f°fj°^ PUBLIC LIBRARY
3 9999 06317 545 7 ^ (^^v[,l (\\L
NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION
DIVISION OF REVIEW
THE PAINTING, PAPERHANGING AND DECORATING INDUSTRY
(A Division of the Construction Industry)
J. C. HUMPHREY
(NOT FOR RELEASE: FOR USE IN DIVISION ONLY)
THE EVIDENCE STUDY SERIES
The EVIDENCE STUDIES \iere originally rilanned as a neans of gathering
evidence hearing upon various le^'al issues which arose under the Rational
Industrial Recovery Act.
These studies have value quite aside from the use for which they were
originally intended. Accordingly, they are now made available for confidential
use within the Division of Review, and for inclusion in Code Histories.
The full list of the Evidence Studies is as follows;
1. Autonohile Manufacturing Ind. 23.
2. Boot and Shoe Mfg. Ind. 24.
3. Bottled Soft Drink Ind. 25.
4. Builders' Supjilies Ind. 2c,
5. Cheraical Mfg. Ind. 27.
6. Cigar Mfg. Industry 28.
7. Construction Industry 29.
8. Cotton Garient Industry 30.
9. Dress Mfg. Ind, 51.
10. Electrical Contracting Ind, 32.
11. Electrical Mfg. Ind. 33.
12. Fab. Metal Prod. Mfg., etc. 34.
13. Fishery Industry 35.
14. Furniture Mfg. Ind. 36.
15. General Contractors Ind. 37.
16. Graphic Arts Ind. 38.
17. Gray Iron Foundry Ind. 39.
18. Hosiery Ind, 40,
19. Infant's & Children's Wear Ind. 41.
20. Iron and Steel Ind. 42.
21. Leather 43.
22. Lumber & Timber Prod. Ind.
Mason Contra.ctors Industry
Men's Clothing Industry
Motion picture Industry
Motor Bus Mfg. Industry (Dropped)
Needlework Ind. of Puerto Rico
Painting & paperhanging & Decorating
photo Engraving Industry
PluTibing Contracting Industry
Retail Food (See No. 42)
Retail Lumber Industry
Retail Solid Fuel (Dropped)
Retail Trade Industry
Rv.bber Mfg. Ind.
Ruboer Tire Mfg. Ind.
Silk Textile Ind.
Structural Clay Products Ind,
Waste Materia,ls Ind.
Wholesale & Retail Food Ind, (See No.
Wliolesale Fresh Fruit & Veg. 31)
In addition to the studies brought to completion, certain materials have
been assembled for other industries. These liATERIALS are included in the series
and are also made available for confidential use within the Division of Review
and for inclusion in Code Histories, as follows;
44. Wool Textile Industry
45. Automotive parts & Equip.
46. Baking Industry
47. Canning Industry
48. Coat and Suit Ind.
49. Household Goods & Storage, etc.(Drop-
Ind. 50. Motor Vehicle Retailing Trade Ind, ped)
51. Retail Tire & Battery Trade Ind.
52. Ship & Boat Bldg. & Repairing Ind.
53. Wholesaling or Distributing Trade
L. C. Marshall
Director, Division of Review
CHAPTE?. Ill - i.IA.T3RIALS - (Cont'd)
Exoendit-ores for Equipraent 16
Census B-^.ta 16
Code Autlioritv Data IS
Source of Equipment. ....... 16
CHAPTER IV - PRODUCTIOH AND DISTRIBUTION , . . 17
Dollar Volume of Business by Principal States. 17
Business Outside Home State . 13
Advertising • 19
Productive Capacity 19
CEAPTER V - TRADE PRACTICES , 20
Unfair Practices 20
General. • 20
Selling Belon Cost 20
Sabstitution of Inferior Materials .... 20
Rebates and Commissions 20
Subletting Labor Service 20
Spreading of Unfair Trade Practices 20
Effects of Unfair Practices 20
CHAPTER VI - GENERAL Ix.'FORiviATION 22
History and Grov/th of tlie Ina.ustry 22
Changes in Teciiniq.ue ............. 22
Trade and Enplo^'^ee Organizations ....... 25
Labor Relations • 23
Financial Condition of the Industry 23
Concerns in the Industr;'' Classified ty
Value of Bu.siness per Concern, 1934 4
Nu^ntier of Establislir.ients by 10 Leading
States, 1929 5
Kuralier of Wage Earners in the Larger
Establishments, "by Llonths, 1929 9
Average Hourly 'Tage Rates of Painters
in Various Cities. . 10
Scale of Weekly Hours of Union Painters,
by 10 selected Cities 11
Number of Painters, Glaziers, Varnishers,
and Paperhangers in the Building Industry,
by 10 Principal States, 1930 12
Wages Paid by Principal States, 1929 .... 13
Production Value of Principal Llaterials
Used in the Painting, Paperhanging and
Decorating Industry, By Principal Producing
States, 1929 15
Value of Business Done by 10 Principal
States, 1929 18
Value of Business Dene Outside Home State
by the Larger Establislaments, by 10
Principal States, 1929 19
Total Value of Paints and Varnishes llanu-
factured in the United States, for selected
years, 1899-1933 22
- 1 -
PAINTI1IG-, PAPLRHi^NGIlTa AKD DECORATirG IMUSIRY
(a Division of tlie Construction Industry)
Conpreliensive, relia-ole data on this Division of the Construction
Industry are ■oractically non-e::i stent. The Censuis Bureau, has nade only one
survey of the Ind.ustry and this 'was confined to the year 192C. In this survey
the Sureau attenpted to o"btain reports from ^J1 of the larger concerns, i.e.,
those doing an anniial business of $3^,000 or nore, and it is helieved by the
Census 3v:reau that practically all estahlishjvients of this size in the Industry
vrere covered, !_/ But the Census Biu'cau found it iiipossiole to reach all of
the small estahlishnents in the .^Toup doing a business of less than $25,000
during the year. Therefore, while the Census data are reliable so far as they
go, thej- do not yield complete information on the entire Industry.
