In 1887 most of the largest white lead corroders combined to form the National Lead Trust, protecting themselves, paint industry spokesman George Heckel wryly explained, from competition that "had become so keen and its debasing consequences so disturbing to the conscience of moral-minded business men."  The trust soon included all but two of the nation's largest white lead producers.
Of course, white lead companies were not the only paint producers.
Painters and paint manufacturers experimented with zinc-oxide, zinc-sulphide, barytes, and carbonates, with mixed but largely encouraging success, producing a range of new products: some cheaper, some whiter than white lead, and some, they claimed, every bit as durable.
The white lead encrusting the buckles often grew so thick as to crack the vessels.
North Dakota analysts found that "Climax White Lead" paint contained absolutely no lead; nor did "Wier's (Improved) Bavarian White Lead." "Anti-Trust White Lead" had less than 15 percent.
white lead paint purchaser was "buying a pig in a poke; [ldots] It is only when his paint washes off the building or cracks with fissures that resemble that of the alligator skin that he knows he has been defeated in his attempt to produce in his work the best results possible."  Apparently, few paint companies in 1910 sold pure white lead.
The white lead manufacturers and the master painters stood as conservators of a long-standing tradition of quality.
call for federal intervention in regulating the manufacture, sale, and use of any paint containing white lead. In addition to content labeling, Bartholdt's bill required all lead-containing paints to be "labeled with a skull and crossbones and the words 'Poison; white lead.'" The bill spelled out detailed rules to for the manufacture and application of lead paints.
Although he repeatedly assured that Bartholdt's bill did "not seek to prohibit the use of white lead in this country," Rhodes waxed evangelical when he described the dangers of lead paint and the courageous nature of the legislation undertaken by European nations.
John Dewar's Master House Painters and Decorators did not support it, despite its provisions for safer working conditions and a section of the bill that would have allowed only "experienced or union men" to use white lead. Dewar would not back a bill that restricted the use of white lead in any way.
Wiley's definitions of "purity" often favored tradition over chemistry: white lead in oil was "pure;" paints containing zinc or barytes were "adulterated."  Committee members shared Wiley's prejudice against "adulterants": one legislator asked Bartholdt whether any lead paint was poisonous, or only when it was adulterated, despite the commonsensical conclusion that "adulterating" a toxic paint by blending harmless pigments should reduce its toxicity.
House files on the Bartholdt hearings contain no direct evidence of lead industry opposition to Bartholdt's bill, although the bill's advocates frequently alluded to the impact of the "white lead trust."  Only one witness spoke against the bill.