In my opinion, It
should also put leather on tho free list.
A comparison of tho prlceB of cattlo, hides
and leather for tho lart twelve yoaTs indicates
that there is practically no relation or connection
between tho prices of cattlo and hides and not
a closo connection between tho prices of hides
and leather. Such a comparison is mado In tho
following table.
Comparisons of cattlo, hides and leather
S gw S2
Year Date: r S n 2
sz : g : ?
1897 April 3 $5.40 .09 ? .29
1898 July 2 5.35 .12 .29
1899 January 7 5.95 .11 .28
1900 April 7 5.80 .13 .35
1901 April 6 6.25 .10 .33
1902 July 5 8.50 .13 .35
1903 April 4 5.60 .11 .34
1904 October 1 6.55 .10 .32
1905 January 7 6.00 .13 .35
1905 August 6 5.90 .15 .36
1906 January 6 6.25 .15 .37
1906 February 3 5.85 .15 .37
1906 April 7 6.35 .14 .33
1906 September 1 6.85 .16 .36
1907 April 6 G.G0 .14 .38
1907 September 7 7.25 .14 .36
1908 April 4 7.50 .09 .34
1908 July 4 8.40 .14 .34
1908 December 5 8.00 .16 .36
1909 January 9 7.50 .16 .36
1909 February 6 7.15 .16 .36
1909 March 6 7.52 .14 .36
1909 April 3 7.35 .14 .36
The above prices of cattle aro taken from
monthly summaries' of the United States de
partment of commerce and labor and are for
tho specific dates mentioned. The prices of
leather and hides aro from a table of "compara
tive prices of leather and hides for ten years,"
published In the Shoe and Leather Reporter of
August 10, 1905, and later numbers.
Thus we see that tho prices of hides are often
high, when the prices of cattle are low, and
often low when the prices of cattlo are high.
In conclusion I wish to say that I hold some
what different opinions from those held by somo
other shoe manufacturers. I am not afraid of
free shoes If I can have free hides and free
leather. I would gladly swap any doubtful
benefit from the duty on shoes for certain bene
fits of free hides and leather.


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