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I contacted the former president of the Hamilton Watch Co., Charles Beckworth, a fine man and known by everybody, and he did not even answer my letter. So I think it is time that the Government took over. If these lame-duck watch manufacturers cannot help themselves, somebody ought to put them out of business and bring the Swiss over here. There is nothing wrong with the Swiss. They are fine people, and we should have a lot of them over here.
Now these six men, the manager of Waltham at that time, sales manager of the Elgin, and myself, met in a room at the Hotel Statler, and I told them my story and we all had a drink and we all talked it over. I said, “Will you fellows dare go back to your factories and place this before your management?"
They all agreed it was a good idea, and Mr. Boucher, the then manager of Waltham, suggested that I follow up the program a little further, and seeing that I had the idea, I could see what I could do with it.
In other words, stick my neck out instead of his, which I was glad to do. I got in touch and made arrangements to meet with Mr. Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood is quite an engineer, and he is dean of the Engineering School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I asked him how much time he would give me, and he told me to proceed on my subject. In other words, he gave me all the time I wanted.
He understood what I was talking about, even to the little interdepartmental politics that went on in the Waltham Watch Co. as it did when I was boy and a young man.
I asked Dean Sherwood if he would take my correspondence on this subject and read it over, and if he would write me a letter. He kindly did this, and I will read only a part of this letter to you because it is a long letter, and I would like to submit it to this committee.
The CHAIRMAN. You may put it in the record.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY,
March 2, 1948.
Boston, Mass. DEAR MR. PARTRIDGE: Following our conversation of last Thursday, I talked with several of our people regarding your proposal that the institute consider the establishment of an educational program in the field of horology.
My colleagues confirm my preliminary judgment that we are in no position to specialize to the degree you had in mind, and that we would not wish to offer a specialized curriculum for those interested in watchmaking and the watch industry.
As I explained when you were here, we have found it essential that we stick to the fundamentals of science and technology and not attempt to offer specialized training for the many hundreds of industries into which our men go. As an illustration of what we mean, I explained to you that as many of our chemical engineers go into the petroleum, pulp and paper, fine chemical, leather, and other industries, yet their education at the institute consists of the same program of mathematics, physics, chemistry, humanities, and certain professional subjects quite broad and basic in nature. We have never established a curriculum in petroleum refining or one in paper technology, and it would seem that the watchmaking industry would have a smaller demand for graduates than either of these other two.
I think I understand your general problem, and would like very much to be helpful. It is obvious that the industry might support basic research activities, but I gather something is already being done along this line, and I suspect that the thing most needed is to attract top-notch engineers for employment by the principal manufacturing concerns. Our people who have contact with placement of our graduates tell me that the watch industry does not ordinarly attract our best men. I suspect that the first thing to do is to correct this situation. Whether or not the industry's reputation is based on fact is beside the point. The thing to do is to correct it so that top-flight engineers and physicists will be interested.
The foundry industry is in very much the same situation. Their answer to it has been the organization of a series of well-advertised scholarships instituted both here and at other schools for good undergraduates who show interest in the possibilities of the foundry industry. Two of the foundry-trade associations have established scholarships of this kind, paying from $700 to $1,500 per year to third and fourth year students. I believe the total of these is eight in each year. They are awarded on a competitive basis to men who indicate their willingness to work in a foundry between the junior and senior year, and who indicate their willingness to consider employment in the foundry industry when they graduate. Some of these men will be lost to the industry, but the thing has considerable appeal and a lot of students, other than those receiving the awards, are hearing a lot about the opportunities in foundries.
It occurs to me that the situation in the watch industry is similar, and that perhaps the watch manufacturers would be willing to support two or three such scholarships for undergraduates with similar conditions. I would think that such scholarships might be awarded to undergraduates in mechanical engineering or in our course in business and engineering administration, with the idea that these students would select elective courses in machine design and perhaps be assigned to Prof. John A. Hrones, head of our machine design divsion, who would act as their adviser. Our Prof. C. S. Draper has had considerable experience with the Waltham Watch Co., but is very deeply involved in a heavy Government research program at the present time and is associated with the aeronautical engineering department. If and when his burden lightens, I suspect he could be persuaded to offer one or two interesting courses in horology.
I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but I feel we would be getting very much out of our field if we attempted to train men specifically for an industry confined to a relatively few companies.
