The Federal Trade Commission in recent years has seldom struck out. Of 4,942 complaints issued since 1933, it made all but 126 stick without court action, won all but five of its court cases for a net batting average of .999. But last fortnight the FTC was caught way off base, sent red-faced to the showers.

Five years ago the FTC cracked down on the Kidder Oil Co. of La Crosse, Wis., manufacturers of a graphite lubricant called Koatsal. According to the FTC charges (at once broadcast from its busy mimeograph machines) Koatsal did none of the things President Joseph...

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