protest against the passage of the bill, which protest was forwarded to the House of
Representatives at Washington. The bill puts a heavy increased tax on oleomarga-
rite, if colored, and the manufacturers held that it would drive them out of the busi-
ness. The directors considered the matter at length, and finally confirmed the action
of the majority of the board taken some time ago, as stated.
This is from the Cincinnati Enquirer of January 10:
There is dissension among the produce and commission men on change that
threatens to call into question the legal existence of the body that is generally
known as the Produce Exchange of Cincinnati.
The question has been brought up by tho action of the members of that body yes-
terday in passing a resolution in which exceptions were taken to the action of the
directors of the chamber of commerce in calling on Congress to defeat the passage of
the Grout bill, which is hostile to the interests engaged in the making of oleomarga-
rine. The creamery-butter men want the bill passed, as it puts a tax of 10 cents a
pound 011 colored oieo, and thus makes it easier for the creamery-butter makers to
sell their product without the competition of the oleo men.
At yesterday's session the butter men in the produce exchange passed the follow-
ing resolution :
Whereas the board of directors of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce has
memorialized the Senate of the United States that the organization is opposed to-
the passage of the Grout bill :
Be it resolved, That the Cincinnati Produce Exchange, members of the Cincinnati
Chamber of Commerce, do condemn the action above taken, and do respectfully
urge your speedy and favorable action upon the Grout bill.
Senator HANSBROUGH. That resolution was sent to the chairman of
the committee, I will state. I have it here, signed by David Dreifus
as president and H. J. Finke as secretary.
Mr. JELKE. Also, in reply to some statements made regarding the
sale of oleomargarine for butter in Cincinnati, I have a telegram from
my brother living in Cincinnati, whom I notified last night by tele-
phone. His answer reads as follows:
Collector Bettman authorizes me to say for him that it is not true that large quan-
tities of oleomargarine are sold in the Cincinnati markets as butter; that the law is
more closely observed, and there is less violation of the law and revenue regula-
tions in regard to oleomargarine than in regard to either whisky or tobacco; and
that he will make this statement over his own signature if asked by the Commis-
sioner of Internal Revenue.
Mr. TOMPKINS. With reference to communications from farmers, I
want to say that I have not the slightest doubt that the farmers, who
are very much interested in this subject, ap to the present time do not
know about it, and those who produce the cotton seed and are inter-
ested in the cotton seed that goes into the cotton seed-oil mills do not
know about it. If it is a question of getting communications from
farmers I have not the slightest doubt that at least 50 per cent of the
farmers could be got to petition against the bill, which will depreciate
their interest not less than $2 a ton on 2,000,000 tons of seed.
On the subject of the interests that are affected we have some testi-
mony that was given before the House committee on the subject of the
cattle interests, that since the fall of 1895 there has been a depression
in the value of live stock to the extent of $02,000,000. I have not the
slightest doubt that the passage of the bill would affect the farmers 7
cotton-seed interests to the extent of" at least $2 a ton on all the seed
that they sell.
Mr. KNIG.ET. Will you yield to a question?
t OLEOMARGARINE. 521
TOMPKINS. Yes, sir.
KNIGHT. How do you figure it out?
, TOMPKINS. By taking the quantity of oil off the market where
it is sold at present ; it will depreciate the value of the whole amount
of cotton-seed oil, because the surplus product is what controls prices,
not the whole quantity.
Mr. KNIGHT. What is the quantity of oil?
Mr. TOMPKINS. The quantity of oil is from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 bar-
rels. It is difficult to state the amount exactly.
Mr. KNIGHT. What is that quantity 1 ? k
Mr. TOMPKINS. It is from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 barrels of oil that is
Mr. KNIGHT. You do not grasp my question. That is what I have
been trying to get at in the cotton seed business. What do you con-
sider to be the relative value of the production of oleo in this country
to cotton seed oil?
Mr. TOMPKINS. I consider the finest pressed oil about 5 cents a gallon.
Mr. KNIGHT. That is not the question at all. What is your market
for cotton- seed oil to tnese manufacturers? How much do you market 1 ?
Mr. TOMPKINS. We have their testimony for that. I think they can
give you a more accurate estimate of it than I can, probably.
