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Since the inquiry on the subject of handling and filing correspondence was entered upon, a number of changes in methods of handling correspondence and in filing systems have been made in conformity with the recommendations herein stated. Many of these changes are attributable, directly or indirectly, it is believed, to the efforts of the commission. It is not possible at this time, however, to ascertain the full extent to which such changes have been made, but those which have come to the attention of the commission, or which have been effected in cooperation with the efforts of the commission, have resulted in a saving estimated at from $50,000 to $75,000 per annum.

WASHINGTON, D. C., February 13, 1912.

* * *

Exhibit 1 F

JANUARY 16, 1912. The Fourth Assistant PostMASTER GENERAL:

Sir: I have the honor to submit below, with the suggestion that it be transmitted to the chief clerk of the department for his information, a report concerning the use of phonographs in the Division of Rural Mails.

During the months of October and November last, at the request of the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency, I undertook to determine by experiments the practicability of preparing correspondence by means of the dictating machine. For this purpose 30 machines were made available.

I conceived that the essence of this question lay in the fact whether by the use of phonographs a greater or less amount of letters could be produced in the same period of time than by the stenographic method. The result was that the phonog method doubled my output, or what amounts to the same thing, produced the same output in less than half the ime.

The following was the method of the test: During the month of September the stenographers of my division were directed to keep a record of the time spent by each at the desk of correspondence clerks in connection with the taking of dictation, together with the time spent transcribing the same. This record showed that the output of 12 stenographers amounted to 321,129 words of letters, memoranda, or correspondence of like nature, in 353 working hours, which was at the rate of 14.67 words a minute.

During the succeeding seven weeks the method of producing correspondence was changed to the phonographic and like record was kept. This record showed that the output of 23 operators amounted to 730,504 words of letters, etc., produced in 693 working hours, which was at the rate of 17.56 words a minute, or an increase in rate of output of approximately 20 per cent.

The above figures, however, do not set forth with complete justice to the dictating machines the comparative efficiency of the two methods, since, in the case of the stenographers they had had years of experience, whereas none of them had ever before used the dictating machine. For this reason, at the outset, the rate of output by means of the dictating machine was very low; in fact, it was lower than the rate of output by the stenographic method. As the test was continued, however, the increase of rate of output was pronounced and steady, so that, while the rate was only 14 words per minute during the first week, during the seventh or last week the rate was over 32 words a minute, this last rate showing an increase over the stenographic method of more than 100 per cent. In my opinion the rate of ouput by the dicta. tion-machine method would have increased considerably more, but as the test had lasted already 12 weeks and the result seemed to me to be conclusive, I did not continue the use of the machine any longer.

The statistics kept showed only the saving in time or the increase of output by the stenographers. It took no account of the saving in time which accrued to the dictators, whose time of course is more valuable, on account of the higher salaries received, but impossible to measure in a true comparison with the stenographic method, due to the following circumstances: The difference of method by the dictator in using the stenographer and the dictation machine is radical. The usual practice by the former method is for the dictator to take a succession of cases, go over them, prepare in case after case the reply he intends to make, and after his cases are ready he calls the

stenographer and proceeds with his dictation. By the time the dictator is ready to dispose of his correspondence he has got in his mind from 20 to 50 letters, but he has read so many letters and consulted so many files in connection with them that it is obvious in the second going over of his mail he must, to a certain extent, lose more or less time in recalling important points in the case, which, of course, necessitates a second review of the papers. I believe it is not unreasonable to say that by this method from 5 to 10 per cent of the dictator's time is lost, besides the time of the stenographer, who is compelled to sit idly by while such second review work is being made.

