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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 23, 1924, Image 79

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Wires Cut and Windows Fastened
When Crop Reports Are Prepared
Scenes Like Tli o&e of Track Meet Later Enacted
OXCG a month a group of men
assembles behind locked
doors in an ancient, red
’oriel; building in h'otithwest
■Washington, and these men Lull the ,
strings that sometimes send com
modity prices into convulsions. Upon
their say-go. grain and provision '
prices in commodity exchanges all
over the country on that day decline!
or advance. A single word last fall
s._ut cotton prices skyrocketing HOP ■
P< snts, the limit of advance allowed!
on any traxling day by the cotton
This band of Washington men prob- '
ably has as much control over prices !
as any hypothetical group of Wall j
street stock manipulators. One might
think, therefore, that the individuals
making up the gn up would soon be
come modern Croesuses. They arc |
poor as proverbial church mice. In- 1
deed, the sudden possession of wealth !
would cast suspicion on their in
tegrity and disqualify them from act- ■
jng or the board they compose. *
A United States marshal on guard
outside 'he bolted dooi prevents any i
ono from entering or leaving the j
room. The telephones inside arc dis- j
connected Ircm outside communica- j
lion. liven the windows are glazed!
and locked. Once in the distant past!
a member of the group was suspect- |
•d of signaling to some one on the ;
street by raising a window shade— 1
window shades are now taboo.
In an anteroom newspaper men !
and representatives of stock ex
changes and board." of trade all over '
the country waif, tense, at telegraph I
and telephone instruments. Present- '
ly there appears upon the threshold I
an officer who places sheets of paper |
lace down at the instruments. The. j
operators then toe a cbalkline some!
distance from the wires and the of-j
J cer, watch in hand, like a starter in I
a race, calls out. “Tteudv; fjet set’ '
At the word -Go.- the runners race }
to their instruments quickly scan 1
the report and fla-sh to the world the!
findings of the group in the inner
This scene has been enacted almost
monthly for more than fifty vears
The leads are played by members of
the crop reporting board of the United
states Department of Agriculture,
supported by over 200,000 farmers,
merchants, bankers and tradesmen in
all parts of the* country, the combined
volume of whose voices as to the size
of growing crops controls the imme
diate prices of America's food and
• lothing products.
* « « * i'
'■J-’HE first appropriation authorized j
by Congress for the collection of I
agricultural statistics was made in I
ISoD, when SI,OOO was set apart for j
this purpose and for the collection '
and distribution of seeds under tiic |
commissioner of patents. This ap- j
propriation marked the beginning of
ihe present Department of Agricul- i
turc. 1
From 1839 to 1863 the work was
bandied by a small force in the pat- J
ent office, but in the latter year it was
i rajisferred to the Department of Ag- j
riculture, in accordance with the act j
passed May 15. 1862, establishing the
department, "the general design and
duties of which shall be to acquire
and to diffuse among the people of
the United States information on sub
jects connected with agriculture, in
the most general and comprehensive
sense of the word.”
From an allotment of a few thou
sand dollars each year, at first, the
crop reporting service has been
evolved, perfected and enlarged into
tho present crop reporting board, car
rying an annual appropriation of sev
eral hundred thousand dollars, and
which annually issues monthly fore
casts. estimates and reports on sev- j
enty-four different crops and six t
lasses of live stock. The estimates |
ii ro based upon reports of farmers and j
others in every county and township 1
in the United States and upon the re- I
ports of trained field agents in each j
Beginning with planting, data are !
gathered and reports made as to the }
condition and acreage of each of the
principal agricultural products. As j
the crops progress the prospects are J
reflected in monthly condition reports
upon each growing crop. At harvest I
lime the yields per aero are ascer- |
tained. A system of checks and bal- j
ances is employed to prevent possible j
error through inaccuracies or per
sonal bias. More recently mechanical
devices for measuring crop acreages
have been designed, more completely
to* minimize the chance of human
Airplane photography is perhaps
the most novel of the methods re
cently employed by the board to se
: cure greater accuracy in its crop es
timator. Flying at heights of 2.500
•to 7.500 feet, airmen literally pho-
I. tograph the fields of crop at the rate
Ji f a nii!< a minute. The photographs
j are seven by nine inches each and
J cover an area of approximately one
j equate mile. Knowing the height at
i whi. h the photographs are taken, the
, foc-al length of tho camera and the
; size of the picture, a simple mathe
j rnatkal process converts the areas in
I the photographs into actual areas.