A further limitation of the Census da.ta lies in the fact that they cover
the 3^ear 1929 only, and data for subsequent years are not available to indi-
cate the trend in the Industry,
The former Code Authority and the leading trade association provided
data on certain aspects of the Industry, and these have been used in this
Study but in all cases these data represent arbitrary estimates and should not
be accapted as strictly accurate.
The Brjreau of Labor Statistics publishes periodic labor data on the
Building Construction Industi^, bu.t these data are not brolcen dorm by divisions
of the Industry, and therefore are of no value for the purposes of this report.
1/ It is, ]iowever, the opinion of the Construction Unit of UHA Research and
Planning Division thc?.t many of the larje eptablisb-ients were not covered
in this survey.
CODE DZFTaTITION :
The Paintinp,-, p.-i.-ierhan^ing and Decorating; Industry is a division of the
Construction Industry. It is defined in the Code as follows:
"Section 1. The terra 'Painting, Paperhanging and Decorating Division'
or 'this division', as used herein, includes the service of painting, rrood-
finishing, TDaperhangin;: , and decorating and preparatory -jork incidental there-
to, and such "branches or suMivisions thereof as may fron time to tiiTie "be in-
cluded under the provisions of this chapter.
"(a) The service of painting;; and/or woodf inishing raeems the application
of all paint, noodf inishing and painting materials of ever^^ description in and
on all -i^arts of nev or old buildings end. structures of every kind.
"(b) The service of paperhanging .and/or decorating neans the application
and/or installation of v-allpapers , hangings and decorative materials of every
kind or descri^ition aij ilied diiectly to the siu-face in or on buildings of all
"Section 2. Hoi.ie-o- -ners and householders, including farmers, sliall not
be deemed to be included uithin the definition contained in Section 1 in their
perfornance individually or by their remanent servants or other help of like
character on their home premises of any services described in such definition;
nor shall any such person, or any building O'jner or tenant, nerforming such
servicf.s by his permanent employees and not for hire on or in buildings or
structures ouned or occupied by him, be deemed to be included in such defini-
Although the definition permitted the inclusion of branches and sub-
divisions none was added,
NTjnber of Members, Concerns, or Establishments
General . - In this Industr-^ the n-ar>ber of members or concerns, and the
number of establishments are approximately the same since raultiiolant operation
is practically non-e::istent.
The determination of the number of members of the Industry at any given
time is a difficult problem. Due to the limited amount ox capital necessary
to change the status of an individual from ths.t of employee to emplojrer, the
nuabei- of members in the Industry is constantly fluctua.ting. Pertinent data
from various sources are given below.
Census Data . - In the survey of the Construction Industry made by the
Bureau of the Census and covering the year 1929, all divisions of the Con-
struction Industry/ i-'ore covered, including the painting, Paperhanging, and
Decorating division. As a result of this survey, which was conducted in
part by nail and in "iiart by means of field investigators, the Census report-
ed that there were 15,164 active tainting and decorating establishments in
1929. Of tlais number, 1,102 reported a voltime of business for 1929 of
$25,000 or more each, and 14,062 reported a voli:une of less than $25,000.
A.tthough the Census Bureau feels that practically all estalilisliiaents that
did a tu-siness of $25,000 or more in 1923 ^rrere included in its survejr, the
Construction Unit of the N2A, Hesearch and planning Division, helieves that
many of these vcve not covered, d\i.e to the difficulty of contacting even the
larger concei-ns. An indeterninate nuraher of establishnients doing an annur.l
volume of business anounting to less than $25,000 vjeve admittedly not con-
tacted, as it v.'as an im-jossihility to obtain a coLvnlete list of small tno ajid
three-men establishraents. 7urthernore, the Census clposif ication, "Painting
and Decors ting" includes only those estrblishiaents in v;hich painting and dec-
orating '.as the najor line of business. An indeterninate number of establish-
ments where painting and decorating vras a secondary line were therefore not
included in this clas'iif icrtion.
Trade Association and Code Authority Data . - The number of concerns in the
Indr.stry reported in the Code Application, which was filed by the Internation-
al Association of Master Painters and Decorators, was 40,000 for 1929, and
24,000 as of August 15, 1933. The figure for 1929 was obtained by making
allowance for the incompleteness of the total establishments reported in the
Census of Construction. The 1S33 figure was obtained by assuming that 40
per cent of the establishments e::istin.g in 1929 had gone out of business by
August, 1933, without, apparently, making any allowance for the opening of
The Code Authority estimated that there were approximately 70,000 mem-
bers of the Industry in 1934 and 1935. It is believed, however, that this
fig-ure includes many casual painters, who should not be counted as reg-ular
rae 'ibers of the Industry, as, in applying for approval of its budget on May
29, 1934, the Code Autnority estiraa-ced that there were only 16,000 esta.blish-
ments f rora which it anticipated collecting Code assessments during the
period April, 1934, to March, 1935.
WRA, Research and Planning Division, Data . - In analyzing facts and figures
covering 57 areas in v/hich Area Agreements \7ere drawn up under the Code, the
Research anc^ Planning Division found that the ratio of the number of members
of the Industry to the general rjopulation in the year 1S29 was 1 to 1,820.
