have recited the entire list of colors would have filled a book nearly the
size of an encyclopedia. We must, therefore, presume that by his
recitation of onlv three colors he meant to convey, and in fact does say,
that the legislative fancy or taste for colors would be boundless, and it
is only reasonable to presume that he meant to include a "white" color
as being equally as repugnant to the taste of the consumer as "pink,"
"blue," "red," or "black." You can readily see, therefore, why the
astounding acrobatic performance of the dairy interests is necessary,
and I can plainly see concealed in all of this undue "yellow" color agi-
tation that a no plainer expose of their legerdemain could be given
than in the words of Justice Peckham, and I do not think that anj^one
will attempt to say that they have been a particle overdrawn. It is as
plain as daylight that the attempted legislation forbidding the use of
yellow coloring is only a subterfuge to overcome the invalid law pre-
scribing a "pink" discoloration, Since we are on the subject of opin-
ions from learned men of the Supreme Bench of the United States, it
might not be irrelevant herewith to quote an opinion from Chief Jus-
tice Fuller in the case of Plumley v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
in which, among other things, he says:
' ' Upon this record oleomargarine is conceded to be a wholesome,
palatable, and nutritious article of food, in no way deleterious to the
public health or welfare. It is of the natural color of butter, and looks
like butter, and is often colored, as butter is, by harmless ingredients
a deeper yellow to render it more attractive to consumers. The
assumption that it is thus colored to make it appear a different article
generically than it is has no legal basis to rest on."
It is noteworthy that in the first case appearing before the Supreme
Court of the United States the court was nearly a unit against butter-
ine, because this article at that time was not so well known as at
present, but quite as steadily as this product ingratiated itself com-
mercially the court in its opinions more equally divided itself, until
only recently it gave its opinion almost unanimously in favor of butter-
ine; and this further proves, through these learned men, that the
product is not such a menace to public health or commerce as the dairy
or creamery interests would have us believe. I desire to take up a
few of the charges by the creamerymen against this product, the most
prominent one being that when butterine is colored it is done so to
imitate "yellow butter." I do not believe that any one person in the
world to-day possesses the exact knowledge of the number of "yel-
low" colors that could be given to butter by any one coloring matter,
and therefore say, without fear of contradiction, that there is no one
capable of giving the number of shades of yellow colors that can be
produced in butter with the numerous makes of mineral and vegetable
colors on the markets to-day.
We all know that there are very light yellows, canary yellows, straw
yellows, light yellows, medium yellows, light and dark golden yellows,
sunflower yellows, orange yellows, deep yellows and, in fact, yellows
indescribable from the almost indistinguishable faint yellow to the most
intense pumpkin yellow. They say we color our product to resemble
butter. I, for one, would like to have either the adherents of this
Grout bill or Congress to decide what yellow we are imitating. It
just occurs to me that if these dairy exhorters were really sincere in
their motives to have butter and butterine distinct in color, and in con-
nection therewith desire to extend the equity due their fellow man, they
would ask Congress to regulate and specify a deep, rich, golden yellow
for dairy and creamery butter, and specify for the butterine maker a
light straw yellow for his product, which, in my judgment, would
thoroughly inform the consumer of what he is purchasing. Or, in
order not to be a bit choice in the matter, let the regulation of colors
be reversed if it should please the butter makers. Other adherents of
this Grout bill have said that we make and color our butterine in
"semblance of butter," which in my opinion is still more indefinable,
because it not only takes in all of the ' ' yellow " colors of butter but
the white and various other hues of butter which I will not even begin
to define, but all of which illustrates how ridiculous these charges
appear to the most ordinary observer.
To those who are interested in this controversy there can be but
one conclusion, that either the adherents of this bill do not know what
they want, or want a spread-eagle law that amounts to actual prohibition,
To prove that there is less gained b}^ coloring butterine than butter we
will take some average prices of the different products for the summer
and winter months, admitting, for the sake of argument, that both but-
ter and butterine are colored during all seasons of the year. During
the grass or summer months of the year butter retails at from 15 to
20 cents per pound, and butterine at from 15 to 17i cents per pound.
