Imagini ale paginilor

protection of our factories against a national organized labor force a matter of common interest to all furniture manufacturers? This force that some of us have fought and most of you will some day realize the strength of, is no respecter of lines. All are classified as furniture working industries, and to its mind there is no segregation such as we set up. What shape would Grand Rapids manufacturers have been in to fight their great strike if they had had three or four organizations instead of one? What applies to this question applies with equal force to many, many other problems with which we have to deal.

We are commonly interested in the transportation problem. Within a few months the National Furniture association, and the Grand Rapids Furniture association, and the Rockford association instituted important suits before the Interstate Commerce Commission in reference to coast furniture rates that affect all furniture manufacturers almost, irrespective of kind of furniture they make. No one can question but what the contention of the manufacturers in these cases would have had far greater weight if they were supported by a larger interest with the additional evidence that this would have produced.

We are all vitally interested in having a sane and intelligent uniform classification, one that will permit us to market our product throughout the length and breadth of this country upon an equitable basis.

Terms, credits and collections are of equal interest to us all because we are doing business with the same people. We can all recall our experiences of the past in the matter of advancing prices; how we endeavored to secure coöperation of other associations, that the action might be as uniform as possible. There is no time that conditions make it necessary for a general advance in the selling price of case goods that the same is not needed on extension tables, in fact, upon every kind of furniture. Complete coöperation will make it far easier to keep pace in our prices with the constantly increasing cost of production.

The formulation and maintenance of the proper grading rules of lumber is of no small importance to our industry. You are all familiar with what the lumber men tried to do within the year, and a more united resistance would have accomplished better results.

The marketing problem is practically a common one. Then there is the tariff question and a hundred and one other national problems, the effect of which is identical to us all.

Now, the question is, if I have established common interest, how to bring about a better coöperation? The line of least resistance is, no doubt, a close working arrangement among the present and future associations, an arrangement whereby they would all agree upon a plan for the handling of all matters of common interest in joint convention. Under such a plan it would be necessary for the various associations that are now in existence to agree upon a uniform time and place for holding their meetings, possibly setting aside two days for the work. On the first day the various associations could have their meetings and consider matters, interest in which was common only to their members. The second day could be devoted, by assembling in joint convention, to problems in which all furniture manufacturers, regardless of the line, were interested-such matters as I have heretofore spoken of.

I cannot see a possible objection to a working organization of that kind and it could not help being conducive of a great amount of good. Maybe it is all we can do at this time; possibly it is more than we can do, but it is not the right way, although it is the easiest. If there


is anything in the general idea of community interest, why not do it right in the first place and form one big, strong organization to which we can all pledge allegiance? Divide that organization into departments or sections; place each department or section under the control of members of that particular section. For instance, we would want a section each for chair manufacturers, extension table manufacturers, case goods manufacturers, upholstered goods manufacturers, and so on, covering all of the lines that are organized today and any that are not now organized. Let each department have its own secretary, if necessary, employed and paid by the section, if you want it that way. Have separate executive committees for each branch of the work, made up of and named by section members. In this way you would hold the control of each branch of the industry within the members interested and all could be done that is being accomplished today, but have one general organization with a general executive committee made up from the various branches and a general secretary whose duty it would be to look after all matters of common interest. This united force, in obtaining new members, would, without question, bring into the fold of associated work many who cannot now be reached. It is often the case that the greatest influence cannot be extended upon manufacturers by men working in the same particular line. Another strong point in favor of one association is the great number of manufacturers whose lines comprise articles that are now separately organized, and one does not know which association to belong to, or rather, whether he should join them all.

My time is too short to try to elaborate upon the possible benefits of such an organization, but I believe, if you will lay all prejudices aside, you cannot help but realize its wonderful effectiveness. We would represent a product conservatively estimated at $200,000,000, employing at least 150,000 men.