This ratio applied to the total population of the United States as of April,
1930, would indicate that the total nuiaber of members in the Industry in 1929
was approximately 67,000.
Consideration must be given to the fact that the Area Agreements were
drai^Ti vco in predominately urban regions, v/here the popvilation per member of
the Industr;'- is lo'-^er than in the rural areas. If the above ratio were
calcviated on data from both nrral and urban areas, it would Lindou'jtedlj- show
fcwei- tlian 67,000 members when applied to the United States population figure.
Size of Concerns, Census Data . - A majority of the members of the Industry
run small establishinents. This is evident from the Census of Construction
data- vliich show that of the 15,164 establisments reijorting, only 1,102 did a
business of $25,000 or more in 1929, while 14,062 did a business of less than
$25,000 that year.
Code Authority Data . - Further evidence on this T'Oint has been supnlied by
the Code Authority in a brealcdO'-Tn of firms "oy voTume of business, as follows;
Concerns in th.i Industr:- ClrssifiGd 'oy
VcJ-u: oi" Business per Gonc-^rn, 1934
Value of Business oer Concern ITtunber of Concerns
$25,000 PJid. over 10,000
$10,000 to $25,000 20,000
$5,000 to $10s000 10,000
$5,000 and under 30,000
Som-'ce: Code Authority.
Hov;evcr, th- validity of t.ie a'oove 'breal:do\7n iti q.uestioned. As alroaxVy
indicated, the total n'oiiber of concerns reported 'by the Code Authority (70,00''
is 'believed to 'be too hiy'n. Puxthermore, the aggregate volume of business ob-
tained '.rj mt'JL tip lying the nunber of firns in each j^rour) by the lowe. voliuic
figure in tlia.t gro\ip amounts to $500,000,0C:0, unich is tnicc tno total volirie
reported by the Code Authority,
Muraber of I]sta.blishjnents b^'- Princi'oal Sta-tes
The Industry is nation-wide in sco-oe, r/ith some members in ea.ch state in
the country. The distribution of esta.blishmonts among the ten leading; states,
as reported b^'- the Construction Industrj'' Census for 1929, is shoiTn in Ta/ole
Tlie number of establishments varies noro or less directly nith the densi-
ty of population and the degree of industrial development. It nill bo seen
that three states, Nev; York, Pennsylvajiia, rJid Cclifornia, rxcountcd for near-
ly 40 per cent of the total rer)orted. These three states also axcoiuited for
approximatelj?- this same oroportion of both the large ajid small-sized establis'
of EctaT3lir>lr:ontG Dy 10 Lco-ding
Total EstaMishiiii^nts whose business
Establislunents araoimted to
H-umber Per Cent Humber Per Cent Number Per Cent
of Total of Total of Total
U. S. Total
Total, 10 states
Total, other states
1,102 100.0 14,062 100.0
Source: Census rerjort: Construction Industry, 1929 ; SuDcontractors, "pc.int-
ing and Decorating."
a/ Includes sorae flooring establishments.
Practically no reliable data on the amount of capital invested in the In-
dustry as a whole are available. In its Code Apolication, dated August 17,
1933, the Master Painters Trade Association estimated that $40,000,000 nas in-
vested in the Industry in 1929, The Association arrived at this estimate by
arbitrarily setting the capitalization at $1,000 per concern and multiplj^ing
this figure by its estimate of the number of concerns.
The Secretary of the former Code Authority, G. S. Stijart, estimated that
in 1934 total capital investment amoionted to $150,000,000 for 70,000 members,
or an average of about $2,800 per member. The reason for the wide discre-
pancy betrreen these tvio estimates cannot be determined, and there are no othei
data available with which to check these figures.
According to the Secretary of the former Code Authority, the mortality
rate in the Industry nas relatively higii. He estimated that, in recent years.
2,500 firins have failed annxiEilly, involving total liabilities of about $10,-
000,000. K'o substantiating evidence in support of this estimate has "been
provided, hoiiever, aad. no other information on this point is available.
Value of Business
Census Data . - For the 15,164 specialized p§,inting and decorating es-
tablishments which reported in tne Census of Construction, it has been esti-
mated that the value o-f business in 1929 amounted to $175,429,000 . Tae
1,102 establishj-.ents in the >'$25,000 and over" croup re-ported $8:^,899,000 of
this '.\::ount and tht; balanco, $91,530,000, '..-as rr,ti:-.atod for the 14,062 estab-
listiments in the "less than $2n,000" £;roup, on the basis of the average value
per establishment calculated for 3,094 establishments which reported this in-
As indicated previously, Census data do not yield complete information o
the Industry since an indeterminate number of establishments were not covered
in this survey;
Trade Association and Code Authority Data . - The Master Painters Trade
Association considered that the Census value figure for 1929 was only half th
actual amount, and therefore it reported, in the Code Application, value of
business for that year of $350,000,000. As this was a purely arbitrary es-
timate, no reliance can be placed upon it, Por 1932, the Association estimat-
ed the value of business at $52,500,000, which it arrived at by assuming that
business in that year was about 15 per cent of the 1929 total. No data for
1932 from other sources are available, but it is c^oubtful if the value of
business declined so drastically betv/een the tv/o years.
The Secretary of the former Code Authority estimated that the value of
business in 1929 amounted to $400,000,000, and in 1934 to $250,000,000, The
basis of these estimates is not knovm. However, the latter figure is believe
to be excessive as in its budget aoplication, filed May 29, 1934, the Code
Authority estimated that the members who were expected to pay Code assess-
ments (15,000 in number) woiild do a business of $126,000,000 in the period
Ariril, 1934, to March, 1935.
