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PAST CHAIRMEN OF THE 1834-1921 COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND THE ARTS
BACHE, ALEXANDER D., 1834-1836, KOENIG, G. A., 1888–1889 1839–1844
LEVY, Louis E., 1901-1902 BEARDSLEY, ARTHUR, 1892–1895 LEWIS, WILFRED, 1912-1913 BILGRAM, Hugo, 1906–1907
MARBURG, EDGAR, 1899–1900 BONINE, CHARLES E., 1916–1917 Marks, W. D., 1881-1882, 1887–1888 CHRISTIE, JAMES, 1897–1898
McCONNELL, JACOB Y., 1909-1910 ClAMER, G H., 1915-1916
ORR, HECTOR, 1880-1881 CONARD, THOMAS P., 1902–1903 PATTERSON, R M., 1836–1839 CREIGHTON, H. JERMAIN, 1918-1919 PENROSE, CHARLES, 1920–1921 CRESSON, J. C., 1844–1876
ROGERS, JAMES S., 1908-1909 CRISFIELD, J. A. P., 1913–1914
RONALDSON, CHARLES E., 1903-1904 ELDRIDGE, G. MORGAN, 1896–1897 RONDINELLA, L. F., 1898–1899 FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN, 1919–1920 SARTAIN, SAMUEL, 1895-1896 GOLDSMITH, EDWARD, 1905-1906 SELLERS, COLEMAN, 1875-1880 Griggs, WILLIAM O., 1907–1908 SPANGLER, H. W., 1890–1891 Haupt, LEWIS M., 1904-1905
SPENCER, Thomas, 1910-1911 HENDERSON, GEORGE R., 1914-1915
WETHERILL, William C., 1917-1918 HeYL, HENRY R., 1882–1887, 1893– WIEGAND, S. LLOYD, 1889-1890, 18911894, 1900–1901
1892 HOADLEY, GEORGE A., 1911-1912
THE INSTITUTE'S. ACTIVITIES
THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE was organized in the year 1824 to meet a demand in America for an Institution similar to that founded by Count Rumford in London in 1799. The founders intended it not only as an appropriate memorial to the name of Franklin, but as means of continuing for all time a work which throughout his long life he perhaps regarded as his best, namely, the discovery of physical and natural laws and their application to increase the well-being and comfort of mankind.
The Hall of the Institute is located on the east side of Seventh Street, between Market and Chestnut Streets, and was built from plans furnished by John Haviland, architect. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate Masonic and other ceremonies, on the eighth day of June, 1825, at noon. The funds for the purchase of the lot and the erection of the building were provided by the issue of a building loan, which was freely taken by members and friends of the enterprise, and has long since been repaid. The building was completed, and the Institute took possession of all except the second foor (which was occupied by the United States Courts until 1830) in 1826. Upon the first floor are located the lecture-room (capable of accommodating about 300), and laboratories and offices. The second floor is occupied by the library, to which special attention is paid elsewhere. The third floor is given up entirely to the use of the School of Mechanic Arts.
The plan of the founders contemplated "the formation of a library of books relating to science and the useful arts, and the opening of a readingroom;” and, accordingly, in 1827, the first Committee on Library was appointed.
The books forming the nucleus of the library were stored in the residence of a member of the committee until early in the year 1829, when the first reading room was opened. During the next year a special committee of twenty issued an appeal for books and contributions of money in aid of the library.
The founding of the JOURNAL, in 1826, by opening the way to the establishment of exchange relations with other societies and with the leading magazines and periodicals devoted to science and the useful arts, proved an invaluable help in promoting its growth, and thus, early, gave to the library the distinctive character which it has since maintained. From the nucleus formed by this useful agency has grown a reference library of scientific literature, in some branches unique, and, in extent and completeness, second to ñone in the United States, embracing the publications of the principal scientific and technical societies of the world, and the leading periodicals devoted to science and the arts.
Several of the foreign governments have deposited with the library complete sets of their patent office publications. There are on the shelves for reference files of the specifications of the patent office of Great Britain since the year 1617, of France since 1791, of Switzerland since 1888, of the United States since 1790. Abstracts of the patents granted by Germany, Russia, Canada, Australia, Hungary and Austria can also be consulted.
The library is annually enriched, also, by the gift of numerous technical publications of a miscellaneous character from foreign governments, and from States and municipal authorities and corporations. These embrace publications relating to public works; official reports relating to geology, the mining and metallurgical industries, agriculture, public health, municipal engineering; reports of railway and other transportation companies, manufacturing corporations, etc.
For many years it has been the policy of this committee to increase the value of the collection as a library of reference, and to this end it has devoted systematic effort to the task of completing the files of its important serial publications. In this work, the committee, with the substantial assistance of several liberal contributions of money from generous friends of the Institute, has been notably successful.
At the present time the collection consists of 74,668 volumes and 16,597 pamphlets.
