Page images
PDF
EPUB

( Witness: Wiley.)

Mr. SAMUEL. And they would examine another can for sugar or glucose?

Doctor WILEY. To see if sugar or glucose had been added; yes, sir. Mr. SAMUEL. And yet you could examine to find out whether glucose or sugar were added, could you not?

Doctor WILEY. We could do it without any trouble when we were examining for the other purpose.

The CHAIRMAN. At very little additional expense ?
Doctor WILEY. At very little expense.

The CHAIRMAN. So that an examination made for all purposes that would be utilized by the Government could be made by one chemist at very much less expense than a number of examinations of the same article by different chemists for different purposes?

Doctor WILEY. In so far as they cross in that way; yes. There would be cases where there would be a duplication, but I do not consider that a matter of so much importance as having a unity of purpose in the whole service, and having this principle of unity and the possibility of conference and advice.

Mr. SAMUEL. The dissemination of information among one another.

The CHAIRMAN. That increases the efficiency and the value of the service?

Doctor Wiley. It very much increases the efficiency and value of the service.

The CHAIRMAN. That is, every man gets the benefit of every other man's investigation ?

Doctor Wiley. Yes, sir. I would like to add to that, Mr. Chairman, that any idea looking to the separation of those laboratories from those various Departments I think would be an erroneous idea. They must be left where they are to do the work where they are; but they might do that work, as I will tell you after a while, if you want me to, as it is done in England.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that the laboratories that are under the Treasiiry Department here in Washington should be maintained in the same physical places where they now are?

Doctor WILEY. Well, they might be here in Washington. They might all be collected into one laboratory building.

The CHAIRMAN. Precisely; but the other laboratories that are now distributed ?

Doctor Wiley. They must necessarily stay there. It is a necessity.

The CHAIRMAN. That suggestion would not apply to laboratories in Washington?

Doctor WILEY. Not at all. The laboratories here might very profitably all be put together in one grand building, where they could have every facility at the most economical rates.

The CHAIRMAN: Would not that reduce the space occupied ?

Doctor WILEY. It would not reduce it very much, because we fill up the space we occupy now as fully as it can be filled, I think. I do not think it would reduce the space. It would not reduce the personnel. It would reduce certain expenses in connection with supplies and supervision.

The CHAIRMAN. You would not be able to state the percentage of reduction?

(Witness: Wiley.)

Doctor Wiley. No; I would not. I could not do that without going into the matter very much more carefully, because I am frank to say that I have never looked at it in the sense of saving money, but in the sense of efficiency and harmony. Those are the things I have had mostly in my mind.

The CHAIRMAN. Your point of view would be directed toward increasing the value of the results?

Doctor WILEY. The value of the results; that is my sole object.

The CHAIRMAX. There would be two points involved, as far as you were concerned: First, increasing the value of the results, and, second, the money expended for getting the results?

Doctor Wiley. I should think that if you could increase the efficiency of the results without increasing the expense it would be highly desirable. If you could increase the efliciency of the results and at the same time reduce the expense it would be more than desirable. But if you should have to spend more money to get better results, if you could get them that way, it would be advisable to do that.

The CHAIRMAN. If you have covered this ground sufficiently, so far as the coordination of these laboratories is concerned, unless you have something further to say on that point, I wish you would give us a statement as to how the chemical bureaus are conducted in the bestmanaged systems abroad.

Doctor WILEY. I have given a good deal of attention to that matter, Mr. Chairman, for a number of years, but especially to the English system, because the English have the best system of all.