During the winter months butterine retails at about 20 cents per
pound, while we all know that butter brings an average price of about
27i cents per pound. By this comparison you will note that butter-
ine advances about 2 cents per pound during the winter season, and
butter about 7i cents per pound, and that both products are admitted
to be colored. Now, then, I would ask, What price butter would bring
in the winter time if it was sold in its natural color of white ? I will
answer this myself by stating that the average price would be some-
thing like 10 to 15 cents per pound, and could then only be sold for
cooking or baking purposes. You will therefore note by the above
illustration, and I think that the prices are fairly given, that there is
not such a fearful fraud committed in coloring butterine as some of
the dairy papers would have their readers believe, and indeed the shoe
could be put on the other foot if the Elgin butter prices of last winter
are taken into account.
Creamery butter makers will remember very distinctly that the Elgin
Board of Trade last winter steadily advanced the price of butter to 29
cents per pound wholesale, and we all know that these prices are made
each Monday on the Elgin board and are supposed to hold good for the
remainder of the week. A great many people predicted that this high
price of creamery butter was fictitious, and their prediction was veri-
fied when the next meeting of the board reduced the price from 29
cents to 24 cents per pound, and which, as far as we know, is the
greatest drop that ever occurred in the Elgin Board of Trade in one
week's time. We can only conjecture what would have been the price
of butter on the Elgin Board of Trade last year if there had been a
law forbidding the use of yellow coloring, but we can be reasonably
positive that the price would not have been 29 cents per pound.
Another absurd charge made through the dairy journals is that but-
terine is sold for butter and that if the consumers really knew that they
were eating butterine that the manufacture and sale of butterine would
almost amount to nothing. To this charge we can only refer our com-
petitors to the statement of the honorable Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, in which he says that less than 3 per cent of butterine was
sold contrary to law. Now, then, who eats the other 97 per cent?
Close observation on this point has divided the consumers of butterine
into two distinct classes, the first being those who consume it from
choice and who are familiar with its composition, manufacture, etc.,
and the other class are those who consume it from necessity, on account
of the reduced price at which it can be purchased, and close observa-
tion further proves that a great part of the former class is made up
from the latter, because of the cultivation of the taste for the product
which is encouraged by continuous consumption.
Friends of the Grout bill say that the sale of butterine is growing to
an alarming extent. That, in my opinion, is the best indorsement that
the product is meeting favorably not only with the pocketbook but
with the taste of the consumer. Of course, the sale of butterine is
growing every year, and it will ever continue to do so. Because of its
very composition and manufacture, it is an article that commends
itself to the most fastidious person and especially to the literate, who
positively know that its manufacture is conducted under the rigid
supervision of the most punctilious revenue officials and, in most
States, under the prejudiced and biased supervision of food and dairy
departments. The best indorsement for the purity of butterine is the
fact that Government and State analytical experts have never found a
flaw in its ingredients or its manufacture; otherwise they would have
been compelled, and in State cases would have been glad, to wipe the
manufacture and sale of butterine out of existence under the now
oppressive and unreasonable laws.
The adherents of the Grout bill make the bold and astounding an-
nouncement that there is nothing in this bill to prevent the sale of
uncolored butterine, and even refer with great pride to their magna-
nimity in the reduction of the present tax of 2 cents per pound to one-
fourth cent per pound on butterine free from coloring matter. This
astounding declaration either precedes or succeeds a statement that
butterine is unfit for human food. I therefore would ask if it is their
acknowledgment that this Congress should be asked to encourage the
sale of uncolored butterine by a reduction of the present tax, and
should by an exorbitant tax prohibit its sale simply because it is col-
ored with a harmless coloring matter, and such a coloring matter as
the butter makers admit using in their product. It is certainly the
height of inconsistency to ask Congress to encourage the sale of a
product which they claim unfit for human consumption. Everyone
knows that color in butter and butterine is a nutritive ingredient,
adding neither flavor, texture, nor weight, but is used in very minute
quantities, and therefore can not possibly make colored butterine any
more unhealthy than colored butter. I can not, therefore, understand
the logic of such attempted legislation, which presumably intends to
increase the sale of uncolored butterine at a lower rate of taxation and
intends to prohibit the sale of colored butterine through an exorbitant
It has also been common phraseology in the dairy journals to refer
to colored butterine as being adulterated, which, in my judgment, is a
two-edged sword, provided the term is used correctly. Upon refer-
ence to Webster's Dictionary, however, we find the definition of the
word "adulterated" to be as follows: " To corrupt, debase, or make
impure by an admixture of baser materials." It is readily perceived,
therefore, that the term "adulterated " as applied to the coloring of
butterine is inconsistent, unless the makers of butter or the editors of
the dairy journals desire to establish a new definition for the word
"adulterated," or that they will admit that they have debased their
product or made it impure by the admixture or addition of baser mate-
rials, such as coloring matter.
