Scientific American, v 12 (os), no 3, p 21, 27 September 1856
Resignation of the Commissioner of Patents
Hon. Chas. Mason, who has so long and faithfully presided over the Patent Office as Commissioner, has, we regret to state, sent to the President his resignation. The Executive, we understand, is reluctant to accept it, and up to the time of our going to press had not done so, and we hope will persist in declining, until Mr. Mason shall be induced to withdraw his petition. It would be a calamity to our inventors to have Judge Mason withdraw from the post of Commissioner, and we trust the causes, whatever they may be, which have induced this step on his part, may be removed, and that he may continue in the Office at least through the present administration.
The causes which have led to this sudden step, on the part of Mr. Mason, have not been made public, but if rumor is correct, it is attributable to the unjustifiable interference of the Secretary of the Interior with the duties of the Commissioner.
The appointment of Mr. Mason was universally regarded as an excellent one, and events have fully justified that opinion. Under his admirable guidance, the Patent Office has risen to a prosperity, and efficiency never known before.
Resignation of Commissioner Mason
We announced two weeks ago that Judge Mason had sent in his resignation to the President, but that it had not been accepted, and we trusted he might be induced to withdraw his petition. Since that time we learn that the friends of Mr. Mason, and the inventors generally, have so importuned him to remain at his post, that he will yield to their wishes for the present. His withdrawal from the Office may therefore be considered as indefinitely postponed; probably until the Secretary of the Interior shall attempt some new interferences, when all of us who have dealings with the Office will realize the loss of an efficient and just Commissioner.
Inventors, improve your time and get your applications filed while you have a tried and capable officer to look after your interests and see that justice is done you.
The Patent Office -- Secretary of the Interior's Report
The Secretary of the Interior, in whose Department the Patent Office is classed, has given some useful information in his report respecting its affairs, and as this part of it is not very long, we publish it entire, accompanied with a few remarks.
Since the 1st day of January last the Patent Office has issued 2,255 patents, and within the year the number will probably be increased to some 2,500.
All applications are promptly attended to and it is hoped the interests of that meritorious class of people, the inventors, are properly secured and protected. None are more worthy the fostering care of the General Government.
From small beginnings the Patent Office has grown into proportions comparatively gigantic. Half a century ago, the whole revenue of the Office did not exceed $1,500 per annum, which was appropriated to the payment of one clerk, who transacted the entire business of the Office. The income for the present year will be about $200,000, which will be scarcely sufficient to defray the current expense of the Office, with its one hundred examiners, clerks and other employees.
If we compare the present condition of the Office with what it was a few years ago, we shall find that during the four years previous to 1854, the average annual number of applications for patents was 2522, while for the four subsequent years such average will be about 1,000. The number of patents annual issued during the former period, average 990, during the latter about 1,850. For the current year the whole number of applications will probably reach 5000.
The business of the Office seems to have outgrown the system upon which it has thus far been conducted, which was adapted to a previous stage of its existence. The wisdom of Congress may be profitably exercised in making such modifications as present circumstances require.
We like the spirit in which this Report appears to be dictated, and the sympathy which appears to be manifested in it for inventors, but we wish the Secretary of the Interior had been more explicit in regard to the action which he wishes Congress to take upon the present condition and management of the Patent Office is conducted, is bad -- that it is not adapted to its present wants, and that it should be entirely changed. He suggests that "the wisdom of Congress may be profitably exercised in making such modifications as its present circumstances require." This is a proper recommendation and it will require great wisdom to deal with it. We hope the Secretary does not mean to recommend the passage of the absurd bill for the Reforming of the Patent Laws which was before the Senate last winter. It exhibited but a very small amount of wisdom on the part of those who framed it. If it were to become a law, the business of the Patent Office would soon become almost extinct; a deep injury would be inflicted on our inventors, and the progress of our country's improvements in the useful arts would be greatly retarded. It would be unwise to attempt a radical reform of the Patent Laws; the present system does not require to be revolutionized, it merely requires an extension of the present means for effectually carrying it out, so that the business may be performed promptly, and in that liberal spirit embraced in the law now provided for its management.