NBA, He search and Planning Division, Data . - Prom Area Agreement data,
the Research and Planning Division has estimated the average value of busines
per caiDita of the general population, in 1929, for four population districts,
as follows: $6.75 for la,rge cities; $4.65 for mediuru-sized cities; $1,93 for
small cities; and ,*.75 for rurnl areas. By applying these averages to the
total population of the United States, _l/ fitted as closely as possible to
the respective districts set up, a figui'e of $367,500,000 was derived as rei:-
resenting the value of business done by the Industry in 1929.
For 1933 and 1934 the value of business was estimated, by the Hesearch
and Planning Division, at $86,275,000 and $107,160,000, respectively. These
figures were derived by fitting a series of index numbers representing the
trend in expenditures for additions, alterations, and repairs in the Building
Construction Industry, l/ to the estimated figure for 1929.
IT As of April, 1950:
2/ Index niunbers published in Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin,
Buildin^^ Construction, February, 1935 , p. 5.
Thsre are no industries the oroducts of v/hich compete with the products
of this Industry. A certain degree of competition is e:cperienced, however,
from members of other divisions of the Construction Industry. In addition,
house-orners and tenants v/ho do their o\7n ptiinting and decorating, and tuild-
ing managers and industrial concerns virhich maintain re,;^lar staffs of painters
and decorators are, in a sense, also in competition with the members of this
Nuin"ber of Wage Earners
Censiis Data. - The Cenfjiis of Constraction da.tr on number of ^lage
en.rners are qo.ite incomplete due to the fact that the Census canvass
covered onl;- a portion of the Industry, ^...rtheraore, their usefulness is
limited h" the fact that the data reported represent onl^'- the lover limit
of the nuinher einplo?/ed "oy the reporting eota'blisiments. This is due to
the peculiar characteristics of the Industry' which resr.lt in non- continuous
employi.ient v.dth any giver en^-oloysr, coritinual rotation from one emplo^^er to
another, hif:h labor turnover and much lost time even during busy seasons.
In the Census of Occumtions for 1930, 430,105 persons were classified
as paperhan£-ers in the Luilding Industry. !_/ Thir, combined figure of
458,433 is probably an overstatement of the ntimber of rrage earners in the
Industr3- a,s defined by the Code, since it inc?oa.des Glaziers, who were not
covered IiY the Painting, PaiDerhanging and LecoratinG' Code, and also because
it includes those who were unenoloyed a.t the tine of the Census (April, 1S30),
an unlrnoT;n n^Jifoer of whom i-ere undoubtedly unemployed throughout the entire
Trade Association and Code A ut hority Data. -- In the- Code Applicr-tion the
Master Painters Trade Association reported 450,000 enoloyees for 19?b. This
agency stated that this fif^ure was obtained from the Census of Population
data referred to above, but did not explain how it was adjusted — if at all
— to represent 1929.
The Secretary of the former Code Authority estimated that there were
400,000 wa^'e earners in 1934, without indicating the basis of the estimate.
KRA, Research and Planning Division, Data . - Prom Area Agreement data,
the P.esearch and Planning Division has calculated that in 1929 the ratio of
journey:.ien to total popvi.lation v/as 1 to 340 in those area,s for which agree-
ments were drawn up under the Code. Applying this ratio to the 1930 popu-
lation figiu-e for the United States (122,775,000), a fi^are of 361,000 is
obtained. However, the ava.ilable data on which the ratio was ca,lculated
were representative mainly of urban areas a,nd if data from rural areas had
been included in the calculation, it is believed that the ratio woiild yield
a smaller fig-are as representative of the total number of journej'Tnen in 1929.
Seasonal Variation in Employment
This Industrj'- is influenced by seasonal factors v/hich strongly affect
employment. The outdoor pp.inting worl: is necessarily dependent on wea,ther
conditions, and, in the northern oart of the coimtry at least, the winter
months are slack periods in this tjr.ie of work. The interior work — painting,
varnishing, and paperhanging — is also influenced by seasonal factors,
such as the custom to redecorate houses in the spring, fixed spring and fall
leasing dates, etc.
1/ Census of Population, 1930, Occu-oations by States , p. 8.
A measu-renent of tlie vaxiation in emplo^^/Tnenfc caused "by these seasonal
factors is avs.ila'ble from data reported in the Census of the Construction
Industr;'- which show the number of wage earners en-oloyed on the 15th day
of each month in 1929. These figures, shown in Tahle III, "below, indicate
tiiat the peali month of en-olojnnent that year was Septemher, and the low
month was January. Wliile only 1,008 establishments re^oorted the number of
wage earners by months, the trend revea,led loy these figures is believed
fairly representative of the entire Industry.
number of Wage Earners in the Larger Establisliments,
by ilonths, 1929 a/
number of Wage
Per Cent of
Source: Census report, Construction Industr;^, 1929 ;
Subcontractors, "Painting and Decorating."
a/ As rei^orted by 1,008 esta.blishments in the
"$25,000 and over" group.
b/ Number of v.'age earners as of the 15th, or the
nearest representative day, of each month.
Census Data . - The amount of wages paid in 1929 l/y the painting and
paperhanging establishments covered in the Census of the Construction
Industry has been estimated at $91,925,000. This figure was obtained by
applying the percentage that wages were of the value of business handled
by the "$25,000 and over" group of establishments to the estimated valu.e
of business liandled by both groups of establishments. It was necessary to
do this becav.se the establisliments in the "loss than $25,000" group did
not report on wages. This estimated fi:rure cannot be considered as a total
for the Industry, however, since en indeterminate nuriber of establislments
were not covered in the Census.