All the chemical work of the English Government is directed from one laboratory. It is called the Government laboratory---a very appropriate name for it. It is built right near the law courts in Landon, right off from the Strand. It is a large building, built especially for laboratory purposes, and represents the best thought of architecture and science combined at the time of its construction, which was about six years ago. The Government laboratory was formerly in Somerset House, and they are still referred to as the Somerset House chemists, although the force has been transferred to this Government laboratory:

The Government laboratory has charge and direction of all chemical work connected with the English Government, in the excise, the internal revenue, the collection of duties in the work of the board of agriture, and in all other things where chemistry touches governmental affairs. It has this central laboratory in London, and it is presided over by a very eminent chemist, Dr. T. E. Thorp, and an able corps of assistants. In the central Government laboratory are done all things necessary to devise and prepare the best methods of examination in a laboratory--the most certain and expeditious methods. It is more of a research laboratory in that respect than anything else. But then men go from this laboratory, or men who are attached to it, to the parts of England and Scotland and Ireland where their work is needed, wherever they may go. They have them at the ports of entry, just as we have.' England, you know, now lays a duty on imported sugar, and they have the same kind of sugar laboratories at their ports that we have; and so with other things. Their principal work is, however, in the excise, in the collection of duties on

(Witness: Wiley.)

tobacco and beer and spirits. There are more Government chemists employed in England in that than in any other line. All the methods of work are devised and tried in this central laboratory. All the sublaboratories are under the immediate direction of Doctor Thorp; so that he has his finger, you might say, on the whole machinery of the chemical service of Great Britain.

The CILARMAN. Do they have sublaboratories in London?

Doctor Wiley. Yes, sir; they do, in the customs service, where they examine those things directly from the ships, in order to expedite matters and not detain the imports any longer than is necessary. They have sublaboratories in all the principal cities and ports.

The CHAIRMAN. But with the exception of the customs service, there are no sublaboratories in London?

Doctor Wiley. There are no others in London except in the customs service.

The CHAIRMAX. They are all combined under one head.

Doctor Wiley. But in the interior cities and in the other ports they have laboratories for the excise, and for the control of those things, and the collection of duties. Of course, practically all the work is done for some governmental purpose; but the English Government has established this central laboratory where the research can be accomplished, for the purpose of doing this work in the best way; and therefore they have put all the chemical work under a common supervision, it makes no difference what department of the Government it is done for. I think the English service in many respects is superior to ours. They are no better; they are no better chemists, and no more enthusiastic, but there is more unity.

The CHARMAN. You say it is superior. Does it produce larger results per man?

Doctor Wiley. It produces larger results per: man and more uniform results,

The CHAIRMAN. That is, they get more units of work with the expenditure of a certain amount of energy?

Doctor Wiley. Yes, sir; they do, undoubtedly.

The CHAIRMAN. And that, in your judgment, is the result of the centralization of the work?

Doctor Wiley. I think it is, undoubtedly. It is the result, of course, too, of having a very competent man at the head of the system. That you understand, I assume; it has to be done.

The ChairmAN. Oh, yes. Could you express that in percentages!

Doctor Wiley. No; I do not believe I could bring it down to percentages; but I can see the benefit of it by my study of that matter and by my experience in my own Bureau.

The CHAIRMAX. That is to say, your familiarity with that subject is such that, having observed vour own Burean, and knowing what your own Bureau is able to do, and the results it has succeeded in turning out, when you go there and examine that system and see what they are able to accomplish, you find that they get more units of results from the expenditure of the same energy there than you do here?

Doctor WILEY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Although our men are equally skillful and equally efficient.

(Witness: Wiley.)

Doctor WILEY. And you avoid inequalities, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, you get uniformity of results.

Doctor Wiley. It so happens I am not criticising the Treasury but it is well known, and it so happens that a rule that is enforced in one port is often different in another, because the port laboratories of the Treasury have no connection with each other at all. They are all independent, and a chemist in one port may have one way of examining and a chemist at another port may examine in an entirely different way, and they may classify the same thing under two different heads. That has happened more than once.

The CHAIRMAN. That is to say, there is no scientific standard ?