By the use of the talking machine, however, no time is lost in reviewing papers the second time. The talking machine being on the desk of the dictator, as each case is prepared in the first place a letter relating to it is dictated and disposed of. The result, by this method, is a letter prepared fresh from the mind of the dictator, whereas thé other way the letter is dictated after considerable time has elapsed and must necessarily suffer both in direct application to the case as well as in diction. While the saving of time to the dictator by the use of the talking machine is apparent and considerable, as is evidenced by representations made by many of the dictators to me for a continuance of the use of the machine, it is not possible to accurately measure it in time. I am convinced, however, that there is a material saving in time to the dictator. *

In order to furnish a concise view of the comparative results by the two methods, the table sets forth the rate of output during the five weeks by the stenographic method and the rate of the output for each of the seven weeks during the period of the phonographic test, showing in respect of the phonograph the percentage of increase of rate of output of each week over the week next preceding." Said table discloses a steady increase in output by the phonographic method, although at the outset the rate was slightly below that of the stenographers, thus showing beyond contradiction, so far as the work of my office is concerned, twice the amount of correspondence can be produced in the same time.




With the installation in this division of a suitable number of dictating machines, at a cost of less than $2,500, I can reduce the force of my division immediately by six persons, which will effect a saving in salaries of about $6,000 per annum.

This recommendation is based upon a prospective increased efficiency amounting to but 75 per cent of that indicated by the statistics of the test, and takes no account of the saving in time to the dictator nor of the probable increase of output which I believe to be inevitable through a continuance of the dictation-machine work. It is not at all likely that operators with only seven weeks' phonograph experience can be expected to reach the summit of their efficiency. With the installation of the machines recommended and further practice by the operators in their use, I hope to effect a further reduction in the force of this division. I am confident that if the test had been continued several more weeks the rate of output would have been considerably increased. I am informed that in the test conducted by the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency with its own operative force, after three months' experience, the rate of output of the operators ranged from 45 to 55 words a minute. I believe approximately the same result could be obtained with my force.

The estimate of the saving for the first year takes into consideration the initial outlay for the purchase of the machines. After the first year the expense would include only depreciation and the cost of material used.

I further believe that if the opportunity had presented itself for centralizing in one section all of the letter writing produced by means of the talking machines the above showing would have been greatly increased. I am so firmly of the belief that the use of these phonographic dictating machines would be so distinctly in the interest of good administration that I desire to urge the purchase of a sufficient number to fully equip the Division of Rural Mails, as above stated. This can be done at a cost not to exceed $2,500. With the installation of these machines I am convinced that the reduction in force above stated can be accomplished. Respectfully,


Superintendent Division of Rural Mails. 37542°-H. Doc. 670, 62-2-35




AUGUST 11, 1911. The special committee of the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency, designated to make a personal

examination of existing conditions in the Navy Department on the subject of handling and filing correspondence, submits the following preliminary recommendation for the consideration of the commission and the committee on economy and efficiency in that department.

The special committee has held a number of meetings, some of which have been attended by a representative of the Navy Department committee, the chief clerk of the department, and the chief clerks of the various bureaus and offices. The members of the special committee have examined the methods employed in handling and filing correspondence in several of the bureaus and offices of the department and have personally, consulted with representatives of such bureaus and offices in regard thereto. Conditions have been found which, it is believed, are susceptible of improvement at once without involving any radical change in the general method of conducting the business of the department. It is therefore deemed advisable to make an interim recommendation in order that the department may immediately gain the benefit of the changes suggested. This recommendation is aimed to accomplish the following results:

First. A change in the system of indorsements in use in the department whereby the slip form of indorsements will be discontinued and indorsements written on letter-size pages.

Second. The discontinuance of all press copying and the use of carbon copies in lieu thereof.

The committee is satisfied that a considerable saving in time and expense can be effected by the adoption of these changes. They in no way conflict or interfere with any system of indexing, recording, or filing.correspondence now in use in the department, or with any system under consideration by the commission or its special committee, and consequently can be placed in effect at once without prejudice to the views of the departmental committee or any bureau or office upon other questions which have been or may be suggested to or taken up by the special committee for discussion. No new equipment is required nor expense involved. On the contrary, the existing press-copying outfits and books and materials used in connection therewith can be dispensed with, thus providing space for other purposes. Furthermore, careful tests have been made which show that the time of officers and others spent in reading files of correspondence will be greatly lessened by the fact that the correspondence will be presented in more compact form than is the case at present.

The special committee believes it has given consideration to every phase of the matter involved in the foregoing propositions, the principal points being as follows:

1. Whether the indorsement system of communication might not be abandoned immediately and all communications be by letter.

