decided: May 31, 1898.
TIDE WATER OIL COMPANY
APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.
[ 171 U.S. Page 214]
MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
The single question presented for our consideration in this case is whether the boxes or cases exported by the petitioner were "wholly manufactured" in the United States within the meaning of the section hereinafter cited.
The facts were, in substance, that the claimant imported from Canada in 1889 and 1890 box shooks, and from Europe steel rods, upon which duties were paid to the amount of $39,636.20 under the tariff act of March 3, 1883, 22 Stat. 488, 502, which levied a duty of thirty per cent upon "casks and
[ 171 U.S. Page 215]
barrels, empty sugar-box shooks, and packing boxes, and packing-box shooks, of wood, not specially enumerated or provided for in this act." The box shooks so imported were manufactured in Canada from boards, which were planed and cut into the required lengths and widths for making into boxes withinout further labor than nailing them together. They were then tied up into bundles of sides, ends, bottoms and tops, of from fifteen to twenty-five in a bundle, for convenience in handling and shipping. After importation, they were made up into boxes or cases, by nailing the proper parts together with nails manufactured in the United States out of the imported steel rods, and by trimming, when defective in length or width, to make the boxes or cases without projecting parts.
The ends and sides of the boxes were nailed together by nailing machines, and the sides trimmed off even with the ends by saws. Then bottoms were nailed on and trimmed in the same manner. After being filed, the tops were nailed on, and the boxes made ready for exportation. The cost of the labor expended in the United States in the nailing, handling and trimming of the boxes was about one tenth of the value of the boxes. The principal part of the labor in trimming the boxes was occasioned by the Canadian manufacturer not cutting the shooks into the required lengths and widths for making the boxes, the cost of which trimming the claimant sometimes charged to the Canadian manufacturer.
Upon this state of facts petitioner made claim for duties paid as above upon the shooks under Rev. Stat. § 3019, which reads as follows:
"There shall be allowed on all articles wholly manufactured of materials imported, on which duties have been paid when exported, a drawback equal in amount to the duty paid on such materials, and no more, to be ascertained under such regulations as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Ten per centum on the amount of all drawbacks so allowed shall, however, be retained for the use of the United States by the collectors paying such drawbacks respectively."
The question arises whether the boxes in question were
[ 171 U.S. Page 216]
"wholly manufactured" within the United States of "materials imported" from abroad. The section above quoted uses the words "wholly manufactured of materials imported," but we understand it to be conceded that the words "in the United States" should be considered as being incorporated into the section after the word "manufactured." The provision would be senseless without this interpolation. The object of the section was evidently not only to build up an export trade, but to encourage manufactures in this country, where such manufactures are intended for exportation, by granting a rebate of duties upon the raw or prepared materials imported, and thus enabling the manufacturer to compete in foreign markets with the same articles manufactured in other countries. In determining whether the articles in question were wholly manufactured in the United States, this object should be borne steadily in mind.
The primary meaning of the word "manufacture" is something made by hand, as distinguished from a natural growth; but as machinery has largely supplanted this primitive method, the word is now ordinarily used to denote an article upon the material of which labor has been expended to make the finished product.Ordinarily, the article so manufactured takes a different form, or at least subserves a different purpose from the original materials; and usually it is given a different name. Raw materials may be and often are subjected to successive processes of manufacture, each one of which is complete in itself, but several of which may be required to make the final product. Thus, logs are first manufactured into boards, planks, joists, scantlings, etc., and then by entirely different processes are fashioned into boxes, furniture, doors, window sashes, trimmings and the thousand and one articles manufactured wholly or in part of wood. The steel spring of a watch is made ultimately from iron ore, but by a large number of processes or transformations, each successive step in which is a distinct process of manufacture, and for which the article so manufactured receives a different name.
The mateial of which each manufacture is formed, and to which reference is made in section 3019, is not necessarily the
[ 171 U.S. Page 217]
original raw material -- in this case the tree or log -- but the product of a prior manufacture; the finished product of one manufacture thus becoming the material of the next in rank. This case, then, resolves itself into the question whether the materials out of which these boxes were constructed were the boards which were manufactured in Canada or the shooks which were imported into the United States.
