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his guests into the office, where the costing was being done, and said: "Gentlemen, this is the most valuable part of our business because it tells us where we are at." Now this leads me up to the question: How can a manufacturing institution obtain this information most desired; who can install the proper kind of a system; how can it be properly maintained? I believe I am safe in saying that a great many plants today haven't attempted to install a cost system, because they do not know what system to put in, what it would cost to operate it, and that, in my opinion, is where the federation of cost and efficiency will help the various plants in establishing more universal cost knowledge in their business, and thereby benefit the industry as a whole. I think I am safe in saying further that the average manufacturer who has had any experience and established a system that is satisfactory to himself, is willing to place that knowledge at the disposal of other manufacturers for the purpose of benefiting the industry as a whole. If a uniform plan can be worked out that will give general satisfaction, which I understand has been done to quite an extent in some branches of our industry, not only the members who haven't established a proper cost system will be benefited, but an exchange of knowledge on the part of those who now employ systems will be beneficial. In other words, if a number of our leading manufacturers put all their knowledge in a melting pot, through a proper plan, and get it simmered down to what is good for the industry, we can establish a general plan, I believe, that will fit the industry as a whole, and I am certain that while Uncle Sam places a restriction on the fixing of a selling price on product, that there is no restriction on establishing a close coöperation on a combination of knowledge of cost and efficiency, and I hope that one of the things that may be done in the near future will be a broader extension and a more universal adaptation of cost and efficiency methods, through a federated movement, by the efforts of this national organization which we are now considering.
I cannot speak from experience on the subject of association costs, but I can speak from a long experience in developing cost and efficiency methods in our own plant, and will be very glad, indeed, to work in harmony with any plan that may be adopted for the good of the industry as a whole.
The only safe plan to pursue today in the light of modern business methods, if we would raise our industry, is to coöperate more closely, to compete with each other, but not combat each other, to establish a community of knowledge and thereby establish a proper legal community of interests.
Let us, my friends, continue to preach a better and more efficient cost knowledge.
Let it be the aim of this organization to standardize the knowledge thus far obtained, and to offer it and urge it upon every manufacturer, until the day comes that it will be considered as essential a part of the business equipment of a wood-working plant as the saw, the planer and the cabinet-maker. Let us do it in the true spirit of brotherhood, that whatever benefits and helps make prosperous the least of these, our brother manufacturers, benefits us all.
Let us do it through a well-organized, well-planned, federated cost organization, under the direction and control of this great national organization.
will continue in service for several months, it will be razed immediately after the close of the summer furniture exhibition. An informal program, which included addresses reminiscent and otherwise, was the feature of the function at which sixty covers were laid.
L. A. Jennings, 79 years of age, and a pioneer merchant and manufacturer of Newcastle, Ind., died April 16th at the age of 79. Mr. Jennings was the president of the American Furniture Manufacturers association in 1892.
Christian A. Becklinger, who was the controlling owner of the Thompson Furniture Co., of New Duluth, Minn., died there the latter part of April. He was 64 years of age. He leaves, besides a widow, three children. He had been active in promoting the industries of New Duluth since it was incorporated.
O. R. Wilmarth, who was the vice-president of the Wilmarth Show Case Co., Grand Rapids, died on May 25th at his home in Grand Rapids. He was 81 years of age. His death was the first break in his immediate family in 60 years. Six sisters, all widowed, are still living. Besides his sisters, he is survived by two daughters and two sons. He had been a resident of Grand Rapids since 1857.
Conrad Fraas, a pioneer in the furniture industry of Brooklyn, N. Y., died at his home April 6th, aged 85. Mr. Fraas, who was engaged in the manufacture of furniture at 9 Cook street for years, was a native of Bavaria and came to this country in 1857, when he settled in Brooklyn. Mr. Fraas was succeeded upon his retirement several years ago by his son, John, who continued the business successfully until his own retirement. He also is survived by a son, Ferdinand, a member of the firm of Fraas & Miller, and one daughter.