The recent rapid growth of the business of the Patent Office is positive testimony in favor of the views we take of this question. We hope the Secretary only means in the changes recommended, that the Commissioner of Patents be relieved of considerable extra labor, which he has now to perform, relating to matters not immediately connected with patent business, and that ample means be provided without an increase of patent fees for the prompt generous, just, and efficient transaction of business between the Patent Office and inventors.
We claim this as an act of justice to inventors and one of statesman-like policy, for the benefit of our country. There can be no doubt but inventors have done more to develop the resources and increase the material greatness of our country than any other class of men. What would be the condition of our agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, without the cotton gin, improved plow, power looms, spinning jennies, planing machines, locomotives, railroads, steamboats, telegraphs, etc. Why, no one will question the statement that "without these inventions our country would never have arisen to its present greatness." Every means for encouraging inventors, therefore, tends to advance the interests of our country, and some of these means are cheap patent fees, and a simple and efficient system of securing patents. According to the Report, there were 4,435 applications for patents, in 1855, in the United States, 4,056 in France, and 2,958 in England. These figures show that the number of patents applied for in any country, is according to the patent fees charged -- the greatest number where the fees are lowest -- America, and the least where they are highest -- England. The greatest number of useful inventions are therefore annually brought into public use in that country which has the lowest patent fees, namely the United States.
We are happy to be able to pay a tribute of praise to one part of this Report in reference to the Patent Office Building. When completed it says it will temporarily accommodate all the bureaus of his department; but this should not deter Congress from making the necessary appropriations for a Departmental Building, which will be much needed before, under ordinary circumstances, it can be constructed and prepared for occupancy. No valid reason can be assigned for further delay. We have censured the Secretary for attempting to alienate the Patent Office Building from the legitimate purposes for which it was intended -- namely, entire consecration to patent business. He now recommends that appropriations should at once be made for a new building exclusively devoted to the business of his Department, thus leaving the Patent Office building to be devoted to its appropriate objects exclusively.
This recommendation in his Report will afford our inventors sincere pleasure.
Rumors from Washington
It is rumored that the Hon. Charles Mason, now Commissioner of Patents, has been, or will be, tendered a seat in the Cabinet of the President Elect -- the posts which rumor assigns to Judge Mason being that of Secretary of the Interior.
It has often been said in our hearing that in the difficult and delicate exercise of the appointing power, President Pierce has in no instance done himself and the country greater credit than in the selection of Judge Mason for the office of Commissioner of Patents. This office has, in times past, been most unworthily filled, and now that the right man has been found for the right place, we should rejoice in common with our citizens generally if Judge Mason would consent to remain. But if this cannot be, we would like very much to see him placed in the Cabinet to exercise the supervision over the Patent Office now imposed upon the Secretary of the Interior. Familiar with all the intricacies of the law, together with a thorough knowledge of the growing interests of the great West, no other man could be selected who is better qualified to discharge the duties of the Secretaryship.
Thrilling Incident in the Life of an Inventor
Aeolian Pianos -- A correspondent in the National Intelligencer (D.C.) notices the efforts that were made some years ago by O.M. Coleman, the inventor of the Aeolian Attachment to direct attention to it, among the musical circles of London, and concludes with the following anecdote:
"But to bring my letter to a close. After Coleman had obtained his European patents, and his invention had attained the highest point in the estimation of the public, he still found a 'lion in the way.' The celebrated Thalberg, then and yet justly regarded as the first pianist in the world, who was then on the Continent, had not yet seen or heard the instrument. Many eminent musicians, and especially the piano manufacturers, stood aloof until Thalberg should give his opinion. Coleman felt that the fate of his invention hung upon the fiat of the dreaded Thalberg. It was -- 'Wait till Thalberg comes,' and 'If Thalberg says so and so, then,' etc., until the very name of Thalberg became hateful. The great master arrived in London at last, and a day was appointed for his examination of the instrument. A large room was selected, into which were admitted a number of the first musical artists.