Another one of their prize cries in the dairy journals is that they
want protection. Who asks for it ? The manufacturer ? The merchant ?
The retailer? The mechanic? The artisan? The laborer? No; my
dear sirs, not these. It is the publishers of the creamery and dairy
journals and a few would-be promoters for a creamery butter trust.
Nor is it, as they publish in their papers, the farmer that asks for pro-
tection, because, in the first place, the farmer does not have to eat but-
terine, and consequently needs no protection on this point, and, besides,
butter making on the farm never was an important factor, and during
S M Rep. 2043 13
the present advanced age of creamery butter making is almost a lost
art, on account of creameries springing up at every crossroad and to
which farmers deliver milk, because it pays them better than to make
butter in small quantities, taking up a great deal of their time for
delivery and sale in the cities, etc. In our opinion if anyone needs
protection it is the consumer that should ask for it, and let this cry of
protection die out until it emanates from the proper source the con-
sumer. I could go on at length pointing out arguments entirely incon-
sistent to the charges made against the butterine manufacturers of the
United States, but will content myself with the few cases already sub-
mitted, and will conclude by submitting my humble opinion of what
ought to be done with this biannually vexatious problem of coloring.
First of all, I, as a manufacturer, stand upon the broad base and
high pinnacle of fair-mindedness, and openly state, without retraction,
that if butterine is not wholesome, pure, and nutritious, and if its man-
ufacture is not conducted in a scrupulously cleanly manner, and if it is
not in every way a food product fit for the consumption of our citizens
of the United States, it is a plain and recognized duty to forbid its
manufacture entirely; but, on the other hand, if its ingredients are
pure and its manufacture conducted in a proper manner, and if it is in
every way proportionately as wholesome and satisfactory as butter, it
should be allowed to be manufactured containing that very insignifi-
cant but all-important ingredient of yellow color, which is so liberally
prescribed for butter. I also broadly assert that Congressional and
State legislation should tend solely for the betterment of food products,
and particularly in the case of butter and butterine should actually
prescribe that both products should be colored with a harmless color-
ing matter, and while in a certain sense it would be equitable to forbid
the coloring of butter if the coloring of butterine be disallowed, yet
I, for one, would condemn any such action, because I think, as stated
before, that legislation should encourage the coloring of both products
in order to enhance their value and improve the sightliness of both,
which would please the eye, and through the eye, which is in direct
communication with the stomach, increase the palatability of the prod-
ucts, naturally aiding the digestive organs, which is the creator of
44 better health," and which should be the sole object of all food
Mr. KNIGHT. May I ask a question, Mr. Chairman?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. KNIGHT. Are you sure, Mr. Pinning, that the Commissioner of
Internal Revenue said that it was 3 per cent of oleomargarine that was
sold as butter?
Mr. PIRRUNG. That is common knowledge all over the United States.
Mr. KNIGHT. But I am speaking of his statement. He made a state-
ment before the Agricultural Committee of the House, and you have
made the statement here. I say are you sure of that?
Mr. PIRRUNG. That was my information; yes. I did not read his
Mr. KNIGHT. Another thing. In speaking of the inspection of the
Government in the oleo factories, do you mean to infer that the Gov-
ernment does inspect the oleo factories ?
Mr. PIRRUNG. Most decidedly.
Mr. KNIGHT. Do they make chemical analyses of the oleomargarine
Mr. PIRRUNG. Yes, sir; the Bureau of Chemistry of the Agricultural
Department does that for them.