Mr. KNIGHT. Is it not true that the Internal-Revenue Commissioner
shows that you sold to them last year less than $500,000 worth of that
Mr. TOMPKINS. I could not answer that question.
Mr. KNIGHT. Well, it is a fact. I think the committee will accept
my statement, because this is a matter of record.
Mr. TOMPKINS. But that may not be any measure at all of the quan-
tity of oil that goes into the product, because it may have gone through
several other channels. We know that they use cotton seed oil to the
extent of 10 to 30 per cent and that it furnishes a large market for it.
Mr. KNIGHT. Do you not know how much they actually use?
Mr. TOMPKINS. According to their testimony, I say.
Mr. KNIGHT. Do you not know how much, exactly, they use accord-
ing to their own testimony?
Mr. TOMPKINS. That testimony stands for itself.
Mr. KNIGHT. What I want to get at is, what is the value of the
product? According to the Secretary of the Treasury it was about
$8,800,000, as I understand.
Mr. TOMPKINS. It is not a question of the value of that. It is a
question of what will be the cause of destroying that market and
limiting the sale of cotton-seed oil in the markets that are left.
Mr. KNIGHT. I want to ask you this question : You claim there, as I
understand, that the loss of a market of a half million dollars' worth
of cotton-seed oil would lower the value of your product to the extent
Mr. TOMPKINS. In a differential market it might easily.
Mr. KNIGHT. Then why would it not be a good investment to burn
up a half million dollars' worth and thus advance the price?
Mr. TOMPKINS. We are not in the business of burning up. Each
man would have to burn his own oil, and you can not bring about a situa-
tion of that kind. It might bring about the same result if you did. No
individual man is going to burn his own product, and I doubt if the law
would permit a combination to do it. That is not the question at issue.
We have this example before us: That the production of a cotton crop
of 11,000,000 bales carried the price to 5 cents, and the production of
55,00,000 bales doubled the price. Isn't it reasonable to suppose that a
like cause would have a similar influence on the prices of other goods!
Mr. KNIGHT, I do not think that any man who is engaged in busi-
ness will assent to the statement that the destruction of a market for
a half million dollars' worth of goods will cause a loss of $2,000,000.
I will ask you this: If the displacing of the product of half a million
dollars' worth of cotton-seed oil will depreciate your stock $2,000,000 in
value, what do you think will happen to the dairymen, or is happening
to the dairymen, where they are deprived of a market for $20,000,000
worth pf their products? Would it not be that they were beaten out of
$80,000,000 a year?
Mr. TOMPKINS. If all other honest occupations were eliminated, your
argument would be all right, but we are discussing the subject of its
being unfairly done.
Mr. KNIGHT. On the other hand, why not apply the same rule to the
cotton growers, and say if the other occupations were closed to them
that the value might be so and so?
Mr. TOMPKINS If it were, I dare say cotton would go to 25 cents
a pound that is, if you were to forbid the production of wool and flax.
Mr. KNIGHT. Then, as a matter of fact, it is easy to destroy the value
of butter to the extent of $80,000,000 a year on that basis, or to
decrease the price of cotton-seed oil $2,000,000.
Mr. TOMPKINS. And decrease the value of cattle and charge the
laboring elements of the country that much more than they ought to
Mr. KNIGHT. All right. That is what I have been trying to get out.
Senator DOLLIVER. There seems a very much larger production of
cotton-seed oil than enters into the manufacture of oleomargarine,
and a vastly larger production of oleo oil than enters into the manu-
facture of oleomargarine. If these laws restraining the sale of oleo-
margarine, such as exist in 32 States, were wiped out, and no action
at all taken by either State or local governments, would it be pos-
sible for oleomargarine to occupy the whole field for butter, thereby
totally destroying onej^f the chief commercial products of the country?
Mr. TOMPKINS. It would not, on account of the variety of tastes.
There are people who will not have any lard but lard rendered from
hogs raised under circumstances that they themselves know about,
people who will not buy commercial lard at all. Equally there is a
large consumption of dairy butter by people who will not eat any-
thing else. The province of this committee is to put itself in the
position of a purchaser who wants to know what he purchases. It is
not a question of elimination.