Benedict sat down and played in his best style. Thalberg stood at a distance, with his arms folded and back turned. He listened for a time in that position, and then turned his face towards the instrument. He moved softly across the floor until he stood by the side of Benedict, where he again stopped and listened. An occasional nod of his head was all the emotion he betrayed. Suddenly, while Benedict was in the very midst of a splendid sonata, he laid his hand upon his arm, and, with a not very gentle push, said, 'Get off that stool!' Seating himself, he dashed out in his inimitable style, and continued to play for some time without interruption, electrifying Coleman and the other auditors by an entirely new application of the invention. Suddenly he stopped, and turning to Benedict, requested him to get a certain piece of Beethoven's from the library. This was done, and Thalberg played it through. Then, striking his instrument with his hand and pointing to the music he said:-- 'This is the very instrument Beethoven had in his mind when he wrote that piece. It has never been played before!'
The next day Coleman sold his patent right for a sum that enabled him to take his place among millionaires."
New Commissioner of Patents
It is well known to our constant readers that Judge Mason, the present incumbent of the responsible office of Commissioner of Patents, holds the office with considerable reluctance, and, without doubt, devotes himself to its duties at a considerable pecuniary sacrifice. It is a subject of deep regret that the salary of this officer is not sufficiently remunerative to insure, beyond a doubt, the continued services of an arbiter so universally popular.
Since the signature of General Jackson was affixed, on that auspicious anniversary, the 4th of July, 1836, to the act creating the Office, and giving form to the code under which the industrial resources of our fertile country are becoming so rapidly developed -- since the Secretaries of State, War, and the like, were relieved by that act from what must always prove to general State officers annoying and troublesome to inventors, the office of Commissioner of Patents has never been filled with such credit as during the few years since the appointment of Judge Mason. His legal talents have been especially of great importance in this situation, as they have rendered plain and easy to him many complex questions which would otherwise have seriously disturbed his usefulness, while the courtesy and zeal with which he has prosecuted the investigation of every question have been not less worthy of remark. We sincerely hope he will not resign, and we have no idea that Mr. Buchanan will desire his removal.
Various rumors are afloat with regard to supplying the vacancy should one occur, but we are aware of no public movements in behalf of any one, except for Col. J. Franklin Reigart, of Lancaster, Pa. Col. R. has had much experience in connection with inventions, in various ways, and is well known to our readers as the author of a valuable life of Robert Fulton, and is a gentleman, we feel assured, from a long personal acquaintance, who would administer the affairs of the Office in a practical and impartial manner.
Movements in favor of Col. Reigart have appeared in several quarters. The most marked has been a meeting of inventors, (called, we think, without public notice, however,) at the Astor House, in this city, on the 10th inst., where a series of resolutions were passed, alluding very complimentarily to the merits of the book, and recommending him to the office. We feel tolerably well assured that whether Col. Reigart receives the appointment to the chief office or not, his services will in some form be required at the Patent Office under the forthcoming administration.
Madame Rumor on Duty -- The Rumored Changes in the Patent Office
The Daily Times of Monday the 18th, contained a telegraphic announcement that Dr. Gale had resigned as examiner in the Patent Office, and that four other examiners were to be removed for political cause. This was followed the next day by a fuller statement, through the same channel, that "Dr. Gale, who yesterday resigned his office as examiner in the Patent Office, has held the office for some years with reputation. It was alleged against him that he was in some way concerned in the establishment of a school here for the education of female colored teachers. He was, I believe, appointed a Director of this intended institution, which ex-Mayor Lenox recently demolished. He tendered his resignation when he found that he would be removed. Mr. Moss, another examiner, who resigned yesterday, was to have been removed. Three others are to be removed from the Patent Office on account of alleged political reasons. One of them was complained of by the Vice President, who demanded his removal. Judge Mason, the Commissioner of Patents, is said to be indignant at this interference with his assistants, without consulting him. But whether he has remonstrated against it I have not heard."
