« PreviousContinue »
things which relate to the public health, like foods and medicines. In that respect they are equally efficient with England. I do not know just how far the other chemical service of the German Government goes, nor how it is provided. I only know that which relates to the public health, and that is uniform throughout.
The same is true of France. The municipal laboratory of Paris practically is the food laboratory for the French Republic, and what it does is the guide for the other laboratories in other parts of the country, although it does not have any direct influence over them.
In Italy all of the Government work relating to the customs is under one central laboratory in Rome, and everything that is done for the customs in the collection of excise or imports is done under the direction of that laboratory. So you see it is more or less the principle adopted in the principal countries of Europe.
The CHARMAN. Here in Washington, I suppose, the laboratories connected with the War and Navy Departments, or the chemists connected with them, would hardly be said to be operating laboratories, as one man does all the work?
Doctor WILEY. They are very small.
The CHAIRMAN. They are very small; and that would be a negligible factor?
Doctor WILEY. It would be; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The Departments which have laboratories which should be reckoned with in connection with this matter of coordination principally are the Treasury, with the Supervising Architects Office, the Internal Revenue Bureau, the Assayer of the Mint, and the Marine-Hospital Service; and then the Department of Commerce and Labor, with the Bureau of Standards, and the Interior Department, with the Geological Survey?
Doctor WILEY. Yes, sir; those are the big laboratories. Those are far more extensively manned than the others I have mentioned.
The CHAIRMAN. In the case of the War and Navy Departments, that simply means the employment of one chemist for a particular purpose for them?
Doctor WILEY. Yes, sir.
The CHARMAN. Have these laboratories been conducted for years under the Treasury Department?
Doctor Wiley. Yes, sir; they are old-established laboratories; very old.
The CHAIRMAN. They never were connected with the Bureau of Chemistry, over which you have had charge for the last two or three years?
Doctor WILEY. They never have been; no, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So that the Bureau of Standards was the only one that was taken from your Bureau?
Doctor Wiley. That was not taken from my Bureau. That was established by special act of Congress; but they took a part of the work that we were doing.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes; they took a part of the work you were doing and put it into the Bureau of Standards?
Doctor WILEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What work do they do in addition to the work you were doing?
Doctor Wiley. I do not know that they have done anything in addition. I am not very well posted on what they are doing.
The CHAIRMAN. So far as you know, they took the same work that you were doing?
Doctor WILEY. Exactly, so far as I know; on the control of the polarizations of sugar.
The CHAIRMAN. And put it into the Bureau of Standards?
Doctor WILEY. So far as I know. I do not think they did any more than that.
The CHAIRMAN. You, and practically one man additional, were doing that work?
Doctor WILEY. One man, at $50 a month, and myself were doing that work.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think of any other suggestions in relation to that general question, Doctor?
Doctor WILEY. I think I have expressed all I can say on that point.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the work that is being done by your Bureau of such a character as to keep regularly and continuously employed your personnel in Washington and elsewhere?
Doctor Wiley. Yes, sir; it is. I do not believe, Mr. Chairman, that you will find any more industrious people in the Government service than you will find in ours. I suppose everybody says that, but I have reason to know that that is a fact, because I am there myself, early and late.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, you have no employee, clerks, or agents that could practically be dispensed with and still do the work that devolves upon your Bureau?
Doctor WILEY. We would have to diminish the work to that extent if we dispensed with any one person, I do believe. We have no drones. I do not mean to say at all that the wheels of the world would stop if that work was abolished.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, no; I understand that.
Doctor Wiley. I do not want to put it in that way, but I think it is useful work.
The CHAIRMAN. And whether it is or not, it devolved upon you by Congress?
Doctor WILEY. By act of Congress, yes; and I am trying to do it as Congress points out.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you be kind enough to give us now, Doctor, some typical instances of the work that is done by your Bureau, with special reference to its commercial and material utility and value to the public at large?
