Hose Makers Resent Specifications.
Bids for furnishing the fire department of Trenton, N. J., with a quantity of new hose, were recently opened by the city commissioners. A clause in the specifications provided for an inspector representing the commission to go through the plants awarded the contract for the purpose of watching the process of manufacture, met with indignant opposition from the Acme Rubber Company, which refused to enter into the competition on this account. This letter, sent to the commissioners by the Acme management, explains the position of that company;
“Honorable board of commissioners, city of Trenton :
“Gentlemen—We regret feeling compelled to decline to submit any hid on the fire hose specifications recently adopted by your board and covering the purchase of this material at the present time. Our declination is due to our objection to the clause providing for the admission of an inspector to our plant. This clause we consider a reflection upon the honor and ability of any manufacturer of our standing. The fire hose manufacturers of the United States, with two exceptions, are engaged in a fight against this particular form of espionage which the National Board of Underwriters is seeking to establish. To us such an inspection seems useless, almost ridiculous; the filial test being the delivery of the hose, at which time it should become known whether the hose complied with all the physical and chemical tests. In agreeing to furnish you hose to comply with the physical and chemical tests specified, we consider the manufacturer is fully protecting the purchaser, and that any attempt on the part of the latter to inspect or oversee the process of manufacture is an impertinence no self-respecting manufacturer would tolerate. Respectfully yours,
“ACME RUBBER COMPANY.”
The Hamilton Rubber Company was the lowest bidder -89 cents a foot—hut the bid of this company was accompanied by a letter in which it is claimed one of the conditions of the specifications is impossible to execute. The portion of the communication from the Hamilton Company that touches on this point reads;
“Referring to specifications for fire department hose upon which we submit our hid herewith, we desire to call your attention to a condition which, we feel, is not understood by your honorable board. One of the conditions is as follows:
“ ‘The organic acetone extract shall not exceed 3.5 per cent, of the gum pressent.’ Now, according to the best, or in fact, the only authority on rubber, Carl Otto Weber, while acetone extract of fine Para unvulcanized, is 1.2 per cent., Mr. Weber states specifically that he has never obtained less than 3 per cent, from vulcanized fine, and that the results are from 3 per cent to 4.04 per cent. Now, we would like it understood that in order to possibly obtain as low an extract as 3 per cent., it would be necessary to use the very oldest and driest and finest Para, which is not possible to procure in these times when, with improved facilities the time between the forests and the markets is but about ten days, as against three months a few years ago. The hose we propose to supply you shall he in every respect and particular according to your specifications, and the tube or lining shall contain 40 per cent, by weight of Bolivian fine Para, but we have no reason to believe as low a percentage of extract as 3.5 can be obtained.”
The Empire and Globe companies each bid $1 per foot. The last hose bought by the city was paid for at the rate of 95 cents a foot.