While the planing and cutting of the boards in Canada into the requisite lengths and shapes for the sides, ends, tops and bottoms of the boxes, was doubtless a partial manufacture, it was not a complete one, since the boards so cut are not adaptable as material for other and different objects of manufacture, but were designed and appropriate only for a particular purpose, i.e., for the manufacture of boxes of a prescribed size, and were useless for any other purpose. It is not always easy to determine the difference between a complete and a partial manufacture, but we may say generally that an article which can only be used for a particular purpose, in which the process of manufacture stops short of the completed article, can only be said to be partially manufactured within the meaning of this section; nor can we regard the mere assembling and nailing together of parts complete in themselves and destined for a particular purpose as a complete and separate manufacture. Thus, chairs are made of bottoms, backs, legs and rounds, each one of these parts being made separately and in large quantities. If imported in this condition from abroad, and the parts were assembled and glued or screwed together here, we think it entirely clear that such chairs would not be wholly manufactured in the United States; and the same may be said of the staves, heads and hoops which constitute a barrel. Upon the theory of the claimant, if all the parts which constitute a wooden house were made separately, as they sometimes are, and imported from abroad and put together in this country in the form of a house, if would follow that the house must be said to have been wholly constructed in this country.
It may be said generally, although not universally, that a complete manufacture is either the ultimate product of prior
[ 171 U.S. Page 218]
successive manufactures, such as a watch spring, or a penknife, or an intermediate product which may be used for different purposes, such for instance as pig iron, iron bars, lumber or cloth; while a partial manufacture is a mere stage in the development of the material to ward an ultimate and predestined product, such for instance as the different parts of a watch which need only to be put together to make the finished article. If, for instance, the wheels, chain, springs, dial, hands, and case of a watch were all imported from abroad, and merely put together in this country, we do not think it could be said that the watch was wholly manufactured within the United States. The same remark we think may be made with reference to the shooks in this case, which were practically worthless except for being put together for a box of a definite size.
The distinction here made was alluded to in the opinion of this court in Worthington v. Robbins, 139 U.S. 337, 341, in which the question arose whether "white hard enamel," used for various purposes, including watch dials, was dutiable as "watch materials," or as a simple manufacture. In delivering the opinion of the court Mr. Justice Blatchford said: "The article in question was, to all intents and purposes, raw material. If it were to be classed as 'watch materials,' it would follow that any metal which could ultimately be used, and was ultimately used, in the manufacture of a watch, but could be used for other purposes also, would be dutiable as 'watch materials.' In order to be 'watch materials' the article must in itself bear marks of its special adaptation for use in making watches. The fact that the article in question was used in the manufacture of watches has no relation to the condition of the article as imported, but to what afterwards the importer did with it."
It does not necessarily follow that the shooks in question were not a manufacture, and dutiable as such, or that they were dutiable as boxes, though destined to be put together as such, since in United States v. Schoverling, 146 U.S. 76, finished gunstocks with locks and mountings, unaccompanied by barrels, were held to be dutiable as manufactures of iron, and not as "guns."
[ 171 U.S. Page 219]
Bearing in mind that the object of the drawback was partly, at least, to encourage domestic manufactures, and that all the substantial work done in this country was in nailing together the tops, bottoms and sides of these boxes, we think it clear that it cannot be said that the boxes so constructed were wholly manufactured in the United States. The work done in trimming or sawing off the ends of the boards was a mere incident to the nailing together, and was caused by the inadvertence, negligence or insufficient instructions given to the Canadian manufacturer, and was no proper part of the manufacture. While the amount of work done to constitute a new manufacture may not be great, Saltonstall v. Wiebusch, 156 U.S. 601, yet we think the fact that in the transfer of those boards to the completed boxes, the cost of labor expended in the United States represented only one tenth in value of the boxes is important, especially when taken in connection with the fact that the shooks when imported were usable only for a single purpose. It is quite improbable that Congress intended to allow a drawback upon the nine tenths represented by the Canadian material for the benefit of the one tenth represented by the labor put upon the boxes in this country. What was doubtless meant was to allow this drawback upon articles manufactured wholly and bona fide within the United States, either from the raw material, or from material which was the result of the last complete manufacture.
While the nails, which were used in fastening the shooks together and were made from iron rods imported from abroad, may be said to have been wholly manufactured in the United States within the principles here announced, they lost their identity as such when used in nailing the shooks together, and became so far a part of the boxes that no separate drawback could be claimed for them.
There was no error in dismissing the petition, and the judgment of the Court of Claims is therefore
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