Trade Association Data . - The Secretary of the former Code Author-
ity estimated that v/ages ano\ii:ted to $180,000,000 in 1929 and to $150,000,-
000 in 1934. The "basis of these estimates is not Icnov.m.
In Tahle IV, "below, data are -oresented to shoT7 average hourly wage
rates of painters for the years 1939, 1931, 1933, and 1934. The rates for
paperhangers are not availa"ble,
Average Hourly Wage Rates of Painters in Various Cities a/
As Ee-Qorted "by
Year Painters and Paperhangers
and Decorators Union h/ Builders Association c/
1929 $1.14 $1.10
1931 1.15 1.09
1933 .96 .89
1934 1.01 .93
Source: llnpuhlished data from Brotherhood of Painters, Paperhangers,
and Decorators, Lafayette, Indiana; and from Builders' Associa^
tion, Chicago, Illinois.
a/ The territory covered ranged from 87 to 138 cities.
Id/ Consists of union ra.tes only.
c/ Consists of "both union and non-union rates.
The a"bove figures were compiled "by the Construction "Unit of the
Research and Planning Division, WA, from data provided "by the respective
agencies mentioned. The rates reported by the "Union are rates of union
printers only. The rates reported "by the Builders' Association comprise
both union and non-union rates. The territory covered in the compilation
of these rates was very extensive, the smallest number of cities covered
in any one yeav being 87, and the largest number, 138. All sections of the
country a,nd both large and small cities were covered. The rates shown in
this table are, therefore, believed to be representative airerages ,for
the entire Industry,
Hours -per TJeek
The scale of hours per week for union painters in ten selected cities
for the years 1929, 1931, 1933 and 1934 are shown in Table V, below. These
scales are representative only of large cities-; data, covering the smaller
cities E,re not available. The data must be understood to refer to full-
time hours of work and not to hours actually v/orked.
Scale of Weekly Hours of Union Painters, liy 10 selected Cities
Source: Bureau of Labor
(June, 1935) p.
40 hours per week, June to August, inclusive.
Number of Ueeks Worked per Year
The only information available on the average niomber of weeks worked per
year ;oer wor^cer is an estimate made by G. S. Stuart, Secretary of the Former
Code Avithority, who estimated that the number in 1929 was about 26.
Employees Under 16 Years of Age
There are few employees in the Industry under 16 years of age. In the
Census of Occupations, out of 430,105 r^ainters, glaziers, and varnishers re-
ported in the Building Industry classification, only 2,360, or .5 per cent,
were less than 17 years of age. No paperhangers were reniorted in that age
Wage Earners by Principal States
Census Data . - Although the occupation data reported in the Census of
Population do not accurately represent the total number of wage earners in
this Industry, as previously explained, they do serve to indicate the relative
imx)ortance of the various states. Table VI, below, shows the number of
painters, glaziers, varnishers, and paperhangers in the ten leading states,
as reported in this Census.
It is seen from these data that approximately 64 per cent of tho persons
who reported themselves belonging, by occupation, to this Industry in 1930 wer
located in ten states, with New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania together con-
taining about 33 per cent of the total.
Num'ber of Painters, Glaziers, Varnishers, and Paperliangers
in the Building Industry, ty 10 Principal States, 1930
U. S. Total
Total, 10 States
Total, Other States
31 , 434
Source: Census of Population, 1930, Occupations by States .
Wages Paid by Principal States
Census Data . - Data on the amoijxit of wages paid in the Industry by
states are ava.ilable only in the Census of the Construction Industry, v/hich
covered the year 1929 only. As previously'' explained, the Census of the Con-
struction Industry data do not yield coni"olete information on this Industry,
but in the matter of v/ages paid they serve to indicate the relative importance
of the various states.
As 'jas done in estimating wages paid in the United States as a \/hole, the
amount of Y/a^es uaid in ten leading states v/as estimated by computing the valu<
of business done by the establishments in the "$25, COO and over" groiijj and
applying this percentage to the estimated value of business handled by both
groups of establishments.
The data given in Table VII, below, indicate that a-pproxiraately 81 per
cent of the wages paid in the Industry \7ere distributed in the ten leading
states, with New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania a,ccounting for approximately
44 per cent of the total.
Wages Paid "by Principal States, 1929 a/
( In thousands )
U. S. Total
Total, 10 States
Total, Other States
Source: Census report. Construction Industry , 1929; Subcontractors, "Paint-
ing and Decorating."
a/ Estimated for all establishments which reported in the Census by
apT)lying the ratio of v/ages to value of business handled as calculat-
ed for the "$25,000 and over" group of establishments, to the total
value of business estimated for both groups of establisliraents.
Labor Cost in Relation to Value of Business
The proportion that wages are of the value of business done in this In-
dustry may be a-oproxiraated from Census of Construction data. The 1,102 es-
tablishments in the "$25,000 and over" group reported their value of business
as $83,899,000 and wages paid out as $43,504,000 in 1929. The proportion tlmt
wages are of the value of business in these firms is thus about 52 per cent,
which is considered representative of the Industry as a whole.
Princj-pal Materials Used
In the Painting, Paperhanging and Decorating Industry the only-
processing of raw and serai-processed materials is that involved in mixing
pigments, white lead, nnd. oils in the preparation of paint. The principal
materials used, are: ready-mixed paint, varnish, white lead, shellac, putty,
pigment, linseed oil, turpentine, wallpaper, and paste.
Total Cost of Materials
Cenggs Data . - Complete, reliable data on the cost of materials used "by
the Industry are not available. Heferring to the Census of the Construction
Industry, it is found that the 1,102 establishments which reported this in-
formation expended $17,523,000 on materials in 1929. This represents about
21 per cent of the total volume of business done ($83,899,000) by these es-
tablishments in that year.