Doctor WILEY. There is no general direction. That has been largely remedied at the present time; but when I first worked for the Treasury Department I know by experience that the polarizations of sugars at one port, for instance, would be uniformly higher or uniformly lower that at another. The importers were not slow to find that out; and when they would find a port that was polarizing low they would send all of their importations that they could through that port, and they would change around, as the case might be. That has all been remedied since this investigation took place that I spoke of, but that was only an example of what was happening from the lack of a uniform direction.

I think I can plead for a uniform direction of this work without making any imputation upon any employee of the Government service, which I do not. I know nearly all of them, and they are honest, straightforward, capable men. But, just like other men working independently, there are marked differences of lines of research and of results obtained which lead to inequalities and lead to a lack of efficiency which might be remedied, not by moving the laboratories or by changing them in any way, but by puiting them under a general direction.

The CHAIRMAX. Your idea is that these men accomplish all that is practicable under existing conditions?

Doctor Wiley. I think they do. I think they deserve great credit and praise.

The CHAIRMAN. And the only way to improve the conditions is to coordinate the service, and get this uniformity of action and direction and control?

Doctor WILEY. I think that is a very good expression of my idea, just as you put it, in your words. I would not go so far, Mr. Chairman, as to advocate a radical step at once. I might urge that it might be made uniform, you know, in each Department first, and then gradually unify the Departments together, so as to make them all into a harmonious whole.

There is another point that I want to speak of, because I am getting to be an old man now in the profession-one of the fathers in Israel”-and these young men are coming on. I know them nearly all, the old men and the young men, too; and there are a great many of them in this country. You will be surprised to know how many there are in the chemical profession in this country. There are fully 10,000 professional chemists in the United States that make their living by the pursuit of chemical science. We have 3,300 men belonging to our national society, the largest in the world except in

(Witness: Wiley.)

Germany. So that you may know that we are a body of men of considerable numbers; and the thing that we lack in this country is unity.

Take my own experience in agricultural chemistry: Twenty-four years ago, to be sure, there were not many agricultural chemists in ihis country; but there were a number of them. Every single man was working on his own line. He had his own methods of work. He did as well as he could with those methods; but he had not the least notion how his brother was making the same examination. If he examined a fertilizer, for example, by his method, and another chemist, equally as skillful, examined the same fertilizer by his method, they might reach very different results, and yet both be perfectly honest.

About that time we organized what we called the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists. That association was organized in Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1884, by about eight or ten men, for the purpose of bringing about unity of action among the agricultural chemists of this country. We now have in that organization every chemist in this country connected with any official work of any kind in agriculture. They meet once a year. They have their committees. They study methods of investigation. They send out samples among each other for comparative analysis. They meet together and discuss the results, and then they adopt uniform standards of methods of analysis, and those standards are to-day recognized in every court in this country as being superior to any others that are in use. If two chemists come into court, as they have done repeatedly, and one testifies that he has examined his sample according to the method of the Oflicial Agricultural Chemists, and the other says: “I have examinel it according to my own method." and they get different results, in every case the court says: “ Well, we will take the concensus method of the people who ought to know most about it, and who say that is the right method.” Every civilized country has followed in our steps we were the first--and have organized just that kind of bodies among the agricultural chemists.

That shows you what unity of action will do, and how much efficiency will be secured. I do not argue for any unity of action in this way which will segregate the work from the different Departments and make it less eflicient for those Departments. My only desire is that they shall follow a common purpose, and work in a common way and under a common direction for the purpose of curing greater efliciency for the energy expended.

The CHAIRMAX. Did you find a condition in Germany similar to that in Great Britain?' Germany is supposed to be a very highly educated country, especially scientifically.

Doctor WILEY. Among the agricultural chemists the condition is as good as it is in this country or among the Government chemists in Great Britain. They have the same organization now that I have spoken of, and they work altogether in harmony. Among the health chemists-that is, food chemists-in which I am chiefly interested. they have the imperial board of health, which is the guide for the whole Empire. That is at Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin; and it has a better-fitted and much more expensive laboratory than the Government laboratory of England. But it only controls those

ܬ

se.

« PreviousContinue »