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to carry in this bill, a provision for investigations incident to the establishment of units and standards of refrigeration, etc. Will that be a permanent appropriation, or is that only a temporary appropriation? Mr. STRATTON. Mr. Johnson, your committee has given us in the past several lump sums of this kind to tide over the first part of a particular piece of work, the bulk of it. If that appropriation can run, as I stated in the hearing before the sundry civil committee, say for three years, then it can be transferred and carried in the regular appropriation; I mean the part that should be continued and made regular. We are trying out that plan at the bureau. We know you favor placing the bureau on a statutory basis as to salaries, but in some cases there is ilot sufficient flexibility in that plan, especially where there is a certain kind of work that is needed quickly, needs special experts, and more equipment and assistance than can be provided from regular funds. The plan worked well in the weights and measures investigation, and splendidly in the gas photometry investigation, and also in the electrolysis investigation.
EFFECT of ELECTRIC CURRENTs UPoN GAS AND WATER PIPEs, ETC.
Mr. JoHNsoN. Did you complete the work mentioned in the next item with the appropriation we made you for investigation of the effect of electric currents upon gas and water pipes, etc.? Mr. STRATTON. Yes, sir. I say “ completed "; of course, there are certain phases of that work that should be continued and which we will carry on with our regular force, but the bulk of that work, the investigations which were necessary for getting the information to prevent losses of that kind, will be completed this year. Mr. Johnson. Some gentlemen on the floor questioned the language we used in the bill last year, and spoke very doubtingly of the ability of the bureau to complete that work with this appropriation. Mr. STRATTON. It depends upon the point of view. Work of that kind can go on indefinitely, and you could expend ten times the amount and expend it profitably; but we engaged to do a certain thing and we have done it. We will continue a certain part of that work in the regular way. Now, the statement you refer to is entirely consistent with my statement; but I think that in the earlier hearings it was stated we wanted this amount for a definite time to carry on that investigation. Some of our people are very much disappointed that it was cut off, because it is really important work, and there is really important work to be done, but it has enabled us to undertake the greater part of it, and out of the regular forces and regular equipment we will carry on that which should be continued.
Mr. Johnson. In reference to the next item, for the continuation of the investigation of the structural material, we gave you $75,000 last year, and you are now asking for $125,000. Why such a large increase?
Mr. STRATTON. That item covered not only the investigation but the testing of structural materials. The work of testing of structural materials used by the Government has grown to such an extent
that practically all of the present appropriation is now used for that purpose. This testing is exceedingly important work, and we have felt that the Government's needs should stand first; nevertheless the bureau is not doing what it ought to do in the way of investigating. We ought to be able to undertake more investigations in regard to the nature of these materials, in order that we may secure information that will enable us to use them better. Take, for example, the Engineers' Handbooks. They are full of data which has been handed down to us from times past. Much of it is out of date and incomplete. New conditions have arisen, new materials have come into use, and it would be well if the bureau could have that entire sum for investigation in connection with the clay-product industries alone. The demand for this data is growing at a very great rate; manufacturers and industrial concerns are demanding an entirely diperent class of information than they had heretofore; they want correct and authoritative scientific data, and it is exceedingly important that they should have it. The bureau is making every possible effort to meet the increased demands made upon it by the Government service alone; and I sincerely hope that that can be allowed, in order that we may make more investigations. It will enable us to get at least some of the material which is badly needed in connection with structural materials, both by the Government and public engineers.
Mr. Johnson. In the next item, for the maintenance and operation of testing machines, there is no change. You have been allowed $30,000 for the past three years.
Mr. STRATTON. Yes, sir; that is for the operation of our large testing machine, the testing and investigations of the class of materials handled by it.
TESTING OF RAILROAD AND ELEVATOR SCALES.
[See also p. 304. ]
Mr. Johnson. That completes the items heretofore carried in the bill. All the others are entirely new. We will now take up the new items. The first is for an investigation and testing of railroad, elevator, and other scales.