J. P. Redding, of High Point, N. C., who first engaged in the furniture business by purchasing the Barker furniture factory and who was afterward instrumental in organizing the Alma Furniture Co., died there on the 12th of April. He had been critically ill for six months. He was 59 years of age, and had been a resident of North Carolina since 1890. He had served as a member of the common council, was a director in the Commercial National bank, and two other of the financial institutions of the city, and was deeply interested in religious and financial matters. He had traveled extensively. He leaves a widow and five children.
Gust C. Peterson, superintendent of the Level Furniture Company, of Jamestown, N. Y., has been elected alderman to represent the Fourth ward in his home town. C. E. Zerfass, long with the Yeager Furniture Co., of Allentown, Pa., is to represent Thonet Bros. and the Reischmann Co. in the metropolitan district, with headquarters at the show-room of the firms named at 14 East 32nd St., New York.
Sam S. Simonds is no longer connected with the Barnard & Simonds Co., of Rochester, N. Y., with which he had been associated since the days when Elgin Simonds was the controlling spirit in the company. The Barnard & Simonds Co. is an incorporated company and Mr. Simonds was not a director of the company.
John Hutchinson, who has finally sold all his interest in the Faribault Furniture Co., of Faribault, Minn., will travel extensively and has in contemplation a trip to Europe. It has only been in recent years that he has felt he could get away from the business with which he has been so long connected.
A Statement of How Manufacturers in Other Lines Than Furniture Book Orders Months Ahead--Gambling Game the Furniture Manufacturers Play
By CHAS. E. SPRATT
OLONEL NELSON, of the Kansas City Star, when asked by the New York Herald for his opinion with regard to the President's attitude toward Huerta, replied: "We are not furnishing advice to the president of the United States; we are supporting him." I feel pretty much in the same attitude today in talking of a branch of our industry that has made such progress in the "oneline-a-year" movement as the upholstered furniture manufacturers. Led by the frame manufacturers, you have, I am advised, made the pioneer step in this movement that will mean so much to help place furniture manufacturing upon its proper level among the great industries of the country and give it a chance to earn its fair share of profit.
inquiry: "Let me see the latest spring style in library suites," or "What is to be this fall's fad in davenports?" Never. People buy furniture to live with it for life and not to discard it in a season as they would a hat or even an automobile. But I will tell you what does happen: Whenever the new goods appear on the floor of the retail store, the salesman, alert for a talking point, will single it out to the customer with a proud boast that it's the newest thing from the factory and it immediately takes on a special interest to the susceptible consumer, and the poor old pattern of six months ago, that has no material difference in general appearance or usefulness, becomes obsolete and diminishes in value. Back goes the salesman to his confreres with the message "That new stuff is certainly great," and the goods that were prime the day before become candidates for
CHAS. E. SPRATT
So I am not here to give advice, but to speak a few words of support and encouragement and to express the hope that your success will be so marked that all other branches of the industry will see the wisdom of your course and follow your lead. How the system of two lines a year ever became engrafted on the trade is beyond my comprehension, unless it was through wild and unchecked competition. There was, perhaps, some reason for it twentyfive years ago when every factory had a style all its own, when American furniture could find no name in the lexicon of art to cover its monstrosities, and every designer was racking his brain to bring forth something unheard of, and the more freakish the better it suited the buyer and the public, apparently.
But those days of welsh rabbit and nightmare furniture have past and today, with the increasing call for the severity of Mission on one hand and the reproductions of standard styles on the other, the conditions are vastly different. It is no longer a question of what new thought can be evolved, but how correctly and economically can we reproduce the undying art of the Adams brothers, of Sheraton, of Chippendale, of the blend of all in the Colonial, or of the immortal Morris and the simplicity of the monks.
The Demand for Good Furniture
Can new ideas be dragged every recurring six months from the legacies left by these geniuses? And, mark me, gentlemen, as long as the magazines, the Sunday supplements and the public schools of the country keep up their splendid campaign of education in the beauty of real, clean and pure art in the decoration and furnishing of the home, you are going to see no diminution in the demand of the public for the better in furniture. With the coming into purchasing age of the rising generation, nothing but the best will find a market, and woe to the maker of the mongrel pattern.