Doctor WILEY. I will do that as briefly as I can, Mr. Chairman.
I am one of those that believe in the application of science to the arts and industries. I believe also in science for science's sake--that is, pure research. I think that the chemist in the service of the Government should not only find out hidden things, but should make them useful to the arts and industries of the particular branch of investigation in which he is engaged-in my case, agriculture. And therefore, while I try to keep up research, because that is the very
life of science, advance in knowledge, I try to utilize the fruits of that research for the benefit of agriculture; and I want to tell you how I endeavor to carry out the will of Congress in the interests of agriculture.
First, let me speak of a very important feature of our work that is provided for by law, and that is the collaboration of my Bureau with the other bureaus of the Department. That is provided for by special act of Congress—that there are certain of the bureaus that shall have their work done in the Bureau of Chemistry, while others Congress provides shall do their own chemical work. "I am not discussing the propriety of that provision at all, but stating the facts of the case. Right here I may state that the collaborative work in the study of effect of environment upon the quality of sweet corn saves annually about $250,000, while the collaboration with the Treasury Department in the control of sugar polarization has resulted in an annual saving of an equal amount.
As I told you this morning, there are many lines of research in which we must cooperate with the Bureau of Plant Industry. That is the Bureau that has the growth and care of plants in charge; and Congress provides in so many words that this collaboration shall take place. The Chief of that Bureau and myself have gotten together and have made a memorandum of how that collaboration shall be conducted; and I think that is the ideal way of conducting these things in a great Department like the Department of Agriculture. For instance, the Chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry, if he wants chemical work done, instead of starting a special laboratory which he might not want more than six months, and then the work would be finished, comes down to me and says: “ I want certain chemical investigation done in connection with this thing;” and I say: "Well, I am ready.” And we will arrange for the proper man to do that. If I want to make some chemical investigation where work that comes within the scope of the Bureau of Plant Industry is necessary, I go to him and say: “ I want you to grow me some crops, take charge of them, etc., for the study of this particular chemical question." He says: “All right; I will do it.”
I will give you an illustration here of what we were doing in that line last year, so as to illustrate what I say.
At the time the Bureau of Chemistry was organized from the Division of Chemistry six years ago the experimental work in beet sugar was practically finished; nothing was left except certain researches. But the question with me was, after I had found out that there were certain areas in this country that produced richer beets than others, to find out why. So Congress gave authority to me in the appropriation act to study the environment of these regions, to see what factor of the environment was the active one in producing more sugar.
I did not want to start a weather bureau of my own for that purpose, because we had a pretty good one already established. So I asked Congress to put in * to collaborate with the Weather Bureau; and that stands there now, for we are still collaborating with the Weather Bureau.
I went to Mr. Moore, and I said: “I want all the data relating to rainfall and temperature at certain points during the present year specifically prepared for my use, because I am going to study the
effects of these things on the chemical composition of the crops grown there.” So he furnished me, without any expense at all to me (or to him, for that matter), all this material; and I got the benefit of it without spending a dollar of anybody's money except that which had been appropriated already. At the end of the year I have a complete transcript of all the data relating to the hours of sunshine and the hours of cloudiness, the number of rainfalls, the amount of rainfall, the distribution of it, the temperature variations, and everything I wanted to use; and in that way we made an investigation for five years of what it was that caused certain areas to produce more sugar in the sugar beet and what were the predominant factors. That was a chemical proposition, because we had to make careful chemical examinations all the time to follow out these things.
For five years we worked with the Weather Bureau, and we completed an investigation. That investigation, to my mind, was perfectly conclusive. We found out what the factors were in the environment that produced this increase of sugar; and we never could have done that except by collaboration, unless I had established a complete weather bureau of my own, or Mr. Moore had established a complete laboratory of his own. But by working together we did it much more effectively, and much more economically, and much more quickly. We found that the two factors which produced these results were length of hours of sunshine and the evenness of temperature, avoiding extremes of heat especially.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, a minimum low temperature?