Code Authority Data . - The Secretary of the former Code Authority
estimated that the cost of materials used by the Industry in 1934 amoimted
to $75,000,000. Ernest I, Trigg, of the Institute of Paint and Varnish Re-
search, estimated that in 1934 the amount spent for paint and varnish by all
classes of users was $125,000,000. Of this total amount, he estimated that
about 70 per cent, or $88,000,000 was spent by the painting "trade," which
is believed to be roughly comparable with the Painting, Paperhanging, and
Decorating Industry. However, this percentage estimate is considered ex-
Cost of Individual Items Used
A brealcdown of the total cost of materials by individual items is not
available, A breakdown in the Census of the Construction Industry report
shows that 97,8 per cent of the total cost of materials reported by 1,102
establishments was represented by paints, varnishes, and glass. What pro-
portion of this percentage is represented by glass, which is not generally
used by this Industry, is not known. Also, no data are available on the
percentage of the total cost of materials that was spent for wallpaper and
Soin-co of Materials
liaterials are purchased either direct from the manufacturer or from
wholesalers and retailers. Data on the amount purchased direct from the
manufacturer are not available. It is impossible also, to determine the
amount of material supplied by manufacturers in the various states either
direct to the members of the Industry or through the regular distribution
channels. However, as an indication of the original source of the principal
material used by the Industry, the main producing states of the materials and
the value of these products in 1929 are listed in Table VIII, below.
The Ijuli: of the materials is seen to iDe produced in a relatively small
numter of states, indicating' that the materials enter into interstate com-
merce "before they are delivered to the members of this Industry.
Froduction Value of Principal i.'aterials Used in the Painting,
Paperhaiiging and Decorating Industry, By Principal Producing States, 1S29
( In thousands)
State Paints and Varnishes ^1 Tfcite Lead ^b/ Linseed Oil £/ Wall Paper
A/:iouiit per Cent A/aount per Cent Amount Per Cent AmoT.int Per
of of of Cent
Total Total Total of
$24,591 100.0 $119,927 100.0 'teO,008 100.0
U. S. Total !•
:. 568, 976
48 , 966
7.4 9,328 31.1
18,989 15. i
fied States 502,011 88.2
States 66,965 11.8
24,354 99.0 56,331 46.9 26,725 89.1
237 1.0 63,596 53.1 3,283 10,9
Census of lianufactures, 1929 , "Paints and Varnishes", "Oil, Cake, and
Keel Linseed", and "Wall Paper", The data do not include the production
value of estahlisliments whose output was less than $5,000 in 1929.
"Paints and Varnishes" include; pigments, paints in paste form, paints
mixed ready for use, varnishes, lacauers, japans, enamels, fillers,
Tiihite lead in oil.
Linseed oil, and its hy-prodacts, cake and meal.
Machinery and Equipment
practically the only machinery used in the Industry is the spray
machine, a machine vfhich sprays the paint on the surface to te covered.
The machines are manuiactrtred mainly in Ohio. The equipment used includes
such items as trushes, ladders, and scaffolding.
Expenditures for Squioment
Census Data . - There is little information availatle on expenditures
for equipment. Only 941 esto.blishments out of the 15,164 contacted reported
on expenditures for equipment iii the Census of Construction. These estab-
lishments reported tne cost of equ.ipraent purchased in 1929 at $740,913, or
an average of $787 per establishment.
The value of paint and varnish brushes (including artists' brushes)
produced in 1929, as reported in the Census of Manufactures, was $16,705,771,
but the proportion which vras purchased by members of the Painting, Paper-
hanging, and Decorating Industry is not known.
Code Authority Data . - The Secretary of the former Code Authority es-
timated tliat the 70,000 members of the Industry spent $40,000,000 for
equipment in 1934, or an average of about $570 per member.
Source of Equipment
llo information is available which definitely shov/s the states in which
are manufactured tne equipment for the Industry. In the case of brushes,
the Census of Manufactures, which is usually a good source of information,
combines various types of brushes, such as tooth, household, and industrial,
with paint and varnish brushes. It is therefore impossible to tell definite-
ly from the Census data, the states in which paint and varnish brushes are
PRODUCTIOii AlTD DISTRIBUTION
Dollar Volume of Business l):,' Princi'iDa] States
In this Industry, "production" is represented "by contracts made and per-
formed and the "best measure of "production" is therefore the dollar voluiie of
Comprehensive data on the total dollar volume of "btisiness by states are
not available, Ho\7ever, the data contained in the Census of the Construction
Industry serve to illustrate the relative importance of the various states in
In Table IX, belo\7, is sho->7n the value of business done by establishments
in ten leading states in 1929, as estimated from the Census data. The amo-umts
for the various states lYere derived by estimating the value of business done
in all the establishments in the "less than $25,000" group on the basis of the
average araount per establishment for the establishment which reported this
information, and adding this araount to the value of business reported by the
establishments in the "$25,000 and over" group, all of which reported this
The value of the business done in the ten leading states in 1929, as
indicated by the Census data, amounted to approximately 82 per cent of the
United States total, with Hew York, Illinois and Pennsylvania together con-
tributing about 44 per cent of the total.
VeJ-ue of Business Done by 10 Principal States, 1929
All EstaTplishments Esta."blishments v/hose Business amounted to
Amount Per Cent $25,000 or More a/ Less than $25,000 b/
U. S. Total $175,429 100.0
10 states 143,585
Source: Census report. Construction Industry. 1929 ; Subcontractors,
"Painting and Decorating."
a/ Value reported by all of the 1,102 establishments in this group,
b/ Value estimated for 14,062 establishments on basis of reports"
from 3,094 establishments.
c/ Value of business of some flooring establishments included.
