Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,
am a saw manufacturer, and I propose to show you what has been
done in the manufacture of steel for our particular branch of
business during the last twenty five years by the American
manufacturers as compared with the English.
I would first state that twenty
years ago there was but little American plate steel used in the
manufacture of saws in America. It was nearly all shipped from
England. I know well - there is no one who knows better than I -
the struggles which the American manufacturers have passed
through in that particular branch of industry.
There is no branch of the steel
industry that is more difficult to master than the rolling of
large plates for circular saws. To-day there are only two, and I
may even say but one, of the steel manufacturers of Europe who
have succeeded in producing an article which saw manufacturers
can depend upon.
Fifteen years ago the steel of the
English manufacturer was sold at from $40 to $60 per ton above
that sold by the American steel manufacturers at that time. The
prejudice with which we sawmakers had to contend on the part of
our customers was such that they demanded of us in many
instances that the saws which they ordered must be made from
Indeed, so great was the prejudice
that if they found by any means that the saws we made were made
from American steel they would be condemned.
In 1874 a test of circular saws was
made by an Association at Cincinnati. Thirteen of the saw
manufacturers of the United States entered into that contest. It
was a question of the metal of the plate that was tested, and
not the particular construction of the saw. We entered into that
contest with an offer of several premiums. The first premium was
$100 in gold, and the others were of less value; and so complete
was the spirit of fairness with which that contest was conducted
that, after all the tests were made, every contestant signed a
document indorsing the fairness of the test. When we got through
the result was that the saws made of American steel had carried
away every premium from $100 in gold down, and from that time
the prejudice was conquered.
Then came in, from that time, the
question of price, and today the steel manufacturers of England,
in consequence of the Protection given to our steelmakers by the
Government of the United States, find themselves able to bring
the price of English steel down to that of the steel plate
manufactured in this country.
Now, then, what have we sawmakers
done under this? We have been able to enter the English market
with our saws. The largest saw manufacturer in the United States
to-day has a place of business in the city of London. We are
exporting saws from the
United States into Canada and into other colonies of Great
Britain; and we have been enabled by the skill and genius of
American mechanics to place upon the market an article with
which we can compete with them right in their own market.
I wish I had more time on this
subject, that I might enlarge upon it, but I must keep within my
limitation. I merely mention this to show the progress that has
been made in the production of steel.
I will tell you now what the
sawmakers want; and I think I speak for all the sawmakers of the
United States. We ask only to be let alone. We do not want a
higher Protection. We are protected; and we want the duty left
as it is. We are able to take care of ourselves, under the
Protection of the last few years; but the English have come here
not only with saws but with files; and they have taken the
machinery that was conceived by the genius of the Americans,
constructed by their labor and mechanical skill, back with them
to England, and copied it, and they are now manufacturing files
in England and shipping them back to the United States in
competition with American manufacturers.
With their cheap labor in the
manufacture of tools and cutlery, where a whole family can be
employed in finishing those articles, we cannot compete with
them without a high duty. It is for that that we ask Protection
to be continued toward the sawmakers as it has been, and
extended toward all our other interests, and with it America has
a bright future before her as a manufacturing country.
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