Chinese 'Fixing' of Laundry and Restaurant Prices?

Cropped section of Canal St. in New Orleans in 1935 by Walker Evans.   

I was intrigued by the Chinese laundry sign in this photograph by the great Walker Evans. I never knew that Chinese laundries engaged in price fixing as implied by the assertion on the neon sign that this particular laundry was "Not in the Trust."

Doing some research, I found that in Atlanta as far back as 1906, a laundry trust had been established so that prices could be maintained at a higher level than if no trust existed.

Headline, Macon Telegraph, Aug. 7, 1906

Trusts created to regulate prices were not limited to laundries, as it was also practiced by Chinese restaurants, although it is not known how widely or for how long they existed.  But, at least in Prescott, Arizona, chop suey house owners formed a trust to keep prices high as reported on Dec. 27, 1906 in the Tucson Daily Citizen in an article that proclaimed: "The Yellow Peril" Hits Prescott Hard. Chinese Restaurant Keepers in Northern City Form A Trust And Boost Prices."


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