Tho fields planted to the various
! crops are readily distinguishable in
! the pictures, and with the use of a
1 pianimeler, an instrument that meas
■ ures irregular areas in photographs.
tho fields are quickly measured.
J Thus it is now possible in a few
j hours to obtain aetual measurements
I of fields that formerly took days to
| estimate on tho ground.
Government < rop reporters who
mad© the airplane experiments last
fall say that it is also possible satis
factorily to observe from great
heights the condition of tile grow
ing plants, with the result that your
crop estimator of tomorrow, instead
of going the way of his faithful but
slow Henry, will embark in a sky
flivver every morning, fly over a
couple of hundred miles of crops and
return in time for lunch the same
ANOTHER unique method to be
employed by the crop reporters
this year is the linear measurement,
of fields with the use of a so-called
crop roadmeter attached to the
speedometer gearing of an automo
bile. This device is a combination of’
nine speedometers in one, each meter
representing a specific crop. At the
beginning of a wheat field the oper
ator pushes in the wheat button and
there is automatically registered the
■number of linear feet in the field
along tho road.
Then comes a field of hay. The
hay button is pushed in and the wheat
button is automatically disengaged.
At th© end of the run the meter
fer each crop gives the total meas
urement of all the fields of that crop
and the combined total in turn is
checked against the total shown on
a meter that registers the entire dis
tance run. |
Records over the same run year
after year give the percentage of
change in the planting of the various!
crops, which percentage is applied to,
an entire county.
A brief description of how the cot- ;
ton reports are compiled and released
will serve to illustrate the methods
used with regard 'to all crops. More
than 84,000 cotton growers, ginners,
buyers and bankers in all parts of
the cotton belt make up the cotton
reporting organization. Approxi
mately 60.000 of the total number of
reporters are farmers, more than 50
per cent of whom have served in the
organization from ten to thirty years.
The reporters are divided into nine
different groups. f;\e of which report i
j to the Secretary of Agriculture di- j
1 red. These include individual reports [
! from HO.oOtt cot tort glnners, each re- 1
i porting for Ids locality; 13,000 indi- i
I vidual farm reporters, each reporting !
the acreage and yield for his own
farm; 5.000 special cotton reporters,
made up of bankers and cotton fae
tors, each reporting for his -locality; 1
i T.Oeo township reporters, each re- I
i porting for a township, and 700 |
. county r< porters, each of whom main- !
tains his mvn correspondents and re
ports for a county,
j In each state there is a state statis-
Itieian. ty bo reports for an entire j
state, based upon informal ion re- |
i ceived from three different groups of i
I people. These.groups for the belt as !
a whole include 25.000 individual >
i farmers, each reporting the acreage !
and yiild for his own farm; 5.000 1
special cotton reporters, including
j bankers and cotton factors, each of i
■whom reports for his locality, and;
j 10.000 field aid reporters, who report
1 for a township or smaller area. The
i state- statisticians also make per
i sona! field observations and investi
’ gations.
j r THE a< reage for the current year!
) is arrived at first by determining j
. ( from ginning reports and other data
( the acreage in cultivation on June
2a (he preceding year. Estimate is
1 then made of th© percentage of in
: creave or decrease in th© current
■ acreage in cultivation as of June 25,
j compared with the acreage in culti-
I vation on the same date the preced
• ing year.
Th© latest and most promising
■ method of estimating this change is
! what is known as th© “field count”
’ method, which consists of counting
j the number of fields in each kind of
crop each year along enough identical
j routes considered to be typical of
j an entire state, and from these counts
| determine the change or shift in
J acreage that has occurred.
, Method Xo. 2; which is used as’ a
I check against the “field count” sys
; tern, is to obtain from the crop ro
j porters and statisticians reports of
! actual acreage planted to cotton and
j other crops on individual farms for
both the current tuid preceding years.
