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Weird and Wonderful Government Publications: Wonderful

There are some odd and interesting materials published by various government agencies. This is a place to share those strange and the stunning materials.


Image of a cube with information about the metric system.

The Metric System in the U.S.A.

According to The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): "The United States is now the only industrialized country in the world that does not use the metric system as its predominant system of measurement." And yet, the United States has a history of using the metric system going back to the 1800s. In 1875, the U.S.A. was one of the original seventeen nations to sign The Treaty of the Meter.[1]

In 1960, the metric system was updated by the governing body, General Conference of Weights and Measures, and named Le Système International d'Unités or the International System of Units, abbreviated SI. In 1968, a three year study was authorized by Congress and conducted by the Commerce Department. This resulted in the report A Metric America A Decision Whose Time Has Come.[2] Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975[3]. While the act encouraged the use of the metric system, it did not mandate it. U.S. adoption of the metric system slowed down. The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-418)[4] mandated federal agencies to use the metric system when conducting business, by 1992.[1]

So, during the 1970s there was a push to teach and encourage use of the metric system. School curricula stressed the metric system in math and science. (The author of this entry remembers pages and pages of worksheets converting measurements to the metric system and tests where students were required to memorize the formulas). The Metric Cube was one of the many ways of encouraging use of the metric system.


  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S.). 2002. Technology services, metric information and conversions. The United States and the metric system (LC 1136). [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified]. Accessed 2 June 2021. WorldCat Record
  2. De Simone, Daniel V. 1971. A metric America a decision whose time has come. Washington: National Bureau of Standards; for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off. WorldCat record
  3. Metric Conversion Act, 1975 : P.L. 94-168 : 89 Stat. 1007 : December 23, 1975.
  4. H.R.4848 - Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. 100th Congress (1987-1988) (Public Law 100-418) Bill History, U.S. Congress.

A Noteworthy Achievement In Steel Library Equipment

The Mud and the Mirth

The Mud and the Mirth, Marine Cartoonists in World War I

Visual arts constitute a significant portion of the Marines’ life, from training manuals to public appearances. Illustrations may inform, educate, or entertain the masses, be they civilians or military personnel. The Mud and the Mirth takes a deeper look at comic illustrations from the earliest publications for the Marine Corps-the Recruiters Bulletin, the Marines Magazine, and the Marines Bulletin-prior to World War I, as well as presents the entire collection of Stars and Stripes cartoons illustrated by Marine cartoonist Abian A. Wallgren.

C'est la Guerre

Library Handwriting

Passenger Ships Owned By The United States Government


To make beautiful the Capitol : rediscovering the art of Constantino Brumidi

An Italian immigrant, Brumidi combined old-world skills and American subjects to cover the capital building with beautiful frescos. You may not be able to go to DC for a tour, but you can check out this book!

Sugar For The Common Table