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Digital Exhibits

Bureau of Standards

Secretary of Commerce, Undersecretary of Everything Else 

Herbert Hoover as Department of Commerce Secretary, 1921-1928 

A woman operates equipment at the Bureau of Standards. During Hoover's tenure, the bureau became one of the world's largest scientific laboratories.

Bureau of Standards

The original function of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Standards was to ensure consistency in measurement standards.  Hoover transformed it into one of the largest and most advanced scientific laboratories in the world.  Its researchers studied everything from ceramics to optics and electricity.[i]

“The Bureau sees to it that a yard is a yard and that a pound is a pound… It conducts hundreds of thousands of tests covering a wide variety of materials and devices, all the way from clinical thermometers and radium to cement and full-sized structural beams and columns."

~Herbert Hoover, The Department of Commerce


[i] Hawley, 24; Burner, 161-162; Hoover, Memoirs, Volume 2, 5-6, 73.