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This article is the second in a series of four that describe the early years of the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology). The fi rst article described the work of Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, AmericaÂ¿s fi rst metrologist . His efforts during the fi rst half of the 19th century created the fi rst survey of the coastal United States and provided the young country with the beginnings of a coherent system of weights and measures. A brief description of the convention of the meter, a brief look at 19th century science and invention in America, and an account of the creation of the National Bureau of Standards appear in this article.