Business Outside Home State
^JThile the Industry is not engaged in interstate commerce, in the sense
of the floTT of goods across state lines, there is a certain amount of inter-
state competition for business among members of the Industry. That is, an
establishment in one state sometimes gets contracts for work in another
The cjnount of business thus done outside the home state in 1929 is shown
for the ten leading states in Table X, below. The data here presented were
reported only by the establishments whose business amounted to $25,000 or
more for the year, because the establishments whose business amounted to less
than $25,000 did not report this information. The data in the following
table may, therefore, be considered representative only of the larger
Value of Business Done Outside Home State ty the Larger EstaMishments,
by 10 Principal States, 1929 a/
Done in "Tome State
Amount Per Cent
(000 's) of Total
1,068 $75,566 $72,039
U. S. Total
Total, 10 states 804 61,210 53,131 95.0
Total, other states 264 14,356 13,908 96.9
Source: C ensus Report. Construction Industry. 1929 ; Subcontractors,
"Painting and Decorating:;."
a/ Includes only establisliments whose business v;as $25,000 or more in
b/ Includes some flooring establishjaents.
The Industry, as such, does little advertising except locally. It does,
however, share in the benefits of advertising on a national scale, through
such media as the radio, magazines, and newspapers, which is conducted by the
maJcers of the products it uses, vi3„ , paints, varnishes, and wallpaper, etc,
Wr.tional advertising in connection with "Save the surf-'^ce" campaigns p.nd
local "Paint Up and Clepn Up" cainpaigns are of much importance in developing
buciness foi" the Industry,
The productive crpacity of the Indtistrj/ and the degree of utilization of
tliat capacity are beyond deteraination. There probably has been no time in
the history of tne Industry vrhen it approached capacity production throughout
the nation. Maximum production v;as reached in the Industry in 1929 when the
volume of business reached a total of from $360,000,000 to $400,000,000, but
all employers and employees throughout the nation were not constantly engaged
even during that year.
Genera l. - The aoucivo trade "oractices nhich v/ere prevalent in the
Industi-y orior to the Code, E:.id v.'hich continued under the Code, although
protaol-- to a lesser degree, vere: Did-shor-pins, hid-peddlin;!-, selling
goods or rendering of services Delon cost, sul)stitution of inferior naterials,
grejiting of rebates jmd denandin™ of comiissions, connercial "brilier^, suo-
letting of labor services, and roouirenent of a coMuission ^oy realtors nho
acted as agents for property oun£.:rs. These -practices are described belon,
Eid-~ Shop-pin-^ . - The practice of bid-shopping is the seeking by the
arrarding axithority of louer bids than those subnitted by the original bidders.
The awarding av.thority literally "shops" around in an attempt to find a con-
tractor or sub-contractor vrho :7ill -.mdertahe the job at a lower figrjre than
sxi'j he has previously siibnitted,
Bid-Peddlin~ . - Bid-peddling is practiced when the contractor or sub-
contractor ascertains the figure of the lov/ bid and attempts to secure the
contract by reducing his own figi-ure.
Selling Below Cost . - The s.^lling of goods or rendering of services
below cost may result from either of the above practices or nay occur with-
out the stimulus of ou.tside pressure. The competing contractors, in their
zeal to obtain contracts, nay submit bids which are less than the cost of
performance, intending ].ater to shift the burden to their employees or the
consLU-ier, or both.
Substitution of Inferior Llaterials . - Tiie oractice of substitution of
inferior materials is self erq^lanatory. The contrs.ctor, in an attempt to
gain a profit, substitutes less costly materials than those specified in
Rebates gmd Commissions , - The granting of rebates and the demands for
commissions o.re siuf icientl'^'' related to be discussed together. In both
instances the contractor, in order to obtain the contract, agrees to return
a percentage of the amount he receives for the job to the person from \7h0r.,
or through whom, he received the contract,
Siiblettinug; Labor Service . - In the subletting of labor services, the
contractor attempts to reduce labor costs by contracting for labor services
at a figujce less than he estimates the cost will be. In this manner an
effort is r.ade to counteract the effects of a bid which was too low to return
a legitimate profit.
Spreading of Unfair Trade Practices
To iDOint to the origin of and to trace the spreading of, unfair trade
practices in this Industry v?ould be an iirpossible task. The initiation of
an;/ of the above enumerated abusive practices, in any particular locality^or
area, is a matter of small conseaj-ience rjid probably passes without notice.
The ■■oiiiversality of use and the sinilarit:'- of nethods is clear evidence fc lat
such aousive -oractices spread li':e disease and contaninated the Industr"
thro-U(-;hout the nation. The rapidit:' vith T.'hich these -practices spread was
accelerated hj^ the fact that, as shoun in the Construction Ind-astr','- Census,
a-opro::inately 17 per cent of all T'ork reported was perfomed outside the
contractor's hone cit;^.
Effects of Unfair Practices
'The effects of the various unfair trade -oractices react upon consuriers,
enplovees, and the nenhers of the IndListry. 'Tlie tendency, in nost instances,
is to lessen or eliminate the contractor's profit. In order to coahat this
tendenc:^, the contractor attevrpts to pass the hm'den on to consumers or to
eraployees. He na;', hy substitution of cheaper and f;enerally inferior materials
or 1)3" reducing wages, lengthening,'; hours, and drivin;" his enpl03/"ees, attempt
to reduce costs, Thtis, the employee, the consujncr, and the contractor —
any or all of them ma;.' oe adversely affected.