This is very similar to the plan of the National Bankers association. We probably all read the press reports of the last meeting of this organization because of the matter they had under consideration at the time. Currency legislation affects us all. At that meeting the country banks, trust companies, and the reserve city banks met by themselves. These separate meetings covered a period of several days, all in advance of the general meeting. Then all came together to consider a matter of common interest, better prepared to analyze it, having previously canvassed the group interest in that legislation.

Do I need to dwell upon the increased effectiveness of such an organization, compared to what we can do today? Well attended meetings, and I am sure they would be well attended in an organization of such size and with interests so great, would command attention. Our influence would carry great weight, and our voice would be heard when raised in a righteous cause. A truly national furniture association would be of no small proportions. The influence of a business organization in many matters depends very largely upon the size of the interest it represents. If you would command attention, you must have strength.

I have endeavored within the short time allotted to me to put before you a plan for benefiting our industry to which I have given considerable thought, but I am not attempting to outline any details of organization. If the idea is fundamentally correct, and I believe it is, the evolution of a proper plan which will amply protect all interest will be easily accomplished.

An extensive furniture factory will be located in Palestine, Tex., according to report.

Bulgarian and Cubist Crazes Have Subsided---Patterns Are Smaller Than in Previous Years---Prints to Fit the Enameled Furniture---Light Effects



EF Egays of upholstery fabrics for the Spring Ser are now in full bloom in the local show s and the salesmen are on the road. The ASTER SEct but be struck with the

cast between the present displays nie w were seen a year ago. Vile mere are novelties in plenty, and merge of choice was never greater, me & minant tone is far more conserva

[ocr errors][merged small]

inspection shows that strong colors have been used. Among the newer examples is a line known as Radium cloth. This has an unusual antique or weatherbeaten effect, difficult to describe. The whole figure looks as though it had been printed on porcelain which had "crazed" into innumerable little irregular cracks like a very old piece of china-ware. The colorings are soft and have the appearance of being lightly washed over with white, or grey. The line includes patterns of pink roses with soft green and gray toned foliage, one with deep pink roses and similar foliage, another in blue and pink floral garlands joined by ribbons, and a striking example in delicate yellow roses, soft green foliage and a suggestion of helio in the shadows.



for strong colorings, but the demand is more in conformity with the accepted canons for harmony and more toward designs which have tile merit rather than those whose sole claim to notice is their ability to startle the beholder

Cotton Prints

In the cotton print section, old favorites seem to have aza. come to the fore and a good advance sale is reported

the standard type of cretonnes in floral patterns. The er range is somewhat enlarged, however, and blues, green and yellows share the popularity of the old-time pince and soft reds. A strong demand for blue colorings was noticable in heavy fabrics during the past season and it was anticipated that blue would go well in the lighter goode Patterns seem rather smaller than last year, on the role, although there are notable exceptions. Most sacre of cotton prints would prefer a smaller pattern for the sake of economy in cutting. Among the newer designs od is a line showing a floral pattern of rhododendron ard azalea in the most delicate orchid tones combined raft light-green foliage. There are several colorings aron in this pattern. Another evidently derives its inspiration from the American Beauty rose, for the long, sturdy

are utilized to furnish a stripe effect binding to the blooms, which are life size. This pattern ercent. four coloring--brown flowers and green foliage, Bisk Pomere and green foliage, pink flowers and brown fog, and dull purple flowers with brown foliage. This A KAY also be had in a double-faced material suit** for to match the furniture. Bream line" effect of this American Beauty

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

***. in veral other designs. A pleasing example **********round almost covered with brown foliage, ******** *.*, blue, pink, and red flowers in a delicate #474,one in a moving stream. This type of the influence of European designers **ww, fasoring long, lender curves. **t met dass of prints embraces shadow effects, or reden colorings. These all have a soft, **24ally pleasing with enamel finIn the warp prints, the outlines are wok pattern indefinite, although close

[ocr errors]

Another desirable class presents a range of floral patterns on a background printed to represent a rough fabric like burlap or monks'cloth. It includes mulberry and brown flowers with green foliage. Striped patterns appear to be increasing in favor, but the effect is not obtained by solid printed stripes of color, but by the arrangement of small floral repeats which give the same effect at a distance. Some of these are in one tone, blue, green or pink, but others are in several tones, resembling the silk brocade patterns. Thus there may be a wide stripe of solid blue foliage combined with two narrower stripes of red, yellow and brown flowers. The individual bits of contrasting color are so small and the blending so artistically done that the whole effect is pleasing.

