Items of Interest

The Postmaster General states: "As nearly as can be estimated the cost of carrying a pound of seeds furnished by the Department of Agriculture for free distribution, varies from five to eight cents. I have been informed that the aggregate weight of vegetable and flower seeds distributed annually by the Department of Agriculture under frank is 690,000 pounds. The estimated number of packages is 7,300,000. Computing at the lowest estimate — five cents a pound— the cost of handling this matter is $34,500. If the combined time of all the clerks and carriers handling one of these packages is estimated at one minute, from the time the package is mailed until it is delivered, it would amount to the time of fifty employes working eight hours a day throughout the year, which, at an average salary of $1,000, means $50,000 worth of time. It is more than likely, however, that at least five minutes of time in the aggregate is consumed, including the delivery of the packages, which means an outlay of $250,000 in clerk and carrier hire on this account."

The House has adopted two resolutions presented by the Chairman of the Printing committee, which will reduce the number of copies of each publication printed by the Government from ten thousand to twentyfive hundred. The resolutions mean a saving probably of one million dollars annually to the Government in printing bills. "Gentlemen," the chairman said, "if all the waste books lying around this city, absolutely worthless, but which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to print, were to be hauled out of the city they would fill a freight train two and one-half miles long. There are in the basement of the Capitol now 9,538 tons of books and public documents out of date and worthless."

It was discovered when the printing for the last census began that it made 21/2 cents a copy difference whether the books were lettered with gold leaf or with aluminum. The aluminum titles maintain their lustre untarnished for years. By making this change the Census office has saved $15,000 in the last five years, and had it been adopted with other publications there would have been saved $150,000. The total cost of gold-leaf purchased during the last fiscal year, according to the Public Printer's report, was $47,000. The total cost of the aluminum purchased for the census during the year was $80. Gold for the same purpose would have cost $1,600.

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Seed-time and Harvest
April 7, 1906

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