Senator DOLLIVER. My question was based upon the theory that the
oleomargarine product has now become so perfect an imitation of
butter that people would be unable to discern whether it is butter or not.
Mr. TOMPKINS. But I do not think you would have any difficulty
Under the police regulations in reference to that matter. We have the
testimony of a gentleman from Cincinnati here, who is a State official.
Mr. JELKE. He was collector of internal revenue.
Mr. TOMPKINS. I will undertake to say he would keep track of that
difficulty. There is no trouble in organizing a body of agents or
inspectors, just as is done in the case of whisky and tobacco.
Senator DOLLIVER. About four years ago we received an elegant
specimen of oleomargarine that had taken the first prize as butter at
the State fair of Pennsylvania.
Mr. TOMPKINS. Yet your proposition would be to totally eliminate a
Senator DOLLIVER. I was inquiring whether, in the absence of any
regulations, State or local or national, a situation is not possible, owing
to the volume of oleo oil and cotton-seed oil, by which the dairy inter-
ests of the country might be totally expunged without the knowledge
of the public.
Mr. TOMPKINS. If it were totally expunged by competition or putting
something else on the market that was better, by means of processes
that affected larger interests, by furnishing the working people and all
other people a better article at a cheaper price, is not that the standard
by which American commerce has always been judged? I absolutely
feel that 1 know that the dairy business would never go down; that it
has within it possibilities which, by education and by a better under-
standing of the processes of feeding and of utilizing manures from the
food of the cattle, butter can be produced excellently and cheaply in a
way to keep always in competition with the other products of the same
animals exactly, excepting only the vegetable part that goes in from
cotton seed oil.
Now, what you want, is to leave that competition exactly iree. What
ought to be done is simply to require that these things shall be sold on
their merits and without any misrepresentation, to which the gentleman
acquiesces promptly. Nevertheless, all the arguments here are thatyou
must eliminate butter, you must eliminate everything that gives this
product a fair show on the market. If you eliminate in both instances
I am with you, and I think all the people are with you. The elimination
of coloring matter is not the elimination of an injurious ingredient.
But if you cause the butter people to put a label on their packages that
it is butter, and they renovate it to give it a taste by culture and growth
of bacteria, and give it an artificial color, all that is as absolutely decep-
tive when the butter is put on the market, when its appearance is
changed, when its taste is changed so as to represent grass butter, as it
is to put oleomargarine, otherwise wholesome, on the market, and color
it yellow, but call it by its own name. Indeed, there is no deception at
all in that. There is not the slightest objection to the regulation of the
article, to the making of everybody stand the same tests and make the
same degree of honest representations.
It is absolutely no use to eliminate something that is simply used
for the purpose of making that article more attractive to the purchaser
without doing him any harm. If you will require a wholesome article
of oleomargarine to be made, let them color it if they want to. Kequire
them to put on the formula by which it was made, if you desire, just as
is the case with cotton-seed oil, and then do exactly the same with the
butter business, and there will be no trouble about honest competi-
tion, and neither side will have any right to ask that the other side
be handicapped with an embargo of a great big tax, or of being
deprived of the advantage of putting a good appearance on their goods
for the market, while they themselves are allowed to put identically
that thing on the market under circumstances that are more deceptive
in the one case than in the other. Everybody knows that oleomarga-
rine is colored; but not a great number of people know that butter
which is alleged to be spring butter, with the color made by grass or
by cotton seed meal, actually contains that thing at all. The color is
artificial and the taste is artificial.
Mr. KNIGHT. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. TOMPKINS. Certainly.
Mr. KNIGHT. You speak of spring butter and bacteria. Do you
think it is a fraud to use what you call an artificial flavor caused by
Mr. TOMPKINS. When you conceal the fraud it is.
Mr. KNIGHT. Do you know what produces the flavor in butterine?
Mr. TOMPKINS. It is said to be bacteria.
Mr. KNIGHT. Xothiug but bacteria. All flavor is produced by
Mr. TOMPKINS. That is what they say. I am not a chemist.
Mr. KNIG-HT. In giving butter a spring color, in what way is that
Mr. TOMPKINS. In the fact that the whole truth is not made mani-
fest on the package.