At the time of our going to press Dr. Gale has not resigned, nor does he intend to, but report says that he and also Messrs. Lane and Schaeffer will be removed, which is doubtful. There are no indications that Judge Mason is indignant or objectionably interfered with. He is actively engaged at his post, and all business goes on precisely as usual throughout the office.
Mr. Moss, late assistant examiner in the civil engineering and mill-work department has resigned, but for no political reasons as far as we can learn.
Dr. Breed, late assistant, and acting chief examiner in the chemical department, has resigned, and established a laboratory at Washington, where he proposes to devote himself to the procuring of chemical patents, new processes, etc. Dr. Breed studied in Germany under the famous Liebig, and is an experienced chemist. The series of articles lately published in our paper, presenting the features of all the chemical patents granted for two or three years past, were from Dr. B.'s pen. His resignation will be a loss to the Patent Office.
The Final Resignation of Judge Mason
We are sorry to announce that Hon. Chas. Mason has finally resigned the office of Commissioner of Patents. Before this notice reaches our readers, he will have vacated the position upon which he has shed so much luster for the past four years.
We regard this as a calamity not easily repaired, for it is universally conceded that no other Commissioner since the organization of the Patent Office has performed its delicate and responsible duties with equal acceptance. We have labored industriously to induce Judge Mason to remain, and have upon one or two former occasions, when he anticipated surrendering the office, done much to induce him to yield to the general wish that he should not give up a position for which he is so peculiarly qualified.
Since the establishment of the Department of the Interior, the Patent Office has been one of its subordinate bureaus, and the Commissioner has been subject to the dictation of the Secretary. It is well known to our readers that the Scientific American has always opposed this dictation. Previous to the appointment of Judge Mason, the head of the Patent Office had been a most obsequious tool in the Secretary's hand -- a servant prompt to do his master's bidding. Judge Mason was too independent and self-reliant to bow meekly to such interference; and on one occasion it is said that the late Secretary McLelland actually reported him to President Pierce as an insubordinate officer. But to the credit of Mr. Pierce, be it said, he considered it too delicate a subject for him to meddle with.
It is reported that the immediate cause of the Commissioner's resignation grows out of the fact that he had given an order for a fine collection of specimens of fruit in wax, under an appropriation of ten thousand dollars made by Congress for the advancement of the interests of agriculture, which order was countermanded by the Secretary of the Interior.
We know nothing of this alleged interference with the Commissioner's duties; but if so, it is only another argument in favor of the independence of the Patent Office from this outside control. It cannot be seriously questioned that, in view of the special objects for which the Office was established, viz., to encourage and advance the industrial interests of the country. An officer should be appointed clothed with full power to manage all of its complex and important duties without unnecessary dictation or interference. Even if it remained a subordinate bureau to the Department of the Interior, we maintain that the Commissioner of Patents should be allowed to administer its affairs independent of any active interference from the heads of other departments.
Well, Judge Mason has left the Patent Office, and it devolves upon the President to appoint a successor. Who will he be? is a question now anxiously put by all who feel interested in the future success of the Office. He will be a politician -- that, we fear, is inevitable -- but we have confidence in the wisdom of President Buchanan, and we believe he will appoint no one who has not some qualifications as are requisite to the proper management of the Office. Two qualifications are indispensable, namely, legal acumen and general liberality of judgment. Important questions of law are almost constantly brought before the Commissioner for adjudication -- questions involving great interests and therefore requiring an amount of legal knowledge commensurate to their proper consideration. A Commissioner without this special qualification will utterly fail in his duties, however learned or scientific he may otherwise be. A mere inventor -- a mere mechanic -- a mere politician -- a mere manufacturer -- is not the person wanted. Inventors and mechanics, whose interests we are ever defending, will understand our meaning when we employ the above language. They want an able and liberally disposed Commissioner -- one who will not only protect their rights, but sedulously endeavor to foster their interests. Such a man was Judge Mason. We only hope his successor will be equal to him in all respects.
