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About this collection

The first real effort to provide accurate, if nonlegal, standards of weights and measures was made by Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler (1770-1843), a Swiss engineer and metrologist who emigrated to this country at the age of 35. Upon the establishment of the Coast Survey in the Treasury Department, Hassler became its first superintendent, holding that office from 1807 to 1818. In 1832, he was reappointed superintendent of the Coast Survey. In 1836, the Office of Weights and Measures was established in the U.S. Coast Survey. The Office of Weights and Measures became the National Bureau of Standards in 1901. Hassler continued as superintendent of the Coast Survey until his death in November 1843 at the age of 73. [From: Measures for Progress by R.C. Cochrane, p. 24, 27]. This photographic collection contains images of Hassler’s instruments, a monument dedicated to his life and work, and portraits of Hassler and his family.

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