I am returning the correspondence which you loaned me, and which I found very interesting indeed. Yours very truly,
THOMAS K. SHERWOOD,
Dean of Engineering. Mr. PARTRIDGE. I would like to read just this part:
I suspect that the thing most needed is to attract top-notch engineers for employment by the principal manufacturing concerns. That is Waltham, Elgin, and Hamilton.
Our people who have contact with placement of our graduates tell me that the watch industry does not ordinarily attract our best men, I suspect that the first thing to do is to correct this situation. Whether or not the industry's reputation is based on fact is beside the point. The thing to do is to correct it so that top-flight engineers and physicists will be interested.
I hope that answers the remark by my Waltham friend.
At this meeting with Dean Sherwood the name of Cliff Rogers was dropped. I inquired who Mr. Rogers might be, and the dean of engineering said, “Well, he is the engineer down in charge of the research department of the United Shoe Machinery Corp.”
The United Shoe Machinery Corp. is a big corporation. This man Rogers employed 880 engineers, researchers, and physicists, and that is not peanuts. The watch manufacturers should listen to that. He can take any lame-duck industry that has fallen into the river, whether it is the Elgin river or not, and he can revive it.
The first question is "How much do you want to spend?” They will spend the Government's money, and they will spend a lot of it.
I went down and talked with Mr. Rogers. He employs 880 of these men that the watch manufacturers should employ. He gave me plenty of time, but he had no suggestions to make, and he would not bother with my correspondence, because he had other things to do. But I asked Dean Sherwood, head of the engineering department of M. I. T., and I asked Mr. Rogers the same question. I said, “Now, Dean, if you think I am a crackpot, and if you think this idea of mine is screwy, why not say so? After all, I have been around quite a few years, and I have been kicked down quite a few good stairs, and if you think I am a nut, tell me so."
He said, “No, I don't think that you are a nut. I am going to read over your correspondence, and I would not waste my evening's time reading it over if I thought that about you."
He said his opinion of this thing was that it was a good idea, but it is too late.
When I talked with Mr. Rogers, after taking up 2 hours of his time I said, “Now, Mr. Rogers, I want your opinion. I have gone into this quite a lot, and it is my dream, and I would like to see it established in this country as a good, sound American watch industry. Do you think the idea is crazy? Do you think I am a crackpot? And if you do, just say so."
He said, “I don't think that your idea is crazy, I think that you are too darn late."
The difference between the opinion of Dean Sherwood of M. I. T. and Mr. Rogers of the United Shoe Machinery Corp. is one "darn," and that is all. I am looking forward to the time when we are going to have a good, sound American watch industry and it is not going to be established by waving your arms, it is going to be established by men getting down to work at the watchmaker's bench. A man is not going to make it by hollering and yelling.
These mayors of these cities getting together in a mass meeting and not one word was said about making a better watch is ridiculous. What I would like to see those people do who are suffering and are in a bad ways is sit right down and sign a pledge: “I hereby pledge that if they take me back to work I will do a better job than I have ever done before, and I hereby pledge myself to help cooperate in producing the very best watch I possibly can." All of this "hooray, boys” is not worth anything, and they are not going to make a good watch that way. If they get money out of the RFC on that talk they are smarter than I think they are.
Gentlemen, I am going to ask for your cooperation further in this plan, and if the armed forces take it over we can have a sound and an American watch industry.
Senator SALTONSTALL. May I say this? Mr. Cenerazzo has asked me if he could answer this statement. I told him the committee's time was limited, but that I was confident that if he wanted to write a letter or suggest a memorandum in answer to some of these things Mr. Partridge has said, the committee would be glad to receive them, and put them in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. We are not the Labor Board, though, as you know, Senator. We will be glad to have a memorandum.
Senator MARTIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make this observation, that while the witness just leaving the stand has given a lot of consideration to this problem I am fearful that he has not given the important consideration its proper due, and that is the difference in
the wage standards and that in the United States they are a little higher. We cannot keep up our standards of manufacturing and production and our living standards unless we do maintain the high wage standards that we have enjoyed here in the United States.
Mr. PARTRIDGE. I fully appreciate that.
Senator MARTIN. I am fearful that you have not taken that into consideration at all in your study.
