Chicago Tribune

Women in Hyde Park Invest in Section of Pipe; Promised More.
Glib Talking "Agent" Gets Her Dollar, But Return is Small.

Several hundred women of the south side who contributed $1 each toward a scheme to "get even" with the gas company are waiting vainly for returns. Mrs. William I. Thomas of 6061 Jackson Park avenue, whose husband, a professor in the University of Chicago, is the author of a notable book entitled "Sex and Society," complained to the police for the sole purpose, she said, of preventing other Chicago women of being duped. She figures that she received about 9 centsí value from the $1 she invested.

To her house last Tuesday cam a young man with a lot of sheet iron rings called "collars," which look like circles clipped off a stove pipe, and a good knowledge of stoves. He explained how the woman of the house "gets more pressure than is needed, just because the gas company wants the money," He brought a wrench into play with the regulator back of the stove and "proved" how the same amount of heat could be had without the hissing sound and accompanying waste. Before departing he turned the regulator back to the position he found it in.

Smooth Talk Yields Profits

While his oily tongue was work he laid the "collars" on the burners, showing how the heat could be concentrated and waste avoided. Then he tole how all the stove companies are now consolidated and no longer must do the bidding of the gas company.

"Heretofore," he explained, "when the gas company dealt with individual firms these firms were in the grasp of the gas company, which prohibited the stove companies from inserting in the pipe a damper specially constructed to turn waste gas back into the oven. But now the Consolidated Stove company insisted on giving everybody a square deal."

He showed Mrs. Thomas a book containing orders from many of her neighbors for the gas saving device.

He leaves "collars" for each of the burners and collects $1 for the "damper that the experienced mechanic will install tomorrow." From a receipt book he tears a sheet showing that the person whose name is filled in has paid "One dollar deposit for collars to the Consolidated Stove company, 84 Washington street, room 14.

Canít Find Agentís Employers

The receipt, is from one of the common stock books that may be purchased in any stationary store. A lead pencil and a rubber stamp are used to give the name of the customer and of the firm. None of the customers has been able to find the concern anywhere in Chicago and the "solicitor" has not been seen in the Jackson park neighborhood since Tuesday.

"Immediately after the fellow departed I knew I had been swindled," declared Mrs. Thomas last night. "His scheme would no have worked had I not be indignant over the receipt of a big gas bill. When he showed how he was going to Ďsaveí me 30 percent on these bills his talk became interesting.

"Those collars do concentrate the heat, all right, but they are not worth more than 9 cents, at the most. But to give him $1 for the collar and have the damper trown in seemed to me a good investment and I decided to take a chance. I went to the room designated and found a lawyer and broker the sole occupants. From the way they talked, a couple of hundred others must have preceded me there seeking the Consolidated Stove company. Then I inquired among the elevator men and the manager of the building, and all seemed interesting in locating the young man. I was easy — thatís all.


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