Testimonial to Judge Mason
"United States Patent Office
August 1st, 1857
"Sir: -- We, the undersigned, offer you the expression of our regret that you have resigned the position which you have so long held as the head of this office.
"In the relation which has existed between us, you have uniformly shown a courtesy and dignity alike pleasing and impressive; and we assure you that we shall always retain a grateful recollection of your personal kindness and a high respect for your official ability.
"Permit us also, collectively and individually, to tender you our most sincere wishes that, in all the relations of life, your future may be one of unclouded happiness."
(Signed by all the officers in the Patent Office.)
"To the Hon. Charles Mason,
late Commissioner of Patents"
Judge Mason, in reply to the above letter of kind expression and good wishes from those employed in the Patent Office, says:
"United States Patent Office
August 3d, 1857
"Gentlemen:-- Your communication of the 1st inst., manifesting regret at our approaching separation, and filled with kind expressions relative to the past, and good wishes for the future, has afforded me the liveliest gratification. It will be treasured and remembered with pride and pleasure throughout the course of my future life.
"That during the four years I have been connected with this office, I have not given frequent occasion for dissatisfaction, as well to employees in the office, as to those doing business therewith, I cannot for a moment suppose. But I have met in all directions, and in almost every instance, with evidences of an indulgent charity greater than I had any reason to expect, or any right to claim. It is evident that freedom from error has not been expected, and that correctness of intention has often been received as its substitute by those within and without the office.
"It is now a source of unalloyed satisfaction in reviewing the past, to reflect that, as far as my knowledge and recollection extend, nothing like an angry feeling has been excited in my official or personal intercourse, either with the multitude of anxious, interested inventors, or with those with whom my relations have been more frequent and intimate in the daily transactions of business.
"It is this consideration which has given the principal charm to the position in which I have been placed for the past four years, and has more than once induced me to postpone a severance of those relations which were so agreeable, although very strong considerations were urging me to that severance. This force has recently been augmented to such an extent that I feel it to be controlling; and I find myself compelled, with many and deep regrets, to bid you all adieu.
"All your kind expressions and good wishes are most cordially reciprocated. I hope I may long find a place in your friendly recollection; and I shall never cease to regard with interest the fortunes which in future await you all.
"I trust we may often meet hereafter; either here or in my Western home, where I shall always be happy to welcome you.
"I remain, very truly, yours, etc.
S.T. Shugert, Esq., Chief Clerk, will act as Commissioner of Patents until a successor can be appointed. Mr. Shugert has had much experience in the office, and will no doubt supervise its business with discriminating care.
We are assured that the President will not hastily fill this important office, and Madam Rumor intimates that the choice may ultimately fall upon some one of the worthy officers now connected with it. We should have no objection to such an appointment, if carefully bestowed, so that it would indicate a proper regard for the interests of inventors.
Judge Mason to the Scientific American Patent Agency
Messrs Munn & Co. -- I take pleasure in stating that while I held the office of Commissioner of Patents, more than one-fourth of all the business of the Office came through your hands. I have no doubt that the public confidence thus indicated has been fully deserved, as I have always observed, in all your intercourse with the Office, a marked degree of promptness, skill, and fidelity to the interests of your employers.
Yours very truly,
August 14, 1857
[The above complimentary letter from ex-Commissioner Mason needs no comment, although an inclination prompts us to add a remark or two for the benefit of inventors who may have recently become subscribers to the Scientific American.