2. Whether the slip form or the letter-size sheet form indorsements is preferable. 3. Whether more than one indorsement should be placed on a page.

4. Whether the sheets should be arranged so that the last indorsement will be on the top or the bottom of the file.

5. Whether the subject of the file should be repeated in writing each indorsement.

6. Whether pro forma indorsements should not be simplified by the use of a route card or form on which a simple notation could be made. 7. Whether letters and indorsements should be written single or double spaced. 8. Whether receiving stamps should be placed on the face or the reverse of pages.

9. Whether carbon or press copies are the more desirable, considering their value as evidence, the time required for their making, their neatness, the facility with which they can be handled as a record, their permanence as a record, the liability of errors being uncorrected, the cost of paper, etc.

10. Whether more than one record or file copy of outgoing correspondence is necessary. 11. The grade and weight of paper for original and file copies of correspondence. 12. Whether both sides of a page could be utilized. Upon these points the special committee has reached the following conclusions:

1. The existing system of indorsements can not be abandoned at present, but may be curtailed and otherwise improved.

2. The letter-size form is preferal le. 3. As many indorsements as possible should be placed on a page. 4. The last indorsement should be at the end or bottom of the file. 6. The subject should only be repeated where required to identify the file copy.


colored paper,



6. A route card is not desirable.

7. Letters and indorsements should be single spaced, with a double space between paragraphs.

8. Receiving stamps should be so placed as not to occupy any writing space. 9. Carbon copies only should be made for the files. 10. Only one file copy is necessary: 11. A 44-pound, 8 by 104 inch, white linen paper for originals and an inexpensive

such railroad manila,” for carbon copies, is recommended. 12. Writing should be confined to one side of all pages.

The special committee does not attempt to state in detail all of the considerations upon each question which led to the conclusions above stated, but is prepared to do 80 upon request.

The various chief clerks were advised of the contemplated action of the special committee and invited to comment thereon. The comments received are transmitted herewith, together with a brief in answer to the objections made.

A draft of a general order recommended for issue by the Navy Department as soon as convenient, placing in effect the changes recommended, is transmitted herewith.

The general order issued by the Secretary of the Navy is as follows: "GENERAL ORDER

"Navy DEPARTMENT, No. 130.

"Washington, D. C., November 20, 1911. "1. Official letters and indorsements, initiated after the receipt of this order, will be written on 8 by 104 inch white linen paper, weighing approximately 44 pounds per ream of 500 sheets of that size. The provisions of this order will not apply to correspondence already bearing slip indorsements. The use of paper 8 by 104 inches of the present weights will be continued until the supply on hand is exhausted.

"2. The body of letters and indorsements, when typewritten, will be written single spaced, with one double space between paragraphs, in the form shown in examples forming a part of this order. Each indorsement will, where possible, be written on the same sheet as the preceding indorsement or letter, with a space of about 1 inch intervening.

"3. The subject of a letter will be stated concisely at the beginning of the letter, according to the present practice, but will not be repeated at the beginning of each indorsement, except where required by the filing system of the writer's office to identify

“4. Stamps showing the date of receiving papers must be so placed as not to occupy any writing space: If stamps constituting pro forma indorsements, such as ‘Received and forwarded,' 'Forwarded, contents noted,' 'Referred for action,' etc., are used, they will be placed on the face of pages as though written in a more formal manner.

"5. Paper used for letters and indorsements will have two holes punched in it, one-half inch from the top and 1 inch from the right and left hand margins, in order that indorsements may be uniformly fastened to the correspondence and to permit easy removal for continuing the indorsement until the sheet is filled.

“6. After December 31, 1911, the making of press copies of letters and indorsements will be discontinued, and carbon copies in sufficient number will be made in lieu thereof for the files of the writer's office, the name of the signing officer to be stamped or otherwise placed thereon. Until that date the use of press or carbon copies will be optional. Record typewriter ribbons will be used in lieu of copying ribbons after the discontinuance of press copying:

7. After the present supply is exhausted a green-tinted paper weighing approximately 3 pounds per ream of 500 sheets, 8 by 104 inches in size, will be used for carbon copies.