Mr. KNIGHT. How many factories are there in the United States ?
Mr. PIRRUNG. I think about twenty -five or thirty.
Mr. KNIGHT. And about how many inspections do they make of
the products you turn out?
Mr. PIRRUNG. I can not state for other manufacturers, but perhaps
they come to us five or six times a year. They do not only require
samples from the factories for the inspection. They go all over the
United States, or States where our product or any other manufactured
product is sold, and take up samples unknown to us.
Mr. KNIGHT. Do they analyze them?
Mr. PIRRUNG. Yes.
Mr. KNIGHT. That is done among the retailers?
Mr. PIRRUNG. Yes; I presume so, and among wholesalers as well.
Mr. KNIGHT. There are about 10,000 retailers in the country,
according to the last report.
Mr. PIRRUNG. I do not know. You are better posted on that than
Mr. KNIGHT. What is the penalty if anything is found in your prod-
uct that is not wholesome ?
Mr. PIRRUNG. I have always understood the Government would be
compelled to close up our factory.
Mr. KNIGHT. You are not acquainted with the law very well, then,
are you ?
Mr. PIRRUNG. I thought 1 was.
Mr. CLARK. They would not only close it up, but would confiscate it.
Mr. KNIGHT. They would confiscate the goods that they find?
Mr. PIRRUNG. They will close up our factory. If you will read the
law, you will post yourself.
Senator HEITFELD. What are the restrictions on the sale of oleo-
margarine in the District of Columbia?
Mr. KNIGHT. I can not answer as to the District of Columbia, Mr.
Senator HEITFELD. When you have time, I wish you would look
Mr. KNIGHT. They are not the same as they are in the States.
Senator HEITFELD. I find that at the Center Market here they sell
a good deal of it. I also found, after carefully looking over the ground,
that they were selling butter at one side of the stand and butterine at
the other side, and there was a sign above the stand saying "Butter-
ine. " I could not see anything on the product itself that showed that
it was butterine, except that it was piled in each case on boxes, and
the boxes had the revenue stamp on them, and there was paper lying
on the counter which had the stamp " Oleomargarine " across it. I
was very much interested in the matter, and I found that they had
butterine on one side of the stand and butter on the other side. I did
not know whether there was any law that compelled them to keep it
separate from the butter product, but I did not see any case of but-
terine being sold on the butter side of the stand. I asked one of the
salesmen there whether this was the common way of doing this, and
he said it was. I said to him, u Now, there is not a thing that tells me
this is butterine except the fact that I see it above there, and I might
not look up there. Do you tell anybody you are welling butterine
here?" He said, "No, we do not; but then," he said, "you can see
it when we wrap' it in paper," which is true. I said, "Are you afraid
to state that this is butterine?" He said, "No; but we "get called
down pretty often if we do call it that, because it seems to be objec-
tionable to the people to have their attention called to it."
Mr. SPRINGER. I will state, Senator, that on page 12 of the House
hearings the synopsis of the District of Columbia law is given. It is
the act of Congress approved March 2, 1895 :
"Substances in semblance of butter or cheese, not made exclusively
of milk or cream, but with the addition of melted butter or any oil,
shall be plainly branded on each package 'Oleomargarine,' and a label
similarly printed must accompany each retail sale. "
Mr. KNIGHT. In answer to your question, Senator, I will give you
a little information on that. You said you saw no marks on the bricks ?
Senator HEITFELD. I saw no mark.
Mr. KNIGHT. In the House hearing the oleomargarine people, Swift
& Co. , came before the committee and exhibited some bricks of oleo-
margarine with those wrappers on. That was in accordance with a
Senator HEITFELD. I think that mark was on the brown paper they
wrapped it in down here; but I did not see any marks on the product
Mr. KNIGHT. I will tell you why those marks were absent. A few
years ago they used to put the words "Jersey," "Holstein," and all
kinds of creamery names on butterine. Just about a year ago the
Internal-Revenue Department made a ruling to the effect that if they
put any printed matter whatever on the parchment wrappers that went
around butterine, they must also put the word "Oleomargarine" in
letters of a certain size. Immediately in this market every vestige of
printed matter disappeared from every package of oleomargarine, and
I do not believe you can find in the city of Washington to-day a pound
of oleomargarine on sale that has a printed wrapper on it; because, if
they put the printed wrapper on, or any kind of printing, it must have
the word "Oleomargarine" on it.