..This inquiry is made twice a year
j A third check consists of reports
I' on the number of acres planted to
each crop out of every 100 acres in
: all crops. A fourth check is a re
port from correspondents as to how
; the acres in cotton in their respec
j tive localities compare with acres in
! cotton the preceding year.
Other checks* are records of fer
tilizer sales, acreage, planted per
plow and studies of th© influence of
weather, prices and other factors
upon acreage which throw light on
the causes of increased or decreased
Tho monthly ‘ crop' condition esti
mates and forecasts are based upon
reports from correspondents as to
the existing condition of the crop ex
pressed as a percentage of what
might be exacted should the crop
| .start out under favorable growing
; conditions and not thereafter be sub
| jetted to unfavorable weather. Inspect
' pests or other injurious agencies.
, ! tstit It an ideal < r«>p would be regarded
us Uni i-ent. This condition figure
is then reduced to a j ieid-per-acre (
ligure. which, at plied to the acreage j
in cultivation, gives a forecast of!
product irrtn 1
Tiie crop reports eotning into Wash- I
| Ington from the various groups of re
porters are immediately plac-d un
opened in a safe in the «.f ip,.
Secretary of Agriculture, tni crop
reporting day the crop reporting board,
with its staff of clerks, mimeograph
| operators and statisticians, is locked
i up in a room guarded by a United
States marshal. All telephones with
-1 in the room arc disconnected, thus
literally cutting off the board from
the outside world.
The reports are then passed tin- i
i opened into the boardroom and the j
work of tabulating and checking is !
■ begun. In all tabulating work a j
I system has been developed that the
clerks -working on the sports deal
1 only wyh figures and do not know
j to what part of the bolt the individual
| reports relate.
i** * * }
' THE entire system of making up 1
j the reports is such that no one,
even inside the boardroom, knows !
the final figure until a few minutes
before the report is to be released. I
A group of cotton growers, cotton ex- j
change representatives, buyers, ex- j
porters and other trade interests re
cently invited by Secretary Wallace to
investigate the crop-reporting meth
ods, declared that there was no like
lihood of a; so-called “leak" of the
reports prior to the time set for their
Records of the crop reporting board
for the past eight years show that
in twenty-four cotton reports issued
in September, October and December
during that period, the crop has been
overestimate ten times as compared
with the final ginnings report issued
the following March of each year, and
underestimated thirteen times. On
one occasion the report came.within
30,000 bales of the ginnings report, j
In sixteen July arid August reports
during the eight years the crop was
overestimated twelve times and un
derestimated four times.
The crop reports are now usei not |
only by farmers to guide them in
their marketing operations, but by
large manufacturing firms, agricul
tural implement and hardware com
panies to enable them (o distribute
their wares economically, sending
larger supplies to sections where
crops are good and farmers will have
money with which to buy, and de
creasing shipments to sections where
crops are short and farmers will have
less to spend.
Bankers use the reports in extend
ing loans to business organizations
and Individuals, inasmuch as a con
siderable portion of bank deposits,
directly or Indirectly, is invested iu
agricultural mortgages and other
agricultural paper.
Cameras and Electric Apparatus
1 May Aid Judges in Olympic Games
No Used for Ho rse Races in Belgium and France
PARIS, March 11, 19"4. j
OLYMPIC games next summer
are on the point of being |
given an unprecedented and 1
infallible arbiter, free from I
all errors of human vis-ion or impres
An extra-human judge will sit be- (
side the judges to relieve and to |
guarantee them against human weak- {
ness and doubt. Accepted or not as j
official judge by the nations, there {
will be a witness whose last word it !
will he hard to gainsay in all the '
numerous events which carry a col- •
leetive finish or arrival, such as all ’
foot races, rowing regattas, swim- I
ming, riding, cycling, etc.
