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THE PATENT OFFICE. 1. For the first time in years the office disposed of as many applications as were received, although the number of applications filed has not fallen off. During the years 1912 and 1913 there were filed 8,000 more applications per year than were disposed of.
2. The total number of applications awaiting action June 30, 1914, was 22,283. On June 30, 1915, there were 18,270, a decrease of 4,013.
3. The number of patents granted in 1914 was 38,225, and the number in 1915, 44,402, an increase of 6,177.
4. Caused a reduction in the number of interferences declared from 1,129 in 1914 to 916 in 1915—a decrease of 213.
THE BUREAU OF EDUCATION. 1. Inspected the work of 35 universities and colleges in North Carolina and Oregon at the request of the State superintendents of public instruction of those States; made a preliminary survey of higher institutions in the State of Washington; rendered decisions as to the eligibility of 402 universities, colleges, and schools for inclusion in the list of institutions to be accredited by the United States Military Academy.
2. Completed a digest of all the school laws of all the States.
3. Assisted committees of State legislatures in the preparation of proposed educational legislation; assisted in a survey of normal schools in Alabama.
4. Established a division of school and home gardening for the promotion of home gardening under the direction of the school. The plan advocated by the bureau has already been adopted by more than 100 superintendents.
5. Established a division of industrial education, with one specialist in industrial education and two specialists in home economics, for the promotion and investigation of various types of vocational education.
6. Completed the field work in the study of 575 schools for negroes.
7. Made studies of the provisions existing in various localities for the education of adult immigrants and assisted education officers in such localities in preparing plans for the elimination of illiteracy.
8. Prepared home reading courses for distribution to interested persons.
9. Prepared and put into operation a code of regulations for the self-government of the colony of natives at Metlakahtla, Alaska ; procured the setting aside of two additional tracts of land as reservations for the natives of Alaska, one of the Kobuk River and another on Cook Inlet in southwestern Alaska; established two additional herds of reindeer, one at Atka and another on Annette Island.
THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
1. Completed geologic and topographic surveys in United States, Alaska, and Hawaii aggregating nearly 112,000 square miles, an area larger than the State of Colorado. The items of increase over the work of the previous year include nearly 2,000 square miles more of detailed geologic mapping in the States and a net increase in Alaska of 5,000 square miles in the exploratory and reconnaissance topographic surveys as well as 1,400 square miles more of geologic surveys.
2. Continued the stream gaging at 1,350 stations in 41 States and Hawaii.
3. Classified about 23,000,000 acres of public lands, including action on 3,996 petitions for the designation of nonirrigable lands for entry under the enlarged homestead act. The area included in these designations is nearly 17,500,000 acres. The number of petitions from intending entrymen acted upon in the two last years, 9,395, is more than 5 times the number acted upon in the five years 1909–1913.
4. Furnished the General Land Office with reports containing specific information as to the mineral character or water resources of public lands on 10,150 cases other than the enlarged homestead petitions. This record of reports, which is a measure of the cooperation between the two bureaus, shows an increase of more than 1,000 cases over the number handled in a similar period three years ago.
5. Published reports—scientific, economic, and statistical—aggregating 23,574 pages, a notable increase over any preceding year. Of these and other Survey publications in stock 596,649 copies were distributed to the public. The plan of securing the assistance of postmasters in the sale of local topographic maps has been started this year.
6. Published a series of four guidebooks of the West, plainly written, in the effort to make the geologic descriptions of the country traversed readily understood by the average traveler. This is the begining of a definite movement to popularize the results of the scientific investigations of the Survey.
7. Issued for the first time a mid-year statement reviewing business conditions in the mining industry for the six-month period.
8. Prepared special bulletins to meet the demand for authoritative information concerning possible sources of mineral products hitherto imported; and conducted extensive correspondence bringing producers and consumers together. This special service to the public has been rendered with the definite purpose of helping to make America more independent industrially.
THE RECLAMATION SERVICE. 1. Added 110,000 acres to the area for which the service is prepared to supply irrigation water.
2. Irrigated over 750,000 acres, a larger area than that of cultivated or improved farm lands in Delaware and several times that in Rhode Island.
3. Furnished water to grow irrigated crops worth $16,500,000, equaling in value the annual crop production of New Hampshire.
4. Operated about 9,000 miles of canals, ditches, and drains.
5. Expended $15,000,000 in building reservoirs and other irrigation works.
6. Excavated 17,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock, the equivalent in volume of a shaft to the center of the earth over 5 feet in diameter.
7. Constructed 753 miles of canals; 284 miles of waste-water ditches and open drains; 60 miles of irrigation and drainage pipe lines; 7,597 canal structures, including 747 bridges; 1,079 culverts and 311 flumes; 51 miles of roads; 178 miles of telephone lines; lined 54 miles of irrigation canals with concrete.
8. Placed three-fourths of a million cubic yards of concrete, sufficient to build a sidewalk 6 feet wide and 3 inches thick over 2,500 miles long.
9. Added to the capacity of its storage reservoirs over 1,000,000 acre-feet, making a total of 6,500,000 acre-feet, a volume that would cover the States of New Jersey and Delaware to a depth of 12 inches.
