International Organizations in Which the United States Participates

By Laurence F. Schmeckebier | Go to book overview

INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

The first international scientific organization to be established through concurrent action of several governments was the International Bureau of Weights and Measures created by the convention concluded at Paris on May 20, 1875. ( 20 Stat. L. 709).

While the metric system had been in use, no international arrangement had been made for a uniform standard throughout the world. Apparently the first definite move in this direction was taken in 1867 by three different organizations:--by an informal committee of delegates to the Paris Exposition, by the international geodetic conference at Berlin, and by the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.1 Accordingly in 1869 the French government requested other states to designate delegates to an international commission on the meter. This Commission met in 1870.2 The United States delegates were Joseph Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and J. E. Hilgard, superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.3

This Commission met again in 1872, and one of the resolutions adopted recommended the establishment of an international bureau of weights and measures at Paris, and outlined its functions.4 Before adjourning it ap-

____________________
1
C. E. Guillaume, La Création du Bureau international des poids et mesures et son ceuvre, p. 5. The invitation of the French government is given in G. Bigourdan, Le Système métrique des poids et mesures, p. 272.
2
Lists of the publications of the entire Commission and of the French section are given in Le Système métrique des poids et mesures, pp. 421-23.
3
The same, p. 276; C. E. Guillaume, La Convention du mètre et le Bureau international des poids et mesures (Extrait du Bulletin de la Société d'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, Vol. 101) p. 13).
4
Bigourdan, Le Système métrique des poids et mesures, p. 312.

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