In a word, in Paris at this moment j
they are applying to such collective ;
finishes the well known Simt-Bran- j
gcr auto-electric-photographic ap- 1
paratus, currently used to judge \
I horse races in Belgium and Prance. |
| By this apparatus Olympic winners j
I will automatically photograph and j
time themselves without their Unowl- i
j edge at the very instant of the. fin- j
Ilsh, to the 100th of a second, and j
leave a permanent picture of their J
winning even by a nose;
As in horse racing, the camera will j
be infallible arbiter. Will the nations j
accept it? Will it wound the self- I
esteem of judges by the very fact i
that frees them from all doubt and •
The judge of a horse lacs (other
wise) must rely on his vision. He
must decide the results from a me- .
mentary impression on 'he retina of
the eye. ‘lie has a very difficult task j
by impression and memory and is [
j apt to make mistakes, although for]
the sake of order his decision is final j
*** * :
|JN Belgium, back in 1010. they al- i
i *■ ready considered this a primitive (
' method. That y»ar the Belgian rue- i
| ing societies adopted an autopholo- j
graphic system invented by M. Sips, j
This system, improved and extended j
by M. Branger. press photographer of {
Paris, has been in operation at Mai - i
sons-Ijafitte. on the race track there. |
just outside the capital, since last j
September, and .it Ixmgchampa since I
the beginning of the present year. I
it will soon be in use, no doubt, on
ill French race courses.
M. Sips began by stretching across j
the track, at the height Os about,
four feet (corresponding to a horse’s |
I breast) a cotton thread of the color t
j >r grass, capable of supporting „ai
! progressive tension of nine kilograms, ■
but breaking at the least shock.
Twisted around a small wheel. 1
placed on one side of the track, the
thread ends, on the other side, in an !
•leciric contaet formed of two flex- i
ible plates separated by loss than j
i millimeter. The moment it is .
touched by the breast of a horse it j
suffers (before breaking! an excess ;
>f tension, causing contact and pro- ■
ducing an electric current, which, j
hrough the medium of an electric j
magnet, releases the shutter of a j
photographic apparatus.
The thread is placed at four feet!
ten inches in front of the finishing(
! :ir.e (this, at least, is the distance!
| idopted. after many experiments, at :
j Maisons-I-aflt te. but is. of course, [
being exactly- restudied for the va
rious Olympic courses, which are
not horse races). In this way the;
photograph registers the exact mo- *
ment when the horse's nose appears \
In line with the winning post.
M. Branger has added many nota- ;
hie improvements to this method. (
To assure clear photographs on a wide ;
track he places two photographic 1
posts, at a height of twenty-three to !
twenty-six feet, one on top of the j
judge's box, the other on the oppo- j
site s:tte, at the winning post.
#* * *
CACH photographic post contains a J
‘- 1 group of three convergent cam- •
eras, so disposed that a thread ■
stretched vertically a little in front !
if the focal center of the glass screen j
(an.!, consequently, of the sensitive :
plate) is in line with the judge's view
• and the winning post. These two
I lines, therefore, define precisely, on
; the plate, the positions of the two
groups of cameras, which mutually
control one another.
One of the cameras in each group I
j W;^
is worked by hand—as shall be indi
cated presently. The two other cam
eras, which are released automatic
ally, are independent, and the two
lenses of each pair have a different
focus. One gives absolute clearness
from about five and a half to thirty
two yards and partial clearness for
some distance beyond: the other, in
versely*, gives partial clearness be
tween five and a half and thirty-two
yards and /absolute clearness beyond
that distances <
The track generally measures from
forty-three to • sixty-five yards^ln
“————— — ““
iwidth. Therefore at whatever dis-
I tance across it from the Judge a
! horse arrives it will be clearly pho- i
j tographed by one of the cameras,
j The four shutters are simullane- j
j ously released by the electric cur- ;
! rent and operate at one eight thou- 1
1 sandths of a second. Four photo
.graphs are thus taken of the »in
i n >ng horse—which itself operates the
j cameras, and is shown from each side
'of the track at two slightly different
jangles. 1
j The position of the horse whose!
j noee first cuts the arrival line is, :
i therefore, registered, and comparison
of the four photographs seems to ren- '
dor impossible any false conclusion,
either as to the winner or the placed I
; horses.
j The third camera, situated above
• each automatic group, is independ-j
I ent. It is released by hand, simul- j
| taneously with the apparatus on the
> other side, by an operator on top the
j judge’s box. This camera, is intended!
• to photograph a group of horses con- i
taining one or more placed animals i
i when this group is separated from
) the winning group by a certain dis- ;
| tance. It offers less guarantee of ac- 1
| c aracy than the automatic cameras, ;
j but seems, nevertheless, to be more
| reliable than the mere human vision j
j of the judge.