Mr. STRATTON. The test car, as it is called, is nothing more than a large standard weight. There are at present no facilities for testing the test cars and weighing scales throughout the country. Some of the States are providing test cars for this purpose. Minnesota has three or four, Oregon and Washington jointly have just completed cne, and other States contemplate doing so. The test car is a standard weight, which must be taken to a definite standard and compared exactly as any other weight. It will be used also for testing car scales in those communities where no other provision is made.
Mr. JOHNSON. You want one at the Bureau of Standards for the purpose of giving the people in Minnesota, Oregon, and other States that have such laws a standard to test their cars?
Mr. STRATTON. Yes, sir; it is as necessary as a pound weight; and, furthermore, the Interstate Commerce Commission is interested in these questions and are establishing regulations regarding interstate commerce; it is just as necessary in interstate work done by the Government.
The estimate of $25,000 for the investigation and testing of railroad, elevator, and other scales used in weighing commodities for interstate shipment, and for the purchase of a standard test-car equipment and a standard scales of sufficient capacity, concerns a matter the Government should take up immediately. A number of railroads have already efficient inspection departments, and others are establishing them. They must have access to a suitable standard weight which is in the form of a car and involves also the use of a standard scale.
When it is considered that approximately $2,200,000,000 are derived from freight, practically all of which is weighed upon some form of railroad scales, it is of the greatest importance that the scales be correct. At the present time there are endless controversies between the railroads and shippers due to the lack of confidence on the part of both as to the correctness of weights, and it is believed these controversies will in a large measure be obviated if the correctness of the scales is assured. Several States have already provided equipment of this sort and others contemplate doing so. It is but a matter of a few years when it will be a part of every State equipment, and these must necessarily be all referred to a common standard. Furthermore, if the Government establishes and maintains an equipment of this sort it will serve as an example to the States.
Certain industries, such as the grain industry, maintain their own weighmasters and scales in the more important grain markets, but the average shipper is without the means to check his weights and is compelled to pay charges determined by weighing on scales over which he nor the Government has any supervision. Most of the commodities are shipped from one State to another, and even if the States should establish inspection services to cover railroad scales a number of questions would arise that could only be settled by the Federal Government.. Another important reason for such an equipment as that proposed is that it would enable the bureau to cooperate with the State authorities and to standardize their apparatus for them.
FIRE-RESISTING PROPERTIES OF BUILDING MATERIALS.
Mr. JOHNSON. The next item calls for $25,000 for the investigation of fire-resisting properties of building materials.
Mr. STRATTON. There is a very great demand upon us for the properties of the building materials with reference to their fireresisting properties. There is a decided movement over the country toward bettering building codes and toward a better use of these materials. It is unnecessary for me to give statistics in regard to the amount of fire losses; they are well known. Many organized bodies are taking up this work and making investigations. There is a certain phase of that work that should be done by the Government-the determination of the melting points, the expansion and contraction of materials, the way they behave under temperatures, and certain fundamental data which public service commissions, city councils, and others having to do with such regulations should have access to.
The problem of reducing the loss by fire is receiving the constant attention of thoughtful men and ought to be in the mind of everybody. Authoritative and reliable information regarding the fire
resisting properties of building materials is badly needed. Considerable work is being done elsewhere, but certain parts of it can only be done at an institution like the bureau, properly equipped for making investigations as to heat conductivities, melting points, expansion and contraction, and other properties of these materials. Tests and investigations should be made with a view to the classification of building materials and methods of using them. Above all, the bureau should collect and disseminate the fundamental data needed in the enactment of proper building codes with a view to preventing fire losses and the encouragement of fireproof construction. The loss of life and property due to fire is appalling. It is not claimed that this appropriation if granted will immediately prevent these losses, but that with it much can be done toward supplying the fundamental data necessary, besides assisting and stimulating a movement throughout the country which can not fail to correct at least a large part of the evil.