Small Figure Effects

The small figure effects which appeared last year are again strong this season and the range of choice is greater. Most of last season's patterns were in one tone, but there are several variegated patterns now on display. The detail consists of a tiny floral sprig, seldom over a half inch in its greatest dimension, repeated regularly over the fabric. The effect is very dainty and delicate. This pattern comes under the class of Colonial designs, which seem as popular as ever. The familiar dotted background is characteristic of the majority of examples in this section and the color range is somewhat greater this year. Large, open patterns are prime favorites, mostly adaptations from Chinese motifs. The Chinese colorings are also prominent in this class, including the soft scarlets, dull blues and deep yellows.

Antique needlework patterns have evidently furnished the inspiration for another large class of prints, showing curiously stilted floral and animal designs in strong but dull colorings. These depict a quaint disregard for realism which would delight a modern Cubist. In many cases there are strong, curving stems far heavier and broader than the scanty foliage which they seem to support. Amid the sparse leafage sport strange, gaunt birds with dark blue bodies and red wings, or some other unusual combination of colors. Blue stems and red foliage is a commonplace in this class of designs, which are faithful reproductions of antique examples.


Ezra T. Nelson

ZRA T. NELSON, who was one of the founders of what is now the Nelson Matter Co., of Grand Rapids, died at his home in the city in which he had lived for nearly 75 years, on Sunday, February 8. Mr. Nelson had been in fairly good health, although he had nearly reached the age of 90, until about the first of the year.

Ezra T. Nelson was the son of good old New England stock and was born in Milford, Mass., May 9, 1824. He was educated in the village school of Milford and the academies at Framingham and Cambridgeport, worked on a farm and then in the store of S. F. Morse & Co., in Boston, and while thus employed was visited by his brothers who had already settled in Grand Rapids, and was by them induced to try life in the West. This he undertook first in 1842 and for two years lived in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Columbus, but moved to Michigan


George R. Widdicomb

EORGE R. WIDDICOMB, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Widdicomb, died at the parental home in Grand Rapids on Sunday, February 8. For fourteen years George Widdicomb, who was a victim of tuberculosis, had made a courageous fight for restoration to health, and during most of that time had lived in climates which it was thought might give him what he sought so courageously and patiently. He was thirty-nine years of age at the time of his death. Born in Grand Rapids, after graduating from the high school of this city he went to Phillips Andover Academy at Andover, Mass., and was graduated with honors. Upon his return to Grand Rapids he took a position in the Peninsular Trust Co., where he remained for thirteen years, and was then made the treasurer of the Widdicomb Furniture Co., which position he held at the time of his death.

He was active in the First Presbyterian Church, was


EZRA T. NELSON, Deceased.

in 1844, where he ever after lived. He found employment as a clerk in a Grand Rapids store, where he stayed for two years and then went into the Michigan copper region. He returned to Grand Rapids and entered mercantile life, in which he remained until 1863, when with his brother, James M. Nelson, a half interest was purchased in the furniture manufacturing business which had been established by C. C. Comstock. The firm was known as Comstock, Nelson & Co. In 1870 it was reorganized as Nelson, Matter & Co. Of this company Mr. Nelson was for many years the president. The company met with some reverses and was again reorganized about twenty years ago, whereupon Mr. Nelson, then a man of nearly 70, retired as the president, although he retained an interest for several years thereafter.

Mr. Nelson was married on October 9, 1848, to Augusta M. Valentine, daughter of Charles Valentine, of Cambridgeport, Mass. Mrs. Nelson died several years ago. He is survived by two daughters, Louise M., who made her home with her father in this city, and Mrs. F. R. Blount of New York city.