10. Manufactured 580,000 barrels of sand cement.
11. Brought practically to completion four large and interesting dams, as follows:
The highest dam in the world—the Arrowrock Dam in Idaho.
The dam empounding the largest quantity of water of any artificial reservoir in the word, except Gatun Lake—the Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico.
The longest roller-crest dam in the United States—the Grand River Dam in Colorado.
The earthen dam with curved stepped spillways of concrete—the Lahontan Dam in Nevada.
12. Reorganized its field forces so as better to coordinate the work in widely scattered localities and improve the efficiency of the organization and economy in building and operating irrigation works. Established an executive office at Denver, Colo., centralizing the work of disbursing and purchasing for all reclamation projects.
THE BUREAU OF MINES. 1. Gave to the public a process, devised by one of the bureau's chemists, Dr. Walter F. Rittman, whereby refiners may obtain from crude oils 200 per cent more gasoline than was obtainable by old methods, increasing the prospective life of every oil field, adding a vast sum to the national wealth, and perhaps assuring to automobile and motor-boat owners and all others using gasoline a cheaper fuel.
2. Also gave to the public a second process, devised by Dr. Rittman, whereby benzol and toluol, the first used largely as a base for the manufacture of synthetic dyes and the latter in the manufacture of high explosives, can be made from petroleum-processes which it is hoped may make this country independent of foreign sources of the supply of materials so vitally important to its industries. Its ultimate success means the ability of the United States to manufacture all the high explosives it might need in peace or in times of national stress, and also the establishment of a dyestuffs industry in this country.
3. Devised methods for the production of radium from the carnotite ores of Colorado and Utah at an average cost of $36,500 a gram, two-thirds cheaper than the market price of $120,000 asked by foreign producers, the new, cheaper methods making it much more certain that medical institutions will be able to procure a sufficient quantity of radium for the treatment of cancer and other malignant growths. With an adequate supply of radium for therapeutic use, it is intimated that the progress in the future in curing cancer will rival that made in wiping out diseases that once were prevalent. Physicians who have been enabled to make cures by reason of obtaining a greater quantity of the radium through Bureau of Mines methods, say that radium in cancer will prove an inestimable boon to man.
4. Continued its educational work among the more than a million miners of the United States as to safety, rescue, and first-aid methods, and has been rewarded with lessening death and injury rates, preserving miners to their wives, their children, and their homes. There were 3,193 fatalities in the coal and metal mines and quarries during the year 1914, as against 3,651 in the previous year, a decrease in the number of deaths of 458. In 1914 the death rate in these mines and quarries for each 1,000 men employed was 3.16, as compared with 3.49 in the previous year.
5. Developed rescue work throughout the mines of the country until it has resulted in the rescue of 200 men from mines after explosions or other disasters.
6. Induced manufacturers, by calling attention to the possible dangers attending the use of electricity in mines, to devise safer types of apparatus, especially electrical switches and motors, that can be used in gaseous atmospheres without danger of causing explosions by sparks and flashes with the usual attendant loss of life.
7. Investigated the health conditions in certain of the metalmining districts where miners' consumption is prevalent to an almost
alarming degree, and where the death rate from this cause is sufficiently high to cause alarm, and has shown the operators and miners how, by the proper treatment of the rock dust, deaths from this cause may be almost totally stopped.
8. Informed operators and miners how the homes of miners can be made more comfortable and more sanitary, and has already witnessed its recommendations adopted by mining companies and construction concerns.
9. Informed the country how the mineral resources of the United States can be utilized to the greater benefit of the public and how the present losses and wastes in the mining and utilization of metals and minerals can be eliminated or minimized.
10. Has made a thorough scientific investigation of the causes of smoke from smelters, the damage done by such smoke, and has, as a result, brought about a better understanding between the mining companies and the farmers, and has suggested remedies which have led to an expenditure involving millions of dollars. This is a great step forward in a public nuisance which has already been costly to all parties in litigation.
11. Gave public better knowledge of the proper utilization of fuels, with the result that its work has served as a basis for improving equipment used to heat public buildings and for the development of improved types of power-plant furnaces and boilers, with a consequent saving in money spent for fuel.
12. Showed the country that the total annual loss to the petroleum industry through waste, a large part of which was preventable, amounted to $50,000,000, and as much as $10,000,000 in one State; cooperated with State officials and private organizations in efforts to bring about the enactment of laws that would lead to the adoption of less wasteful practices; investigated well-drilling methods and published and distributed descriptions of approved methods of drilling wells that encounter gas under high pressure and of extinguishing burning oil or gas wells; also devised and demonstrated a practical process for drilling through porous formations by which waste of gas in sands overlying oil sands can be stopped and the invasion and ruin of many gas and oil sands by water can be prevented.
THE NATIONAL PARKS. 1. Initiated additional hotel and camp facilities which enabled the national parks to successfully accommodate nearly two and one-half times as many visitors as in any previous year.
2. Executed long-term contract for development of Yosemite National Park on a profit-sharing basis with Government, concessioners to erect immediately two hotels, and thereafter, as rapidly as possible, camps and chalets in upper parts of the park.