Even from the most sordid commercial view, can there be found any reason for the freak design and its natural sequence, two lines a year. Can you imagine customers flocking into the furniture store with the
An address delivered before the meeting of the National Association of Upholstered Furniture Manufacturers held in Chicago, May 12, 1914.
the next "sale." And that point sounds a note that I have heard hundreds of dealers dwell on in their advocacy of one line a year. Under such a regime they could, and would, buy with a confidence that their purchases would be worth par for at least a year, which would mean so much to them and to you. Never doubt for a moment but that you have the thinking dealer behind you in this one-line-a-year campaign.
But we are all agreed, so it is difficult to get up an argument of this subject here among its friends, so let us pass on to another phase of the question, in which we may not agree so completely, and perhaps we can stir up some excitement. I refer to the date of opening and believe I can prove that May 1st is the only logical date.
In Other Trades
Gambling has no place in the conduct of a legitimate business and surely not in the manufacturing of furniture. And yet we find under the July-January system that the manufacturer bases the operations of his plant largely on guess work, which he must do or be so late in his deliveries that he has no chance for duplicate orders before another season is upon him.
What are the conditions in other industries? WOOLEN MANUFACTURERS:-Goods for fall use are shown beginning in December of the year before, but showing continues through January, February and March. Deliveries are made at varying times depending upon the wishes of the purchasers and their character, whether jobbers, dealers or manufacturers of clothing. Goods (excepting some staples) are not manufactured until after orders are received and so far as possible manufacture is confined to bona fide orders.
MEN'S CLOTHING:-Sample or model garments are made to be shown in April and May for delivery in July, August and September for fall wear. Spring models are shown in October, November and early in December for delivery in January, February and March. Manufacture proceeds as goods are sold and after demand for differing models or styles has been ascertained.
MEN'S FELT HATS:-Samples of fall hats are shown
in April, May and June for delivery in July, August and September. Spring samples shown in October, November and December for delivery in January, February and March. Manufacture in quantities proceeds only after samples are shown and demand has been ascertained.
STRAW HATS (Men's):-Samples are made ready for exhibition beginning July 1st for the season of the following year-about ten months before the opening of the next retail season. Manufacture, on any large scale, proceeds only after the receipt of orders. Practically every hat manufactured is sold before manufacture.
CROCKERY:-The main selling season is from January to April for delivery in the following fall. The manufacture of white articles may proceed at all times, but the decorations make goods seasonable and these are not applied, except as to samples, until after the samples are exhibited to the buyers. Speculation as to the demand is eliminated so far as possible. Import orders are placed a full year in advance and in many instances even longer.
SILKS-Samples are made and shown (for fall wear) in February and March for delivery to jobbers in June and August, and to retailers in September, October and November. Spring goods samples are shown in September and October for delivery to jobbers from December to March; to retailers, March to June.
WOMEN'S CLOAKS AND SUITS: Of goods for fall wear, samples are shown from May to July; for delivery, July 15th to October. Spring goods samples are shown January and February for delivery beginning in February. Manufacture proceeds only after orders are received and extent of demand for varying styles ascertained. Two weeks ago a display of fall and winter styles was held in New York by the United Fashion Company. Forty-one models were shown and the judgment of more than two thousand of the trade was obtained four months before time for delivery.
BOOTS AND SHOES:-Samples for fall goods are shown in January and February for delivery in July and later. Samples of spring goods are shown in June and July for delivery in March and later. Manufacture proceeds only after samples are shown and demand for styles ascertained.
Compared With Our Own
Now let us take up an industry most closely allied to furniture that of carpets. You all know that the same dealer who buys his fall furniture stock in July, expecting practically immediate delivery, will go to the carpet market May 1st and place his fall order practically before he has put a pair of shears in his spring stock, which, by the way, he bought the preceding November. Why? Simply because the carpet manufacturer, as well as all others I have named, refuses flatly to base his great business operations on a guess. He will take a chance on making up a wide range of patterns-samples only, however-but he will not start a vast quantity of raw material through the mill on a pure gamble.
