Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / June 1950

June 1950: NBS Functions Restated by Congress

On June 22, 1950, Congress changed the role of the National Bureau of Standards. Created in 1901, NBS worked for 49 years to devise, test, and calibrate standard units of measure. During World War II NBS expanded its scope of work to support the war effort. The new legislation mandated that the war work continue to meet the needs of an industrializing nation. NBS’s work on standards was laid out with regard to railroads, chemicals, atomic energy, temperature, radiation, and more. The agency was also tasked with advising and cooperating with other government agencies on scientific and engineering matters. The law further required NBS to determine the properties of materials, a project they were already working on. This law paved the way for NBS to investigate materials and processes to improve American industry and government. Following the restatement of its functions, NBS expanded its radio and communications work. For 15 more years NBS acted as the chief radio researcher of the government. Most radio work was reassigned from NBS to other Department of Commerce agencies in 1965. Today, ITS has inherited that function of NBS’s work. ITS continues to support industry and work closely with other federal and state agencies. ITS’s work has improved communications and understanding of radio’s role in the new century.