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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
May 12, 1900

Explanation of the Low Offer of Standard Asphalt Company.

Reported to be in the Combination—Bid Made to Shut Out a New Competitor.

The clerks in the office of Commissioner Keating of the Department of Highways yesterday completed their computations of the bids opened on Thursday for the repaving of parts of eleven streets in the Borough of Manhattan and eight more in the Borough of Brooklyn.  These figures show that the Standard Asphalt Company, which offered to do the work at an average of $2.06 a square yard, was the successful competitor, and this concern will, according to Deputy Commissioner Shannon, probably receive the contract.  For the eleven parcels in Manhattan, the Standard Company bid about $127,000, while the next lowest bid, that of the Barber Asphalt Paving Company, made a total of about $156,000.

It was supposed, from the low figures submitted by the Standard Company, that this concern was not in the combination, and that it had entered the local field to defeat the aggregation of paving companies which has controlled the work done in this city for several years, and of which the Commissioners of Accounts have several times complained in elaborate reports rendered to Mayor Van Wyck.  On investigation, however, it appears that the Standard Company is one of the ramifications of the combination, and has hitherto confined its operations to the southern part of New England.  The Standard Company has no plant here, and if the contract is finally awarded to the company the work will be done by the Barber Asphalt Paving Company.

Among the bids received was one from the National Asphalt Company, which has recently been incorporated and which is, according to its officers, outside the combination.  It will, hereafter attempt to get the city's patronage.  Victor J. Allien, a dealer in Barbados asphalt, said yesterday that the trust had heard of the incorporation of the National company, and had determined to shut off its completion by buying in the Standard Company rather than by making large reductions in its own bids.

According to Mr. Allien, the companies which are in the combination to maintain prices are the New Trinidad Asphalt Company, the Barber Asphalt Paving Company, the Trinidad Asphalt Paving Company, the Trinidad Bituminous Asphalt Company, the Columbia Construction Company, the Warren-Scharf Asphalt Company, the Sicilian Asphalt Company, the Atlantic Alcatray Asphalt Company, the New York and Bermuda Company, and the Standard.  All these operate in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn there is another combination, equally effective in keeping prices up.

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