And the furniture manufacturer, least of all, should take this chance. His product is so bulky that if he guesses wrong, not only is he making up a lot of stock that must ultimately be sacrificed, but his plant is clogged up and the saleable patterns in his line are seriously impeded in their progress; whereas, if he made up samples only and had the judgment of the buyer in May for delivery September 1st, cuttings would be in proportion to sales and his merchandise would reach the shippingroom in the exact proportion that the shipping clerk demands it.
His patterns are on the floor of the dealer at the very opening of the fall trade, and his repeat orders can be obtained and filled in time for delivery, and the line reap the full reward its merits entitle it to. This can never be the case if fall orders are taken in July, simply because no human brain can guess the proportions in
which a line will sell and no business can be made successful that is based on guessing or commercial gambling. Only on April 12th, last, the great Chicago dry goods house of Farwell issued a statement that "Road men taking orders for the fall report good general conditions." Need we ask why the dry goods industry is more successful than furniture? No; they begin taking fall orders in March and April, not in July and August, and you, gentlemen, have only to decide whether you want to be manufacturers; sane, sensible, level-headed business men, or mercantile gamblers; whether you want to sell your goods in May and deliver them in August and September, or sell them in July and deliver them in October, when the retail season is on the wane.
The Extension Table Men
ARDWOOD grade rules of 1913 were unanimously condemned as an effort to juggle price through reduction of grades by the members of the Central Bureau of Extension Dining Table Manufacturers, who attended the nineteenth mass conference of the organization held in the Auditorium Hotel, Chicago, May 12 and 13. The delegates, who firmly opposed the constant changing of rules, resolved to demand the rules of 1912 to apply to all lumber purchases.
Varying from the policy of the last three years, when no efforts were made in the solicitation of new members, the proposal to invite desirable non-members to make application was approved and it was decided that $150 of the $200 admittance fee be credited on dues of all new applicants for a period of ninety days. A membership committee of three was appointed.
The address of President J. A. Conrey, of Shelbyville, welcoming the 47 delegates present, was followed by the report of Commissioner M. Wulpi on the work of the table bureau and the efforts of the credit and collection department. Favorable impression was made by the work of the organization along this line.
In the report of President Conrey on the annual meeting of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which he attended as delegate, the board work of the national body was outlined and its activity in connection with the commercial interests of the country endorsed. A donation of $50 was voted toward the deficit of 1913 in the work of the national organization, in which the table bureau holds membership.
The delegates were addressed by A. C. Brown, of Hastings, Mich., on the newly adopted "Table Bureau Factory Burden Schedule"; by E. Tyden on "The Difference Between Factory Cost System and Efficiency"; by W. H. Waechter, of Sheboygan, Wis., on "Advertising as Applicable to the Furniture Line"; by F. S. Foote, of Grand Rapids, on "Individualism in Production"; by W. V. Dixon, of Evansville, Ind., on "Selling Furniture to the Retailer"; by Charles C. Wilmot on "Hooking Up Factory Costs and Office Accounting," and by A. W. Dassler of Milwaukee on his observations while in attendance at a furniture retailers' convention. Mr. Dassler was enthusiastic in his advocacy of close relations between retailer and manufacturer.
Under new business, it was determined to install in the central bureau office at once a "Costing and Cost Consulting Department," in which the bureau delegates were given power to act.
Standard finish again received consideration and a committee was appointed to take up the effort of standardizing fumed finishes and to cooperate with other furniture lines in this regard.
Majority sentiment favored Pittsburgh as the meetingplace for the October annual gathering.
Furniture Manufacturers Working at Cross Purposes---Agreement Among Themselves on Classification of Their Output the First Step to Uniformity By C. F. E. LUCE
WISH to call your attention to certain conditions existing at the present time in regard to the freight classification of furniture and the relation of these conditions to the movement we have under consideration here today. As I understand it, this movement started because of the need of more and better coöperation between the various associations, and I believe the underlying idea is for an association of associations, planned to do together those things of common interest to all which can in that manner be handled more efficiently, more intelligently, and more economically, while at the same time it would permit the present organizations to do separately those things which could be handled to the best advantage in that manner, and which would often only be of interest to the membership of the one organization.
Assuming that I am correct in my understanding of the purpose of this proposed organization, there can be no question but what freight classification would be a .matter which should be handled by the larger body or the new organization.