18. As a general rule, a letter from one office to another will be answered by a separate letter and not by indorsement on the original. These instructions are not intended to prevent the use of stamped or written indorsements on papers or reports of which copies are not retained, or to prevent the use of indorsements on papers necessarily referred to several bureaus or offices; they are intended to prevent the practice of having an original letter returned to the writer by an indorsement containing the report or information requested, and having in the indorsement a request for the return of the papers to the office or person to which they were originally sent, as this procedure necessitates increased clerical work in copying the indorsement, and requires the papers to be mailed three times. If the original letter is answered by a separate letter, each office has a complete record of the correspondence without extra work, and the papers are sent through the mails twice instead of three times.

L. MEYER, "Secretary of the Navy."

the file copy

“G. v.




SEPTEMBER 22, 1911. After a study of the reports upon the subject submitted to the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency, and a personal examination of the methods employed in the various bureaus and offices of the department, the committee has reached the following conclusions:

1. That all correspondence should be filed flat in a vertical file.
2. That briefing upon the back of correspondence should be discontinued.

3. That carbon copies should constitute the record of outgoing correspondence instead of press copies.

4. That the sequence of letters in a file of correspondence should be chronological, with the most recent letter on top.

5. That all the correspondence of the department, both incoming and copies of outgoing, should be filed together, upon a subjective classification arranged as nearly as may be upon a self-indexing basis; and where numbers are regarded as essential that a logical arrangement of the same under the decimal system should be employed; that, as a part of the scheme of classification when correspondence concerns objects of expenditures the file number shall follow the classification of objects of Government expenditure set forth in circular 19 of the Commission on Economy and Efficiency; and circular 36 of the Treasury Department, dated June 21, 1911.

6. That no record of incoming or outgoing correspondence should be made except where absolutely essential, and that all bound-book registers of correspondence received and sent should be discontinued.

The committee has held 38 meetings from July 3 to date, during which period they visited 30 offices, some of them a number of times.

At the outset the committee reached the conclusion that it would be inadvisable, if not impracticable, to attempt to devise a uniform plan of classification for the corre spondence of the entire department. The business as well as the necessities of the offices, from the standpoint of frequent or rare consultation of papers and files used, are very diverse. In some offices papers after being disposed of initially are filed away permanently; in others the papers in the files constitute the working materials of the office and are in constant use; they are coming out and going into the files daily. On account of this situation it has been necessary for us in our study of the operations and business of each office, from the standpoint of devising a simple and practical system of handling and filing correspondence, to be guided mainly by the condition peculiar to the office,

Notwithstanding the above-mentioned diversity in nature of business in the various bureaus and divisions and consequent difference in methods pursued, the committee is of the belief that the general principles or recommendations above stated have application to the Treasury Department as a whole and should be presented to you for approval in advance of the submission of reports and recomn:endations for each specific office of your department. These reports are in process of preparation, but since the recommendations contained therein are based upon the general principles above outlined, it is deemed advisable to secure your approval to those recommendations in advance of the submission of the report covering the different bureaus and divisions.

As soon as your approval of the above recommendation is secured, the committee will immediately proceed to the completion of its report on each office, and submit the same to you.

In order to obtain the best results in our inquiry upon the subject of handling and filing correspondence in each bureau and division, it is requested that direction shall be given to each bureau and division to select a representative familiar with the organizations and functions of the office and the method employed in handling correspondence to cooperate with us in the consideration of the operations of and methods purBued in the division and the development of our ideas and recommendations in regard thereto. In pursuance of this plan it is the purpose of the committee as its specific ideas arise in respect to the operations of a particular office to present those ideas to the office with the request that the person designated to cooperate with us shall submit to the committee in writing a statement giving his ideas as to the probable results of a change which the committee has in mind, so that if the idea is impracticable, by reason of some feature of the local situation, concerning which we had no information, the idea or any part of it, so far as it relates to the office, may quickly be dismissed and the committee not waste its time pursuing something which might prove to be futile. If this plan is followed the committee will not only secure the cooperation of

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