The funeral which followed on the Tuesday after his death was largely attended, particularly by some of his early associates in the furniture industry.


a member of the Schubert Club and of the Grand Rapids Camera Club. He was artistic in his taste and his work in photography was widely admired.

During all his life the bond of sympathy and companionship between George Widdicomb and his father was particularly close and during the long period when the search for health was going on, and while he was away from the home he loved, daily letters were exchanged between father and son. This practice was inaugurated when as a boy he left his home for school and was ever after continued.

Mr. Widdicomb was married ten years ago to Miss Clara Hogle of Belding, Mich., who survives. Besides the widow and his parents he leaves two brothers, William Widdicomb, Jr., and Abbott Widdicomb.

The funeral occurred on the Tuesday following his death, from the family residence.

The furnishings of the new Hotel Adelphia, Philadelphia, which were designed and built to special order by the Pooley Furniture Company, of that city, have recently been installed. Much of the furniture is in Italian walnut and conforms to the Italian renaissance architecture of the hotel building.

The Spurt in Steel Orders Not Maintained---Business Conditions Throughout the Country Improving---Logging Conditions and the Lumber Supply



HE market season finished well. The final result was better than the mid-season results seemed to prophesy, and while the attendance in Grand Rapids, Chicago and New York fell below the record made in previous January seasons, the result was all that could be reasonably expected. Many of the salesmen have since been out on the road meeting men who did not come into the market places and are taking modest-sized orders. More seasonable weather than prevailed in January, and which seems to be very general over most of the United States, has had a good effect on general lines of business, particularly those branches which suffered in late November, during December and through January—merchants handling clothing and heavy wear. The effect is good even on the furniture trade, for a better feeling prevails among the retailers of the kinds of goods neglected because of the soft weather prior to the first of February. Several influences have contributed to a better tone to trade in all lines. One of these the financial situation— is best reflected by our correspondent in the financial center, New York, who writes:

"The past month has witnessed a remarkable transformation in the financial markets, both of this country and Europe. In fact, much of the inspiration and buoyancy of the local money market can be attributed to reports from foreign centers, particularly London, where the tension has been relieved materially. In this country the new banking plans are fast being materialized and their benefits are already apparent. Loan money became distinctly easier in the opening week of the new year and the situation changed face so rapidly that during the last week in January note brokers reported an actual dearth of commercial paper with plenty of money available at rates ranging from 4 to 42 per cent. This is not to be construed, however, as meaning that the floodgates of credit have been loosed and that credit is to be as free as salvation. It is well understood by this time that the new financial dispensation brings with it no abrogation of the established precautions of sound banking and that it will be just as difficult as ever to secure money on notes whose maker's standing is not above reproach. The bars are not to be let down in order that all and sundry may dip into the popularly conceived inexhaustible fount of cash. The real cause for rejoicing lies in the fact that the legitimate borrower with solid collateral is now enabled to obtain temporary accommodation for his substantial operations, whereas it was only a few weeks ago that he was unable to secure adequate funds regardless of the sound value of his collateral. Of course, there are many points in the new regime which will have to be worked out, but they are of more importance to the bankers than to the business world at large. Merchants are more interested in the end than in the means, and as a leading authority states: 'All credit will and must resolve itself ultimately into a question of the personal worth, means and repute of a would-be borrower, and the purpose for which a loan is required. When these things are satisfactory, other details are immaterial."" Manufacturers of furniture report a marked improvement in collections.

The reviews which follow covering material which

enters into furniture construction are complete and call for little comment. The most important change which has taken place since the first of the current month is in the logging conditions in the northern hardwood district. Thirty days of cold weather and plenty of snow will certainly make some change in the lumber situation, although the demand for hardwood lumber continues to be strong.


Native and Imported Woods

The recent severe cold weather, following a rather extended period of moderate temperatures, has served in the last few days to check the rising trade that appeared in the latter part of January. There is still considerable demand for lumber of various kinds and consumers are looking about actively to locate stocks they will need for the replenishment of their depleted assortments, but are now disposed to delay closing any purchases for a little while longer. They are not entirely satisfied that the market is steady at the going values and believe that conditions are not yet favorable to a strong market this spring.