Mr. KNIG-HT. Do you know that there is butter without bacteria
Mr. TOMPKINS. I do not know. That is one of the complaints made
by the Secretary of Agriculture about oleomargarine, that there were
no bacteria in it.
Senator HANSBROUGH. I understand that it is necessary lor the oleo-
margarine manufacturers to use a certain proportion of milk and cream
in order to get the butter bacteria into their product, thus securing the
butter taste. Is that right?
Mr. TOMPKINS. That is right.
Senator HANSBROUGH. So that there can not be much harm in the
one case if you use it in both cases'?
Mr. TOMPKINS. Nor is there any harm in using coloring in both.
Yet it is set up here as the very essence of fraud that it is done. I sup-
pose there are many people who would object to the use of grass butter
if they knew that it contained bacteria.
Senator HANSBROUGH. You were speaking of a certain class of
worms and bugs which were pretty large in size.
Mr. TOMPKINS. I did not say bugs.
Mr. KNIGHT. To return to the deception in coloring butter to make
it look like spring butter, I do not understand where the deception is.
1 want to understand where you think the deception is. Will you
Mr. TOMPKINS. In coloring one butter to make it look like another,
Mr. KNIGHT. Yes. Where is the deception?
Mr. TOMPKINS. The deception lies in the fact.
Mr. KNIGHT. I know that spring butter is yellow naturally, is it not?
Mr. TOMPKINS. Yes.
Mr. KNIGHT. When is this butter colored to make it look like spring
butter, and when is it necessary?
Mr. TOMPKINS. Whenever you gather it up in barrels at the various
railroad stations throughout the country and take it and renovate it.
Mr. KNIGHT. When is it white!
Mr. TOMPKINS. If you feed the cow on cotton seed, the butter will be
white; that is also true with many other kinds of food.
Mr. KNIGHT. But that is not spring butter. When you speak of
spring butter you intend to convey the idea of butter that is naturally
yellow, do you ?
Mr. TOMPKINS. Butter that comes from cattle that have been fed on
spring grass; that is butter that is most attractive and that most people
want to eat, and butter that most people feel, as a matter of sentiment,
is the purest.
Mr. KNIGHT. I want to ask another question : Do you know at what
period of the year this artificially colored butter is marketed ? Do you
understand the matter sufficiently to know when the butter is white?
Mr. TOMPKINS. It would be white at any time of the year if the cow
were fed on food stuff that would produce white butter. If you feed
the cow on cotton seed, the butter will be as white as cotton.
Mr. KNIGHT. What I want to get at as to that is to bring out this
point about the alleged deception in color. You talk about the coloring
of butter as being deceptive. Do you know that butter is colored in
the winter and not in the summer?
Mr. TOMPKINS. No, I don't.
Mr. KNIGHT. Then I will say for your information, and you will find
out that it is true, that white butter comes in the winter. I think the
oleomargarine people will tell you that.
Mr. JELKE. I believe that if Mr. Knight will wire to a half dozen of
the leading creamery men of the United States that furnish butter for
Washington or St. Louis he will find that they use artificial coloring
twelve months in the year.
Mr. KNIGHT. No; that is not true.
Mr. JELKE. I am making that as a suggestion to the committee. If
you wish to controvert that, simply send your telegrams.
Mr. KNIGHT. I have a statement which has been filed with the com-
mittee on that point. It appears that I can not bring it out by these
questions, and I would like to make a statement right here, so that it
will go in the record.
Senator HANSBROUGH. 1 suggest that you give Mr. Tompkins a
chance to finish his statement.
Mr. TOMPKINS. I am perfectly willing to yield to Mr. Knight.
Senator HANSBROUGH. For a short statement.
Mr. KNIGHT. This great deception that is claimed in the practice of
coloring butter is based on the supposition that in the winter time,
when butter is naturally white, people are deceived into buying it,
thinking it is spring butter because it is colored. Now look at the
proposition. You come down here in December or January and buy
some butter; it is highly colored, but it is butter. Do you buy that
butter because you think it was made last summer? Do you want
butter made last summer?
Mr. TOMPKINS. It may be made with cotton-seed meal, which is per-
fectly wholesome; but as against butter made from cows fed on swills,
many people consider it poor stuff and object to it.
