Taking a few examples first of regularity of dividends, we have such records as that of the American Express Company, which paid regular dividends every year from 1882 to 1901 of 6%; from 1901 to 1906 of 8%; from 1906 to 1912 of 12%. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company, during the ten years 1902 to 1912, paid 10% regular dividends plus a 5% extra dividend each year, making 15% annually. The Perra Salt Manufacturing Company has paid 12% annually since 1863.

The dividend record of the John B. Stetson Company, which follows, is an excellent example of stability combined with liberal distribution of large profits accumulated during the earlier years of the company's existence. It will be noted that after 1893 dividends were decreasing slightly, but this is to be explained by reason of the great depression from 1893 to 1896 which could not reasonably have been foreseen:

John B. Stetson Co. (Hats) Common Dividend Record

1892

6%

1896

4%

1893

6%

1897

5%

1894

4%

1898

8%

1895

4%

1899

12%

1900

15%

1908

25%

and

25%

extra

1901

17%

1909

25%

1902

17%

1910

25%

,,

25%

,,

1903

20%

I911

25%

1904

20%

1912

25%

,,

25%

,,

1905

20%

and

5%

extra

1913

25%

1906

20%

,,

5%

,,

I914

25%

1907

20%

,,

5%

,,

1915

25%

The Merchants and Miners Transportation Company has been paying dividends at the rate of 20% since 1856.

The dividend record on the common stock of the Proctor and Gamble Company, manufacturers of soap, has been as follows:

1891

8%

I892-I897

12%

per

annum

I898-I900

20%

per

annum

1901-1913

12%

per

annum

1913-1915

16%

per

annum

plus a 4% common stock dividend

The apparent decrease in dividends, beginning in 1901, was due purely to the fact that in December, 1900, the outstanding issue of common stock was doubled by a 100% stock dividend. In reality, therefore, the new dividend of 12% was equivalent to a dividend of 24% on the former issue. In addition to the regular dividend, the company paid an extra dividend of 14.2% in January, 1904, and another extra dividend of 25% in December, 1905.

The Eastman Kodak Company has paid regular 10% dividends since 1902, but with extra dividends in most years, running from as low as 9 1/2% to as high as 30%. These extra dividends are so high that they overshadow the regular dividends, and, if any criticism of so successful an enterprise is permissible, it may be based on the desirability of attaining a greater degree of regularity in the extra as well as in the so-called "regular" disbursements.

On the other hand, concerns engaged in fluctuating lines of business, frequently decline to restrict themselves to the payment of a fixed dividend rate. The dividends of the Amalgamated Copper Company from 1899 to 1912, ranged from 1 1/2% to 7 1/2 %, and of the Anaconda Copper Company from as low as 3% in 1913 to 26% in 1907. There is less excuse in the case of the American Thread Company, the business of which is relatively stable; nevertheless from 1902 to 1912, dividends varied from as low as 4% to as high as 16%. The Bourne Mills between 1897 and 1912 paid dividends which fluctuated from as low as 3% to as high as 49 1/2 %.

Following is the record of the Porto Rican American Tobacco Company, which is even more remarkable for the extent and rapidity of its fluctuations:

1904

8

%

1905

31 1/2

%

1906

84

%

1907

10 1/2

%

1908

5

%

1909

9

%

1910

14

%

1911

16

%

1912

16

%

plus 20 % (scrip)

1913

20

%

(scrip)

1914

20

%

(scrip)

1915

8

%

plus 5% (scrip)

The Atlantic Refining Company, like various companies of the oil and other extractive industries, prefers to allow its dividends to fluctuate with its profits. Before the disintegration of the Standard Oil Company it was customary for the directors to make up their minds at the end of each quarter what rate of dividend for the quarter should be declared. In this case the fact that the company, although of enormous extent, was comparatively closely held, was no doubt another reason for following the practice.

From companies engaged in extractive industries come the most remarkable records of enormous profits, and it is perhaps natural that the desirability of stability in their dividend disbursements should not appeal to them as of great importance. The Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, which has outstanding about $2,500,000 of capital stock with a par value of $25, of which only $12 per share is paid up, has paid out total dividends from 1871 to 1913 amounting to over $121,-000,000. One of the largest dividend-payers was the Koloniale Bergbau Gesellschaft (Colonial Mining Company), a German concern, which operated diamond mines in German Southwest Africa. Its capital is only about $25,000. Its dividend record before the war was:

1910 ................

2,400%

1911 ..............

2,500%

1912 ................

3,800%

1913 .............

2,500%

Total for four years...........

11,200%

That many manufacturing companies have not yet reached the ideal condition above described of paying regular rates of dividend which are never changed except to be increased, is shown by the record for the 18 months - January 1, 1913 to July 1, 1914 - of industrial corporations the stock of which is listed on American stock exchanges. Forty-three of these companies passed their dividends; sixteen others reduced their dividends. This took place in a period of depression, to be sure, but not in a period of sudden or overwhelming crisis.

The great advantage of prudent management in the maintenance of a low but regular rate of dividends is shown in the record during recent years of two great railroad companies. In 1913 the earnings of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company fell to the lowest figures except one in fifteen years, and in 1914 there was a further sharp decline. Nevertheless, even at this level the company's regular 6% dividends were not for a moment endangered. In 1914 and 1915 the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company passed through a tremendous crisis brought on by the European War. It had been the practice of this company to pay a regular dividend of 7% out of operating earnings and an additional dividend of 3% derived from the company's holdings of securities in subsidiary enterprises. Although during the year of crisis, the 7% was not fully earned, income from other sources was sufficient to enable the company to go ahead with its regular 10% rate.