To inventors and manufacturers seeking for information respecting the state of the arts and manufactures, the extensive collection of patent literature which the library places at their disposal is indispensable, and the library is constantly resorted to by attorneys and their clients for the purpose of consulting these volumes; while, to the professional man and the student, the scientific and technical serials in which the library is so rich are no less indispensable as an aid in pursuing their investigations.
THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND THE ARTS
A branch of the Institute's work, which, perhaps, more obviously than any other, illustrates the spirit which animated the founders, and which their successors have worthily perpetuated and striven to improve and extend, is that which is now conducted by the Committee on Science and the Arts.
One of the things that was, apparently, uppermost in the thoughts of the founders, was the need—as urgent then as to-day-felt by inventors and discoverers, of some competent, trustworthy and impartial body, to whom they could safely appeal for advice, and on whose judgment they could confidently rely for an opinion, as to the usefulness of their inventions and discoveries.
One of the first acts of the Board of Managers was to appoint a Board of Examiners, whose duty it was to examine and make report upon all new and useful machines, inventions and discoveries submitted to them. Subsequently the name of the Board of Examiners was changed to the mittee on Inventions."
.: This organization continued in existence until the year 1834, when, by act of the Institute, it was abolished, and in its place there was established the “ Committee on Science and the Arts," with enlarged powers and a wider field of labor. As originally constituted, membership in this committee was open to all members of the Institute in good standing who chose to enroll their names, and who by thus voluntarily associating themselves with the committee, pledged themselves to perform the duties assigned to them.
Under this form of organization the committee continued for more than fifty years, and its usefulness during this long period is attested by its records, containing the results of the examination of a great number of inventions, and of its investigations of many subjects of importance entrusted to it by the Institute.
In the year 1886, the Institute adopted an amendment to its by-laws, by which this committee was reorganized on an elective basis, thus abolishing the plan of voluntary association which had heretofore been a distinguishing feature. By this amendment the Institute established a Committee on Science and the Arts, to be composed of forty-five members of the Institute, to be chosen at the annual election (fifteen each year), and “who shall pledge themselves by their acceptance of membership to perform such duties as may devolve upon them, and to sustain by their labors the scientific character of the Institute."
Some years later the membership of the committee was increased from forty-five to sixty and by a provision recently adopted the members are elected by the Board of Managers, twenty each year.
During the past twenty-five years the committee has investigated over 900 discoveries, processes, and inventions.
The publication of a journal for the diffusion of knowledge on all subjects connected with science and the useful arts, was embraced in the plan of the founders, and was undertaken shortly after the organization had been effected. This publication has been continued without interruption to the present time, and has proved most useful, not only in directly promoting the aims and objects of the Institute, but also in extending the sphere of its influence beyond the limits of its local habitation.
The first step to secure a publication was taken by the Institute as early as 1825, when, by arrangement with C. S. Williams, publisher, a magazine bearing the title The American Mechanics' Magazine, and which had been founded by him in New York at the beginning of that year, was acquired by Dr. Thomas P. Jones, who had recently been elected professor of mechanics in The Franklin Institute. At the outset the responsibility of this venture appears to have been assumed by Dr. Jones, after he had received assurances of active co-operation and support from the members of the Institute, who were warmly interested in its success.
The prospectus of the new publication, which was issued August 1, 1825, announced the fact that "shortly will be published
MECHANICS IN THE INSTITUTE.” The object of The Franklin Journal, as defined in the prospectus, was, "to diffuse information on every subject connected with useful arts.”
In the prospectus of The Franklin Journal attention is called to the fact that it was intended to give a list of patented inventions, with remarks upon their utility and originality. This proposition was literally maintained and continued as a prominent feature of the JOURNAL to the close of 1859, save that the “Remarks,” which were in many cases of the greatest value to those interested in the progress of the arts and manufactures, were discontinued on the death of Dr. Jones. His accession to the position of Superintendent of the Patent Office naturally caused him to devote special attention to the preservation of the record of patents in the pages of the Journal. This circumstance has since proved, of, considerable value to all who have need to refer to the early patents of the United States, as will appear from the following explanation:
In the official Patent Office publications, issued by the Government prior to the year 1843, the publication of the claims was omitted; while, for a considerable period, the JOURNAL published an abstract of the specifications and the claims in full. The JOURNAL, consequently, is the only source at present available for reference to the specifications and claims of patents issued by the United States, from 1828 to 1842, inclusive. The JOURNAL can also be used, in place of the official publications, as a source of reference to the patents granted during the period 1826–1859 in which the patent lists were published therein.
The complete file of the JOURNAL embraces The Franklin Journal, 1826 1827, and the JOURNAL OF THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, 1828 to the present time, 190 volumes in all, with a General Index, 1826 to 1885, and three decennial volumes covering the years 1886 to 1915, inclusive.
In its present form, the JOURNAL is an octavo of over 150 pages. It is published monthly, the twelve impressions being divided into two volumes yearly-January to June and July to December, each separately paged, and supplied with title-page and index.
THE SCHOOL OF MECHANIC ARTS The first Board of Managers of the Institute provided for the establishment of a standing Committee on Instruction, charged with the duty of directing its educational work.