• COH horse races <he system works
! currently and to complete satis- I
(faction on French and Belgian tracks.-
j If has become the usual and accepted !
i thing wherever installed, and is par- ■
■ ticuiarly favored by the public, both
popular and sporting.
' Two minutes after the breaking of :
■the thread the four photographs of j
■ the automatic cameras are developed: f
iand a few’ minutes later those of!
‘the hand camera* can be seen, if |
'used. Finally, after six minutes, on- i
largf merits of the positives are avail
able. The judge is thus provided with I
■ all means of decision, without any I
. possibility of error. |
In Belgium, particularly, where the l
; apparatus has been so long an ac- !
! cepted adjunct of the race track, the !
j few minutes' delay causes no sur- •
; prise, questions or murmurs. On the •
• contrary, when the result of a race j
• seems doubtful, a notice painted In j
j big letters is shot up immediately, j
j bearing the word: ''Photograph;''—j
■ and the public awaits with salisfac- j
! tion the decision to be announced I
■after the photographs have been ex-i
amined. Later on they are exposed j
for all to see for themselves.
This routine is now current at |
Maisons-Lafltte, just outside Paris, i
j How will the apparatus be received j
| by the Olympians of the various na- 1
I tions? *
Its adoption lessens a little the i
judge's prestige. On the other hand,
it has the advantage of preventing
English horse-racing societies are
on the point of taking up the system
for its practical advantages, of which,
at the present, there remains no doubt
in the minds of racing people.
On the other hand, its smooth work
ing. assured only after considerable
study and experiment with the speed
of horses, requires particular adjust
ment for foot races, rowing regattas,
cyclist contests, etc.
The stretching of the contact
thread across the track four feet ten
j inches in front, of the finishing lino.
| for example (found to be the exact
| distance for horse races!, was tliscov-
i ere-d to require replacement in the j
first fool race trial auto-photographed '
by the Sporting Club at the Pre-Catalan
track in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. {
«' * * « |
/"\K course, the stretching of the i
j thread for a rowing regatta rc
! quires yet another line of particular
precautions. while swimmers. to
breast it. just above the water but not
, floating on it. subject to the prema- ,
i fare tension of a current, will need to !
find it nicely sustained, indeed. All
this study is now in successful course |
! and will be an old story by next sum- j
j mer.
! M. Branger also lias added an elec- j
■ trio timing attachment to the auto- j
photographic system for Olympic
J events in which time records a-e of
' prime interest.
it is a giant dial, four feet in diam- '
• etcr. whose large hand goes round it
; in exactly one by means of
I electrical impulses from u high-class
; chronometer.
1 An electric magnet, commanded by
: a current from the mechanism of the ;
starting gate, sets up the movement
| of the large hand in the fraction of
the second they are off. It continues
turning round the giant dial while ;
■ they run. with the invariable move
ment of electrical things, one turn per
! second, until the fraction of a second. !
1 when another electro magnet stops it
j brusquely operated by the same
; electric contact system of the thread
■ stretched before the finishing line,
i which releases the photographic shut -
( ters
i The brea--t of the winning runner
• (apses the tension of this thread,
which works the circuits, before the
■ thread breaks. Tiie electric clock
I stops and ■h- auto-photographs are
j snapped al the identical one-one-hun
; dredthg of a second, by the same elec-
I trical impulse—and the giant dial, be- {
i ing well in focus of the cameras, its j
(exact time is taken in the picture of;
the winner winning.
| ' ** * * !
j doubt, objections will be raised, •
at the Olympic games, to con-j
■ stiluting any auto-photographic ap- i
j paratus the supreme judge of such j
1 great events.
i It will, doubtless, be claimed by ob- j
! jeetors that the simple fact that foot j
| race trials at the Pre-Catalan this 1
| week reveal in certain negatives i
| the winner already past the black I
I vertical line in the photograph which i
marks the judge’s box and winning !
' post is evidence that such a thing j
1 ;
i might happen in Olympic events, i
That such trials were exactly for •
the .purpose of exact adjustments to
obviate such happening will cut no
ice with the objectors.