Senator HEITFELD. They wrap it up in a wrapper that has the word
i ' Oleomargarine " on it.
Mr. KNIGHT. But it does not have that word on the brick.
Senator HEITFELD. No, not on the brick. The brick is wrapped in
Mr. KNIGHT. Formerly they had the words "Swift's Jersey" and
such words as that; but when the ruling was made that they should
put the word "Oleomargarine" on if they had any printing, immedi-
ately everything dropped off. I made a search of this town, in
company with Representative Neville, of Nebraska, Representative
Haugen, of Iowa, and Representative Dahle, of Wisconsin, and we
searched every place to find a package of oleomargarine in parchment
paper that had any printing on it at all, and we failed to find one in
Senator HEITFELD. Of course, if anyone were looking out for it,
he could find it very nicety in this sign above the stand.
Mr. KNIGHT. That may be, in the Center Market.
Senator HEITFELD. If anybod}^ desired to avoid buying it, he could
see that sign; or if anybody wanted it very bad he could see it.
Mr. KNIGHT. It is just as likely to be butterine on the butter side,
though. I want to tell you an experience I had in the house of this
man who is promoting this National or Standard Butterine Company
here. We called in there, and asked him if he had any of Swift's
Jersey Butterine. He said he had. Mr. Neville and Mr. Haugen and
Mr. Dahle were with me. I said, "Let me see a package, please."
He brought out a package which was absolutely plain. I said, "Is
this Swift's Jersey Butterine ? " He said, ' ' It is. " I said, ' ' But I am
accustomed to seeing it. I am quite familiar with the brand." He
took me for a dealer, from the knowledge I displayed of the differ-
ent brands of oleomargarine, and he said, "Well, I will tell you.
According to a new rule that has been issued by the Internal-Revenue
Department, if they put anything on they must put on the word
'oleomargarine,' don't you see; so you would have to have the word
'oleomargarine' on it if there was anything printed on it at all."
Congressman Neville and Congressman Haugen and Congressman
Dahle heard him tell me that thing at that time; and he is now pro-
moting a million-dollar plant for manufacturing butterine in the Dis-
trict of Columbia.
Mr. PIRRUNG. Mr. Knight, the United States internal-revenue laws
prescribe, under penalty, that each retail lot of oleomargarine shall
nave on the wrapper, on the wooden dish, plainly stamped, the name
of the seller, his address, and the word "oleomargarine?"
Mr. KNIGHT. Yes.
Mr. PIRRUNG. Tell me what injustice there would be to have on the
product itself "Swift's Jersey," "Holstein," "Elgin, "or any other
name, with that wrapper on the outside, as prescribed under penalty
by the United States interal-revenue laws?
Mr. KNIGHT. What injustice there would be?
Mr. PIRRUNG. Yes; what injustice?
Mr. KNIGHT. It would be just about like printing it on ice. You
could print it on ice with about the same effect.
Mr. PIRRUNG. What does the consumer first see?
Mr. KNIGHT. He does not see anything, as a rule.
Mr. PIRRUNG. He sees the outside of the wrapper.
Mr. KNIGHT. And what is the outside of the wrapper ? I have a
few of them to exhibit to the committee.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. We must proceed in order here. Who is
the next gentleman who desires to be heard ?
Senator HEITFELD. Is it not time for the committee to adjourn? If
we adjourn so late in the afternoon, it does not give me time to look
over my mail in the evening, and it makes it rather burdensome in the
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. I understood there were four gentlemen here
to speak for the oleomargarine side.
Mr. CLARK. The samples of one of the gentlemen have not arrived
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. How many of you will be prepared to go on
to-morrow? How long a time do you want, Mr. Tillinghast?
Mr. TILLINGHAST. I shall be through in a hour, at least; perhaps
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Another gentleman said he would desire to
speak for an hour.