Furniture classification is of sufficient importance so that it should be considered as a separate department by itself, and its work should not be handicapped or hindered by any other traffic or transportation problems.
The local commercial organizations in the various cities, such as boards of trade or chambers of commerce, nearly all have traffic departments that are capable of handling all other transportation matters. But the traffic departments conducted by these local organizations are seldom if ever capable of handling classification matters properly. This is because freight classification is a national and a technical problem and therefore is one which should be handled by a national organization through a department managed by a trained specialist capable of handling the matter intelligently and who could bring to the work the benefit of long experience in this class of work.
A More Efficient Way
I believe it is unnecessary to call your attention to how much more efficiently this work could be handled in this way than to have it done through your local commercial organizations.
There are a number of reasons why a department of classification properly handled would be of the utmost importance to the furniture manufacturers. Probably most of you are aware of the fact that the classification is the foundation for every freight charge on your furniture. There are, of course, commodity rates that apply on car load shipments, but they are governed primarily by the classification and in the final analysis it is the classification that fixes the charge that you or your customers have to pay for transportation.
The classification of furniture is much higher than it is on other commodities. This has been very clearly shown in a number of different cases before the Interstate Commerce Commission, and there is no question but that if such a department is conducted properly it
An address delivered before the Federation of Furniture and Fixture Associations held in Chicago, May 14th. Mr. Luce is the Secretary of the Commercial Fixture Manufacturers Association.
would result in lower ratings being established on many articles of furniture.
Such a department is needed to push forward the work for uniformity of classification. Uniformity is something which the furniture organizations have recommended for years. The variations between the three different classifications are a constant annoyance and source of overcharge to the manufacturer and there is no real reason why these conditions should continue to exist if you, as a national organization, take the proper action in regard to the matter. At the present time the three different classifications carry over 250 descriptions of furniture, while 100 would be amply sufficient to cover all kinds of household furniture.
Uniform Classification Recommended
The Interstate Commerce Commission in its first annual report, filed in 1887, strongly recommended the uniformity of classification. That was 27 years ago and we haven't got it yet. The Uniform Classification committee have been considering furniture now for about four years. Three years ago they came to Grand Rapids and visited 58 factories and since that time there has been furnished them by the different firms and organizations a great deal of information in regard to the furniture product. It would seem that sufficient time had elapsed for the uniform descriptions to have been completed. Instead of this result having been obtained, however, the committee tells us that they hope to get to the matter some time during the coming summer. They advise that information in regard to their product has been furnished the committee by the manufacturers of upholstered furniture, parlor frames, dining and parlor tables, and that the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers have submitted a recommendation for a write-up and information as to minimum carload weights. The committee state that they may require further information, but that they can't tell just what or how much it will be until they can get to the subject again. I am advised that they are also delaying the matter on account of their waiting for suggestions from the Grand Rapids manufacturers in the nature of a write-up that would be acceptable to them.
In fact, nothing in the information furnished by them or that I can secure from any other source, would indicate that the furniture trade was any further advanced towards uniformity of classification than they were three years ago. You undoubtedly are nearer the point when the matter will be taken up, but the experience of other organizations would lead me to feel that you could look for a delay of months, and perhaps years, after the matter is taken up before it is finally adjusted or, rather, adjusted satisfactorily to you.
Send to a Competent Committee
There is no question whatever but what the only way to achieve the desired result in a reasonable length of time is to place the matter in the hands of someone who will give it proper attention and who will push it forward to a speedy conclusion.
Up to the present time the uniform committee have
completed their classification on refrigerators, store fixtures and furniture parts, but no report has been made by them on household furniture. Prompt and decisive action on the part of the manufacturers in handling this matter might result in getting such a report by January 1, 1916, and even this would mean that it would be nearly a year from now before the three committees could put the new classification in effect.
In pushing forward the work of uniform classification, such a department would have a great deal to do. It would be necessary to ascertain just what information had been furnished the uniform committee and see to it that that which had been furnished was correct.