Mr. PARTRIDGE. I was a victim of that in 1913 when they laid off about 65 percent of the help in the watch factories, and I have been through that, from practical experience, and I was thrown out of a job because of the change in ihe tariff and because of the Swiss watchmakers coming in, and I know there is a big difference between the standard of living and the wages we read about in the paper, and it is very true, but what they have to do in the country is this: I talked yesterday morning with the president of the Hamilton Watch Co., and he called me at my store in Boston and he tells me about the research.
I said, “The trouble with you manufacturers is that you are all going in different directions. Why do you not get together?" He said. “We have tremendous research going on down here. I want you to come over here and see it," and I am going over to see it. He answered my question in exactly the way I expected him to. The lawyer from Elgin is here, and I talked to him this morning and they have tremendous research going on there. Why do they not get together! A watch is a watch, and it has an 18,000 train, which means the wheel goes back and forth 18,000 times per hour.
Senator MARTIN. Have you taken into consideration the antitrust laws of the United States ?
Mr. PARTRIDGE. I do not know anything about that, but if they do it under Government supervision there can be something done. As it is, they are shooting in all directions.
Senator MARTIN. Would you favor the nationalization of the industry of America ?
Mr. PARTRIDGE. They have to do something about the watch industry. Over a period of years that industry have proven that it cannot support itself against foreign competition.
Senator BUTLER. Unprotected, you mean?
Senator Martin. Is it not a fact that about the only difference is the wages paid in the United States and the wages paid in Switzerland?
Mr. PARTRIDGE. And the type of product they produce. You go into your own jewelers, and they will tell you.
Senator MARTIN. Wait a moment. Here is a watch that I bought. It is the first thing that I bought for myself. I bought it in 1906, and this watch served me on the front line for several months in World War I, and it is still operating in grand shape. It is American.
Mr. PARTRIDGE. This watch here was given to me when I was 21 years of age, and it is still operating. It is a pocket watch, Senator. These pocket watches go on and on and on. I have a watch which will pass on to my son when I die. It is a pocket watch. But where you get your turn-over is on the wrist watches.
Senator MARTIN. I also have a wrist watch from Hamilton that I have worn out on campaigns, and it is still operating in grand manner, and I also have an American watch that was given to me by my father, an old silver watch that I used in the Philippines in 1898 and it is still operating in fine shape.
Mr. PARTRIDGE. They make good watches, but they do not do so good a job as the Swiss. If you ask a jeweler to show you the best watch they have in stock, it will be Swiss.
Senator MARTIN. You have a jewelry business?
Senator MARTIN. Is it not also true that the man who operates a retail jewelry store can make about $16 more on the Swiss watch than he can on the American-made: watch?
Mr. PARTRIDGE. He can make more money on the Swiss watch, yes; and many would rather sell that.
Senator MARTIN. He pushes it for that reason. That is human nature.
Mr. PARTRIDGE. I think some of them do.
Senator MARTIN. When you get back to the real difference, I think our workmen are just as skilled as those of Switzerland, and we have the skill to make the machinery, but the real difference is the wage scale of the two countries.
We have to make up our minds in America as to whether we want to pull down our wage scale or not. I would like to put into effect the suggestion of the previous witness, that we get into force in these competing countries the same idea as that we have gotten in America, to improve the condition of the workingman by workmen's compensation and old-age benefits, and things like that.
I apologize for taking so much time, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We have one other witness for today, and if the committee will sit awhile, we would like to call that witness now, if he is ready to go on.
That is Mr. Canfield of the American Paper and Pulp Association.
We will hear you this morning so we will not have to sit in the afternoon. Mr. CANFIELD. I appreciate that very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you give your name to the reporter and your association. You are representing the association ?
STATEMENT OF ROBERT E. CANFIELD, REPRESENTING THE AMERI
CAN PAPER AND PULP ASSOCIATION, NEW YORK CITY, N. Y.
Mr. CANFIELD. I represent the American Paper and Pulp Association. My name is Robert E. Canfield, 122 East Forty-second Street, New York City. I am counsel for the American Paper and Pulp Association.
The manufacture of pulp, paper, and paperboard is the sixth largest industry in the country, having a capital investment of over $3,000,000,000 and annual production currently valued at about $4,000,000,000. I mention that only to show the fact that the industry is of some importance, and its views could be considered as something more important than purely individual views.
The statement I have prepared here is not specific with with reference to the paper industry, but it is addressed to the general proposition that I understood was before this committee: Should this particular bill under consideration be passed or should it not?