Mr. KNIGHT. I will say in that connection that I have been in the
butter trade for twelve years, and I have never heard that the color of
butter was indicative of its quality, so far as its wholesomeness is con-
cerned. Senator Dolliver has had experience in New York to the effect
that at the Waldorf-Astoria, they serve you with butter perfectly white.
I was in England for the Agricultural Department investigating but-
ter in that country, and they served me there with white butter all the
time I was there, and I never heard anybody complain because it was
Mr. TOMPKINS. Why do they ever want to have the color in it?
Mr. KNIGHT. The average natural color of butter is two-thirds nor-
mal. You take our dairies throughout the United States, and one cold
wave or storm will change the color of the butter. One cold wave that
will drive the cows from feeding on the green pastures to feeding on
hay or any kind of grain food will make the butter white this week
which last week was yellow. That is true of any place.
The tendency of all commerce is toward uniformity in everything.
Butter is put up in packages or in tubs. Everybody puts up every-
thing with this idea of uniformity in view. That is what the public
demands. It does not make any difference in what shape the packages
are, but all the packages must be uniform in order to be merchantable.
So with butter. Butter must be uniform in packages, uniform in body,
uniform in the amount of salt, uniform in flavor, uniform in color. The
weather conditions may be such that one day will make white butter
and another day will make yellow butter. I tell you that it is neces-
sary that we do something to keep the color uniform. When I tell you
that, I am telling you what I know. I say to day that it would be
better for the butter trade if butter could be made white uniformly
and all the time, rather than yellow part of the time and white part of
the time. The consumers would soon become used to that uniformity.
But we can not accomplish that. In the winter time butter might be
nearly white if the color is kept out of it. If oleomargarine were white,
where would our distinction be? In this bill \ve seek a distinction
between the two articles. If a bill could be passed that would cause
the color to be kept out of butter and oleomargarine in the winter
time, then the oleomargarine men would go to their retailers and tell
them, " You know there was a law passed at the last Congress which
practically forbids coloring butter." Where would the value of the
law be that would bring the two articles down to the same basis as
regards color? It is true that would be an advantage in the summer
time, when butter is cheap, and oleomargarine has no market to amount
to anyhow. But when it came to the winter time the color might be
taken out, and the two articles standing side by side would show the
same color, and then fraud would be practiced just the same. Every
man who wanted to sell oleomargarine for butter would convince the
consumer that it was natural butter, and would tell him that color had
been forbidden by law, and that butter is white in winter.
Mr. MILLER. It is a fact that creamery butter is colored in the winter
Mr. KNIGHT. That is in Kansas.
Mr. MILLER. Yes. Why? Because they want to keep it uniform.
Mr. Tompkins's point is this: This renovated butter is reworked and
sold on the market as creamery butter.
Mr. KNIGHT. I am going to talk about that renovated butter for
Senator HANSBROUGH. I suggest that Mr. Toinpkins be allowed to
finish his statement first.
Mr. TOMPKINS. The proposition seems to reduce itself, even after the
gentleman's explanation, to one thing that we want to keep them
trom putting their articles of manufacture into nice and attractive
shape, and we want the liberty to do so ourselves; that we want you
to fine them for doing it, but we want to go scot-free. That is the
whole proposition. That is my interpretation of all that he has said.
Now as to the question of who is affected by this bill. There is an
enormous number of small farmers and many of them have been per-
suaded to send deputations here when their interests practically lie on
the other side, or only on the side of improving their methods. The
fellow who sells butter to dealers, who, in turn ship it to the dairymen,
gets very little, if any, more for his butter than the oleomargarine peo-
ple do for theirs. The number of that class of people who make a kind
of butter that does not go upon the market in these attractive shapes,
is very large, whereas the number of people who produce the high kind
of butter, either naturally on the farms or in dairies for renovation, are
the interested parties, and are comparatively few. So that the great
bulk of the small farmers who feel that they are getting entirely too
little money for their butter would, after the passage of this bill, not
be materially improved, for the reason that the dairymen, the renovated
butter men, or other people who buy their butter, would give them just
about the same price as they now get, and would get the benefits of
this taxation and a curtailment of production for those who are now