History gjid Growth of the Industry
As to the origin and early history of tne Indixstry, little is recorded.
It is protatle that early painting was largely for decorative purposes and
the materials consisted only of whitewash and ochre. With the discovery
that paint had a more material value, i. e., that of a preservative, the
field of operation was broadened and great impetus was given the Industry,
It was no longer dependent merely upon the esthetic taste, tut it became
a matter of economy to apply iiaint at more or less regular intervals,
progress in the Industry has been aided by new techniques in the manu-
facture of paint and consequent improvement in the product. This improve-
ment has been mainly along tr/o lines. The variety of colors has been in-
creased, and the preservative qualities of paint have been developed. Some
conception of the success of the paint manufacturers and some idea of the
growth of the Painting, Paperhanging and Decorating Industry may be had from
the following table:
Total Value of Paints and Varnishes Manufactured
in the United States, for selected
1899 $ 69,562
Source: Census of Manufactures , "Paints and
The figures, though dealing only with value of products, indicate that
since 1899 the country has become "paint conscious," and suggest that the
volume of business performed by the painting contracting industry has in-
creased tremendously within the last few decades.
Changes in Technique
The changes in methods of application have hardly kept pace with the
development in materials and their uses. The greater portion of paints, var-
nishes, and wallpapers are still applied in much the same manner as they were
years ago. The brushes and various instruments of application have been
improved, but remain the basic instruments. The only change of a revolutionary
nature has been the appearance within the past two aecades of the spray
machine as an instruiaent for ap^'lying paint.
As the Paint Manufacturing Industry has developed, the degree of skill
required of the members of the Painting Contracting Industry has lessened
in the field of paint preparation, and increased in the field of application.
The chemist of the paint nroducer has taken over the v7ork of compounding
color, while the painter has had to increase his dexterity in applying the
many nev! finishes and color schemes now a.vaila'ble.
Trade and Emplo7/"ee Organizations
The members of the Indastr?/ recognized the advantages of organiza.tion
and as early as 1834 the International Association of Master Painters was
organized, the first annual convention having been held in llew York City in
1885. The employee organization, the Brotherhood of Painters aJid Decorators
of America,, was not far behind, having been organized in 1887.
The early history of the latter group is filled with conflicts between
competing elements, both within and outside the organization. Despite these
difficulties, the Brotherhood became numerically strong, growing from 600 to
7,000 within the first year, and reaching 20,000 by 1894 when a split oc-
curred. The immediate cause of the split was an attempt to wrest control
from the Baltimore members. This caused a marked decrease in membership,
but when reconciliation was effected rapid gains were made. When reunion
finallj'' occurred in 1901 there were 29,000 members. Locals which had been
organized independently during the period of strife began to affiliate with
the International and by 1904 the membership had increased to 65,000, In
1911 the paperhangers became affiliated.
In more recent years the growth has not been so constant. The member-
ship in 1920 had reached 124,835, but the next year it fell to 110,082, and
in 1922 to 97,117, The membership "^or the past few years, as reported at
the international convention, was'; 1929, 108,100; 1933, 59,300; and, 1934,
57,800, The sharp decrease in membership from 1929 may, for the most part,
be attributed to inability to pay dues which, of course, results from un-
The relationship between labor and management has, on the whole, been
amicable. This friendly relationship can be explained in part by the fact
that in many instances the employers of today v/ere the employees of the past.
In an attempt to counteract the loss of working time due to the seasonal
fluctuations in the Industry, the Master Painters Union in 1930 successfully
negotiated agreements for the five-day week in 17 cities, affecting 65,000
journejTnen. At the 1933 convention 76 agreements were reported regarding
wages, hours, and general working conditions. This report did not include
all agreements of 1933, but only those reported up to April 30 of that year,
Financial Condition of the Industry
While no statistics are available relative to the subject, it is gen-
erally believed that the financial condition in 1934, including net profits,
improved somewhat over the year before,
Notwithstanding this general improvement, a larce part of the responsi'bilitj'-
for mich, according to the Secretary of the fomier Code Authority, may "be
attributed to the Code of Fair Competition, the Incmstry has "by no me?jis
attained the financial standing it enjoyed in 1929,
The outstanding men in the Industry, who, according to the Secretarj'
of the former Code Authority, may "be regarded as experts qualified to furnish
information relative to the Industry, are:
Herbert E, Brace,
314 Divisadero Street,
San Francisco, Calif.
Charles B. Hart,
Vice-President and Treasurer,
National Decorating Service,
4035 S» Michigan Ave,,
Franklin Marling, Jr, ,
President and Treasurer,
T, C. G-leich Company,
3945 Sheridan Eoad,
George D. Cornell,
President, George D. Cornell Co,,
3£19 Detroit Avenue,
Charles Grimmer & Sons,
230 E, 37th St.,
New York, N, Y,
Owner, Charles Krayer and Sons,
4526 Oneida Avenue,
New York, N, Y.
P. G. Osborn,
P. G. Osborn Company,
807 Sipley St,,
San Antonio, Texas.
J. Frank Jones,
110 E. Gary Street,
S. B. Oster,
S, B. Oster Company,
1541 W. Thompson St.,
J. J. Swan, Owner,
Swan Paint ^ Decorating Company,
6547 Pacific Street,
John Ehrhardt, President,
Ehrhardt Studio of Decorating,
5737 Vernon Ave. ,
St. Louis, Lio,
E, E. Breno, Owner,
E, E, Breno Company,
528 S. Zunis St. ,
Arthur D, Campbell, President,
Anerican Painting & Decorating Co.,
40 Batterymarch St.,