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   Feature on Trusts. Topic: INDUSTRY
Written by Jim Sayre in April, 2000

TRUST BUSTING NEEDED HERE?

Early in the decade that goaded President Theodore Roosevelt to swing his trust-busting big stick at more than 40 major U.S. corporations, several Shelby County, Ohio businesses joined to dull the edge of price competition. The smithies forged an agreement for "the protection of those engaged in that business and the adoption of a uniform price for blacksmith work." The new price-fixing organization was named the Blacksmith and Horseshoers Association of Shelby county, with 25 area blacksmiths attending the organizing meeting (Shelby County Democrat, Apr. 13, 1900).

Price fixing was becoming quite popular in Shelby County. The liverymen of Sidney – C.E. Bush, T.F. Shaw, T.M. Hussey, T.W. Johnston, and Sargeant & Princehouse – grew tired of horsing around on the competitive field and saddled the public with this announcement: "On and after April 1, 1900, the following uniform price will be adopted for boarding horses: Twelve dollars per month (Sidney Daily News, Mar. 26, 1900). Barbers in Sidney, too, sought to cut competition by setting uniform prices for "shaves (10 cents), hair cuts (25 cents), hair singeing (10 cents), beard trimming (10 cents), and razor honeing (25 cents)" (SDN, Mar. 26, 1900).

Another barber, outside the tonsorial trust and already sympathetic to Roosevelt’s coming trust-busting campaign, used the newspaper to whisper this in the public’s ear: "The ‘Anti-trust Barber Shop’ has cut over a hundred heads of hair in the past week" (SDN, May 4, 1900).

 

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