For such reasons, doubtless, the
human judges will remain in full
functions and honors at the Olympic j
games—as they remain, in fact, at
French and Belgian rcae meetings. I
At slightest doubt of a close finish |
a cry starts up:
Then, perhaps, a painted sign with j
, the word "Photographwill be run
up. us on the llctgian horse ra«
trucks, and perhaps the mighty pub
lie of tho Olympic will, never-,
theles*. wait patiently for a fe c
I minuter, that the plates may bo -
I veloped anti the judges take a squint
■ at them.
! Because whatever you see in an an
i to photograph, it's therr
Ozone by Machinery.
' Q/!(JXB purifies tin air by "burniii:-,
tip" all animal refus'd, vast--
, products and l.acteiia which lloat in
• the air in large quantities in all
! crowded places. It destroys all odors
J and is valuable for the sterilization
I and deodorization of the air in far
| Tories, shops, hospitals, apartment
j houses, studios, public school rooms-.
| theater • department stores, chur h s
and wherever a large number of per*
’ sons, congregate.
Where strong odor- prevail, as in
rag-soiling c stablisiim. i is. fertji);’. ■
factories, gelatin and cue works, or
in any other manufacturing places
where* dttiles hair. fats. bone, horn
and other animal by-products ate
used, ozone lias a reei gt.izcd con -
j menial value. Kor man} years ti,
(fumes arising from burning gas and
molten type metal im per fled the lives
:of linotype operators. The app’ica
-1 lion of ozone oxidizts ami breaks
| down these poisonous gases,
i In the ozonator, as the device
called, a/i t lectrical discharge is
caused to past! between electrified
cylindrical surfaces between which
i air is drawn by means of a fan.
When the intensity of the electrical
charge on the surface of the plates
reaches a lertain value the electric
ity wiil discharge into the air in tiny
streams and the energy thus impart -
| td changes the oxygen of the air inp.
; another form known as Nozone.
Kadi ozonator embodies a step-up
, transformer which raises the supply
J voltage sufficiently to bring about
j the discharge. The transformer is
| located in the base of the device and
j above it is the ozonizer proper, which
consists of a bank of ozone general
i ing units, each unit consisting of
j cylindrical glass tube, outside ,
j which is a metallic coating.
j Inside of the glass tube is a metal
j electrode. This electrode is bui.t up
|of shallow, perforated metal cups
mounted <>n a spindle, a small air
gap existing between the cups and
! the bore of tho tube. One high
•voltage led from the transformer is
j connected to the outer coating of the
| glass lube and the other to the Inner
! electrodes*.
J The charge of the outer coating of
j the glass is induced on the inside of
j the tubes and a violent electrical
1 discharge takes place between the
i inside of the tubes and the inner
| electrodes. This discharge across the
j small air chamber changes some of
the oxygen of the air into ozone.
J’ho capacity of these machines can
be readily increased by adding t..
the number of tubes.
Scientists say that ozone is a
colorless gas with the odor of chlo
rine when present in email quanti
ties and smelling of phosphorus in
strong concentrations. U is one of
the modifications of oxygen, with a
chemical formula of 0-3. formed by
tho absorption of energy, and in the
presence of oxidizable organic sub
stances it readily decomposes into
ozygen, while the third atom forms
a more stable compound with the
substance attacked.
The Cola Nut.
| WITHIN the past forty year- the
| T tonic properties of the cola nut
growing in western Africa, have 1., -
j come widely known and the dried
j nuts have been much used. liut ;i
! question has always been left und. -
I elded concerning the source of fit.
, tonic. It has generally been ascribed
’ to the in the nut, but not ions;
I ago there was discovered a substance
i called colatine, which seems to be
| the really characteristic element iti
tho nut and the source of its tonic
power. This is destroyed by drying
although the caffein remains un
affected. Accordingly the physiolog
ical effects of dried cola are different
; from those of the fresh nut. The ne
jgroes understand the difference, how
, ever, and always use the fresh nuts,
j which, as many explorers have no-
I ticed, possess a wonderful power ot
I eliminating the effects of fatigue.
• The cola nuts grow in clusters of
j five on a stem and each nut contain:.
about eight seeds.

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