Doctor WILEY. A minimum low temperature, and as long hours of sunshine as you could get. Therefore the farther north you go, and get longer days in the summer, other things being equal, you get richer beets; and the more even the temperature, and the more nearly at 70°, you get richer beets. That is of immense practical value, because it tells people where to go and what to look for in this matter. The soil did not affect the percentage of sugar; it affects the magnitude of the crop. A poor soil would produce a beet high in sugar up North, with a small crop; and a poor soil down South will produce the same amount of beets very low in sugar. A rich soil up North will produce 15 or 20 tons of beets high in sugar, and a rich soil in the South will produce 15 or 20 tons of beets low in sugar; and we traced those things in that way.
The next thing was one that interests your State, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. It was almost entirely a climatic proposition !
Doctor Wiley. It was a climatic proposition. It was differences of weather that produced those chemical results.
The next point we wanted to investigate, and one that we are investigating now, was this: It is the general idea that Maine sweet corn (Indian corn) is sweeter and better than that of any other part of the country. So last year, with the Bureau of Plant Industry, who did work for us in securing crops, and so on, we organized a study of what was the cause of this variation in sweet corn. So we had little fields, small areas, grown in Florida, in South Carolina, in Maryland, in Connecticut, and in Maine, all the same corn, grown as far as possible in the same way and under the same conditions, except the variation in moisture; and these we have a complete record of, and our Bureau did the chemical work. We have one season's
data (1905) already finished, and this season's data almost completed, and we are going to get at the fact, after a while, as to why it is that some areas produce better sweet corn than others; and our farmers will be able to utilize that fact practically.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the result up to date?
Doctor WILEY. The result up to date is not just as we might have inferred from the other : That where you get more sunshine and lower temperatures, other things being equal, you get the sweeter corn, because those are conditions that produce sugar. But there are important variations, due probably to latitude and temperature, which can be determined.
The CHAIRMAN. The same factors that affect the beet-sugar proposition obviously ought to produce the same result in connection with the sweet-corn proposition?
Doctor WILEY. That is what led me into that investigation. I thought if it was true in one case it might be true in the other. But it is not so prominently true, because we can grow a very sweet corn in Florida, but not quite so palatable as we can in Maine. There are other factors in operation.
But the most important practical point we brought out, Mr. Chairman, was the rapidity with which the sugar in an ear of sweet corn, soft corn, ready for consumption, will diminish after you separate it from the stalk unless precautions are taken to keep it sweet. We found that in twenty-four hours the sugar content of an ear of corn pulled and exposed to an ordinary September or August temperature would fall rapidly. The life of the corn is still going on, and the corn, no longer being able to supply its sugar from the stalk, is converting its own sugar into starch. That shows that you must immediately put your freshly pulled corn in cold storage to check that and get it to the market just as soon as possible. That is one of the most practical points that was incidentally developed in this examination.
The CHAIRMAN. It ought to go immediately from the field to the factory?
Doctor Wiley. From the field to the factory just as quickly as you can get it. That explains why a man says, “ Well, when I go out in the morning before breakfast in my garden and pull my corn and cook it, it is so much better than what I get in the market.” It is better, and that is the reason it is better.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not a question of sentiment-it is a fact?
Doctor Wiley. It is not a question of sentiment—it is an actual fact.
The CHAIRMAN. And the nearer he can pull it to the time he puts it into the pot to boil, the better his corn is, I suppose !
Doctor WILEY. We also collaborate with the Bureau of Animal Industry in a great many of their investigations. For instance, Congress provides that all of the chemical analyses in connection with the execution of the law relating to renovated butter shall be done in the Bureau of Chemistry, and we do in our bureau practically all the work for the dairy division of the Bureau of Animal Industry. They collect the samples. We have nothing to do with that, and in my opinion it is much more economically done and better done than if they were to go and hire their own chemists and try to do it themselves, because we have the skill, we have the apparatus, we have to