In the past a great deal of contradictory information has been furnished this committee and if this matter was handled entirely through one department this would be avoided in the future. It would also be necessary to ascertain what further information was required by the committee and then to secure and furnish the same. It would undoubtedly also be necessary to have several hearings before the committee before the matter could be brought to a conclusion.
This uniform classification is something which you have needed for years and something which would be of great value to you, and it seems self-evident that the best policy for you to pursue in order to secure it would be to organize your forces and go after it instead of waiting for it to come to you.
I do not wish, however, to be understood as criticising the work of the uniform committee in any way. They undertook in the beginning a colossal task and a great deal of good has been accomplished. It is only natural that some industries had to wait for others and unquestionably that industry which has the best organization and does the most to cooperate with the committee to bring about the desired result themselves, will reach the desired goal quicker than one which simply pursues a policy of waiting patiently and making no organized effort to prevent delay.
No Criticism to Offer
I do not mean by this to criticise the work that has been done by your several organizations along this line in the past. On the contrary, it is simply my intention to point out a manner in which the work could be handled more efficiently and the desired result obtained much more quickly.
Had this matter been followed up three years ago, the committee would have been in a far better position to have prepared satisfactory descriptions within a few months' time than they are today. At that time the matter was fresh in their minds, while since then many changes have occurred in the membership of the committee and, to quote from a communication from one of their members, "The furniture write-up has had to be put aside from time to time owing to other matters."
Place it in Competent Hands
If you continue to pursue the waiting policy, you can expect "other matters" to continue to come up. On the other hand, if you place the matter in the hands of a competent man or men with full authority to push it forward to a conclusion, there is no doubt but that your hope for uniformity of classification will be realized much quicker than if the matter were handled as at present and a much more satisfactory classification would unquestionably be secured.
Another reason why this department is greatly needed is that when the uniform classification is completed and
presented to the other committees for adoption, there will be an excellent opportunity offered to these committees to advance the ratings on the different articles which have to be provided for under a different name. It would be only natural that the committees would propose higher ratings on many of these articles.
Must Have Competent Presentation
Then the manufacturers should be represented before the committees by a man capable of presenting their case and handling their arguments in the very best possible manner. If the various manufacturers go before the committees in person there will be conflicting statements, the subjects discussed from different view points, and the members of the committees will be quick to take advantage of anything of this kind. This has happened repeatedly in the past, and it has come to be so generally understood that a great many of the larger industries have arranged through a national organization to place all their classification work in the hands of one man or one firm in order to secure the best results. Among the industries that are following this plan through a national organization are the manufacturers of pianos, shoes, agricultural implements, automobiles, paints, oils, varnishes, the national organization of tanners, commission merchants and many others.
The need for this department, in my opinion, is great enough in itself so that it will justify the manufacturers in this line of business in forming the organization that is being considered today. This need will continue until uniformity of classification has been secured. It will continue until every article of household furniture is given a just and equitable rating, and the experience of the organization with which I am connected would indicate that to secure this result and keep it the department would have to be a permanent one.
Possible Advance in Rates
I have said but little in regard to the possibility of advances in the furniture ratings when the various committees took up the uniform committee's report, but this is something to which you should give serious consideration. If you will give the subject careful investigation and in particular look into the experiences that other organizations have had along this line, I believe that you will agree with me that the work of such a department is one of the most important, if not the most important matter that your industry could take up.
In ancient times there was a saying, "In every scheme involving human action, there are three elements always taken into account: Time, place and agency." In modern times we have added to the three mentioned, a fourth, the item of expense. It is one which must invariably be considered and which, unfortunately, is often allowed to overshadow the others.
The Time to Act is Now
Considering this matter of uniformity of classification as a transaction which should be completed in the future, I would suggest that the time to do it is now. The place should be the first meeting of your new organization, at which any business is transacted. The agency should be the best posted individual or firm on classification work that can be secured and who should be thoroughly familiar with the furniture industry. The expense is something which could not amount to more than a very small fraction of the value of this work to this industry. This new organization ought to have a membership of at least 500 manufacturers, therefore this particular department ought not to mean an expenditure to exceed from ten to twelve dollars a member per annum, and it would be cheap at many times that amount. This