This sentiment, be it said, is not found to exist outside of the buying element to any extent. Lumbermen generally are almost enthusiastic over the prospects for business the coming season and if trade is good, prices are bound to respond. The basic reason for much of the optimism prevailing in the lumber trade is the shortage of stocks for a normal demand. Statistics presented from time to time lately regarding production and supply available for shipment have indicated almost invariably not only a low quantity of dry lumber, but a probable shortage of logs. In the North the latter feature is no longer a contingency, but a fact. The logging season North has been curtailed from five to eight weeks in nearly every district and the log crop is therefore destined to be from 25 to 35 or, possibly, 40 per cent. short. Since the latter part of January logging conditions have been ideal and many of the loggers believe they will be able to offset the unfavorable state of affairs prior to that date by making extraordinary exertions now and consequently men and teams by the hundreds have been sent into the woods in the hope that they can accomplish in four or five weeks what they ordinarily do in twelve weeks or more. In the opinion of experienced Northern operators there may be 75 per cent. of a normal cut of logs put in this winter if the weather continues favorable up to March 1, but no more than that may be looked for even under the most auspicious weather conditions.

The hardwood fraternity of the Middle South have been "whip-sawed" on their log supply. Last August and September torrential rains stopped all logging by team through a vast district, and while something was done in December, the most that could be realized was not sufficient to keep the sawmills in operation steadily and many of them not logged by rail were compelled to shut down. In January a drouth prevailed east of the River and to some extent west, and the streams have been so low as to preclude the rafting or barging of logs, and the usual January or early February freshet was wanting. It is still a mooted question as to whether dry weather or wet weather is the best for logging in the South, but judging from the above, authorities seem to agree that neither is desirable.

Southern woods are moving in satisfactory volume and at prices which show little or no deflection from those that ruled a year ago. Quartered white oak maintains its

wonted price and the moderate supply of this item promises no falling off. In fact, an advance under normal spring requirements would be naturally looked for. Plain white and red oak is not only saleable on short notice, but its market quotation has not receded even under the stress of reluctant buying. Recently buyers have been more in the open and the price has strengthened. Users of oak seemingly fail to realize that the supply is becoming steadily more circumscribed and that its gain in price is as definite and inflexible as the laws of the Medes and Persians.

Mahogany dealers report the same old story of inadequate stocks and a demand that is never-ending. The diversion to Europe of some of the best mahogany stocks that were formerly marketed at Chicago and Grand Rapids, has made buyers sit up and take notice. It is reasonable to assume that if European buyers can dip into our market the way they have been doing in the past year or so and successfully compete in our own market with our own buyers, the lumber is worth more than we have been asking for it. Veneer users say that they are up against it for stock a good part of the time and, in spite of the enormous increase in veneer manufacture, it seems to be true that the consumption more than keeps pace. The same may be said of built-up panels, which are in demand in excess of the ability of manufacturers to supply them. This is a notable factor when it is considered that the last few months have been verging on more or less depression in every avenue of trade.

THE METAL MARKETS Improvement Checked

The swelling tide of prosperity in the steel manufacturing industry appears to have received a sharp check in the latter part of January, and there is considerably less confidence in the immediate resumption of full activity. It had been predicted that by April 1st the mills would be running to full capacity. There had been an increase in mill operations of between 25 and 30 per cent. since the first of the year, but business seems to have rested at this level and there has been a pronounced dropping off in the volume of new orders. There is a strong undercurrent of strength, however, and it is generally predicted that the improvement will be resumed, although on a less spectacular scale. Although bookings of new business have fallen off, the volume of specifications on old contracts has steadily increased. This has prevented any feeling of discouragement and has strengthened the market materially. On the whole, however, it is apparent that the total volume of business for January was even better than anticipated and augurs well for the future. The most potent factor in retarding the improvement is the continued apathy of the railroads. It is said that in many railroad offices the contracts and specifications are all drawn and arranged awaiting the executive order to start them into motion. When the railroads come into the market for their necessities, it is believed that the aspect of the industry will be materially changed. The check is less apparent in the specialty branches of the trade, including wire and sheet products. Consumers are insistent upon early deliveries and prices have firmed up remarkably. Sheet prices have advanced $2 to $3 a ton over the low figures, although wire products have not advanced. Foreign competition seems to be a more potent factor than was anticipated at first and this will probably prevent any sudden rise in quotations.