Mr. JoHNsoN. The next item asks for $10,000 for the investigation of methods and instruments employed in radio communication. That is a very live subject since the Titantic disaster.
Mr. STRATTON. It is an exceedingly live subject. Congress has required more efficient rodio-telegraph service on shipboard, and that law is administered by the Bureau of Navigation of our department. The bureau must come to us for its equipment, standards, and methods employed. The War Department and the Navy Department are both carrying on work in connection with radio communication, and they come to us for assistance. The bureau has at present one man engaged in that work, and he was taken from some other work. The bureau should be the center for at least the standardization and fundamental data of this work. I am sure the other departments feel and I know our own Bureau of Navigation feels the need of this very much, indeed.
The new laws enacted by Congress at its last session require more efficient radiotelegraph service on shipboard, licenses for all land stations, both commercial and amateur, and restricts the wave lengths which may be used in the mercantile service and also by amateur stations; it has greatly increased the requirements as to Government inspection, both as to the qualifications of the inspectors and the variety of instruments required in their work. It is imperative that the Bureau of Standards shall increase the equipment and personnel of its “wireless " laboratory so that it may be able to render more efficient assistance to the Bureau of Navigation of the Department of Commerce and Labor and other branches of the Government in matters concerned with radiotelegraphic work, as well as to be better prepared to test instruments for manufacturers and the public. Many questions have arisen in the administration of these laws which require the resources of a thoroughly equipped laboratory to decide whether the law is being violated. This is an art in which scientific instruments and methods are of importance, both in development and construction work and in the operation and testing of the instru
ments. Several new scientific men and engineers are urgently needed in addition to new laboratory equipment. The new electrical laboratory will provide the space needed, but additional funds are required for the equipment and personnel.
At present we have only one man (salary, $1,800) giving his time to the radiotelegraphic work, and he was secured by sacrificing a much-needed position from other work for a wireless engineer. The Bureau of Navigation is crowding us for information and assistance, and if we can not give it promptly they will be forced to do the seientific work for themselves. It would be well if a part of the $10,000 asked for were made available immediately in order that this important work could be taken up upon completion of the new electrical laboratory.
TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRIC CURRENTS.
Mr. Johnson. The next item is to investigate the dangers to life and property due to the transmission of electric currents at high potentials.
Mr. STRATTON. The time was, and not very long ago, when one or two wires over a city did not make much difference, but since the advent of long-distance transmission, which uses very high potentials, cities must adopt and are adopting regulations regarding the distribution of these high potentials, the arrangement of the wires, and so on. These cities must have standard authoritative data regarding this matter or otherwise they are at the mercy of the manufacturers and distributors of this current. It is a serious proposition. There is a considerable loss of life each year due to careless or imperfect installation. The same people and the same apparatus would also investigate the best means of preventing loss due to lightning. It is the same problem, in a way. 'I can not recall ever having seen any reliable, accurate information published regarding protection against lightning. The two things are in the same category and should be handled together. I sincerely wish that the bureau might issue some good, standard information, not only regarding the distribution of currents in our cities, but to educate the public regarding protection against lightning. The loss of life and property due to each cause is very great.
Mr. Johnson. The next item is a small one of $3,500 for the purchase, preparation, analysis, and distribution of standard materials to be used in checking analytical methods and calibrating physical apparatus, including personal services in the District of Columbia and in the field.
Mr. STRATTON. In the metal industries, especially, standard samples are required-samples, the composition of which is accurately known. They will run it through with the day's analyses and it is a check upon their methods and analyses. There is a very great demand for the samples. We charge for them, and the greater part of this sum will be returned to the Treasury. That work is practically selfsupporting
EQUIPMENT OF ELECTRICAL LABORATORY.
Mr. Johnson. The next item is for the purchase of storage batteries, transformers, switchboards, and other necessary equipment for the new electrical laboratory, $25,000.