Pig Iron

The big buying movement in pig iron which started early in January also received a check during the last week of the month, but the slump is more apparent than real. There is less excitement, but more quiet placing of big orders by conservative consumers. The producers are evidently confident of the strength of their position and have evinced no anxiety over the slowing down. The output of the industry as a whole is still radically curtailed and there is no disposition to accumulate stock. At the same time there is no evidence of weakening in prices; on the contrary, producers are refusing to make quota

tions beyond the end of the present quarter. Some large consumers have found it impossible to place orders at prices which they obtained a few weeks ago and the firm attitude of holders is apparent all along the line. Many furnaces are not in operation and it is now clear that they do not intend to resume until better prices and larger orders develop. The Southern furnaces have adopted an aggressive attitude and have made some large sales at low prices in territories which are usually covered by the Valley furnaces. The latter have not resumed as yet. Prices show no quotable change, but the feeling prevails that there will be advances from now on.

Copper and Brass

The copper and brass markets were startled and temporarily paralyzed early in January by the publication of the statement of the Producers' Association showing an astounding increase in the surplus stock on hand and an equally disturbing decrease in the domestic deliveries for the month. The producers evidently felt that the situation could no longer be concealed, for there have been rumors for months that the market was not as strong as the holders would have it appear. It is now apparent that consumers have steadfastly refused to buy except for pressing necessities while copper held approximately at the 15 cent. level. As soon as the report was made public, prices dropped nearly to 14 cents, although they have since recovered somewhat. The quiet demand for brass and copper products has been the most potent element of strength in bringing down prices from the speculative level which they had reached, and it will probably take a long time to overcome the inertia thus developed. Domestic consumption is at present far below capacity and stocks of copper are increasing alarmingly, as the producers now admit. There have been several false alarms, but it is probable that the producers have been forced into the open at last. It is believed that consumption will increase materially if copper shows signs of steadiness at the 14 cent level, although it is felt that this is higher than it should be. At present the market is distinctly unsettled and buyers are naturally holding off more strongly than ever. Producers of brass products are naturally unwilling to change their quotations until there is more evidence of stability and there have been no new prices announced since December 1st. Jobbers' prices on seamless brass tubing are at 1912 cents base, brazed tubing at 2012 cents base and iron lined at 40 per cent. discount from list.

Pittsburgh Report

At the present moment the steel industry as a whole is operating at about 65 per cent. of full capacity, which compares with a January output averaging about 55 per cent. and a December output averaging only about 45 per cent. Even with continuance of the marked improvement in conditions which has lately occurred, the steel mills will do very well indeed if they produce and ship 70 per cent. in February, 80 per cent. in March and 90 per cent. in April, of their full possible tonnage.

As steel market conditions go, a dollar a ton fluctuation, such as has occurred this week, is a small thing. From May, 1909, to January, 1910, there was an average advance in steel products of over $5 a ton, while a cut of $1 or $2 a ton from the regular market, to secure a particular order, is common rather than exceptional.

On the other hand, actually to realize $1 a ton more on all shipments of steel for a period of months is a big thing. When the Steel Corporation is running full, a difference of $1 a ton on all its shipments means about 3 per cent. on its total issue of common stock, while it means no less than the entire interest charge on its first mortgage bonds.

Prices never advance until the mills have booked considerable tonnage, and in a general upward movement the latest of the advances are rarely if ever realized in actual output. The market starts to decline before any important shipments have been made at the highest prices. That was the case last year; advances in steel practically ceased in October, 1912, while the market did not begin a general downward movement until the

« ÎnapoiContinuă »