Judge Mason, in the above terse but expressive note, simply endorses what is set forth in substance in our circulars, and what most inventors throughout the country very well know; but the tribute is so flattering to us as successful solicitors for patents, that we make room for it, trusting it may act as a guide to such inventors as may in pursuit of competent parties to whom to submit their business. Perhaps the assertion would have been nearer correct had Mr. Mason stated that not less than one-third of the entire business of the Patent Office was derived from the Scientific American Agency; but that is a point of no consequence to those desiring to apply for patents, compared with the latter part of his letter, where he refers to the "marked degree of promptness, skill and fidelity" which we ever manifest towards those for whom we act as attorneys. In addition to the above, we will simply add that we shall not abate our energies, in the future, to act faithfully and deal justly with all who may seek our counsels or employ us to do their business at the Patent Office.
Our facilities for taking patents in all European countries are unequaled, and we are not far from right in asserting that seven-eights of all American inventions patented abroad are secured through our office. Circulars of information concerning the proper course to be pursued in taking out patents in this or in foreign countries, may be had gratis by applying to our office. In ordering circulars, state for what countries information is wanted, and a circular giving all necessary particulars will be sent free of postage by return of mail.
The Commissioner of Patents -- Who will he be?
Messrs. Editors -- It has long been a question with me whether Judge Mason would really resign the Commissionership of Patents, because of certain facts known only to myself and a few of Judge Mason's intimate friends. But since he has resigned, another question has arisen, and that is, "who will be his successor?" The position of Commissioner of Patents, as you are doubtless aware, is one which needs be filled by the ablest and soundest minds. There are but few men who possess the necessary requisites for the office, and from their midst President Buchanan will doubtless make the selection. Having spent most of my time in Washington for the past ten years, and having been a great observer, I have thus been so situated as to "learn and see" for myself. I enjoyed not long since a conversation with a cabinet member, on the subject of the Commissionership, and was informed that but three candidates possessed the qualifications (in the eye of the President.) These were the Hon. Charles T. James, of Rhode Island; Dr. Thomas T. Everett, Chief Examiner of the Patent Office, and the Hon. Edmund Burke, who presided over the affairs of the Patent Office with such marked ability during the reign of the Polk dynasty. Either of these gentlemen would make an excellent officer. Gen. James is a man of no ordinary talent. He has seen much and read much, and being a decided mechanical genius, he would make a splendid officer. Dr. Thomas T. Everett is a New Yorker, of old Knickerbocker stock. He is the youngest brother of Hon. Richard J. Everett, of New Jersey, and has been an inmate of the Patent Office for nearly fourteen years. He is a gentleman of sound mind and clear understanding, perfectly conversant with the Patent Laws, and should he be appointed, he would reflect credit and honor upon the department. Of Edmund Burke I can add nothing to that which has already been said in his favor. Everybody knows his superior qualifications and all will rejoice at his appointment, if made. More anon.
St. Nicholas Hotel, New York, Aug 17
The above letter, written by an officer connected with one of the government departments at Washington, has a sort of semi-official character about it, and if reliable in its more essential particulars, it shows that the President is not unlikely to impose upon himself, and sacrifice in a measure the highest interests of an office which he is called upon to guard. We have not a word to say against the appointment of Dr. Everett or Edmund Burke. If the President sees fit to select either of these gentlemen to fill the office of Commissioner of Patents, the public will not object. Not so, however, in the case of Gen. James, and the mere mention of his name in connection with the office, and the somewhat extravagant praise which is heaped upon him by our correspondent, serves only to convince us that the latter has yet to "learn and see." We have nothing to do with Gen. James as a private citizen. In his proper place he is all well enough, for aught we know, and he might, as our correspondent suggests, make a "splendid officer," but it would be in the character of a General, rather than the chair so lately vacated by one of the most gifted mechanical and judicial minds in our country.
If the President has any desire to examine into the special qualifications of General James for this office, we invite him to read over, only once (for Mr. Buchanan is an eminent lawyer) the "New Patent Bill" published on page 292, Vol 11, of the Scientific American, and once reported to the United States Senate; General James, Chairman, and putative father. We think after this perusal, which will not take long, the President will not be encumbered with more than two candidates in the above list.
This new "patent rat trap" bill -- so denominated by some of our cotemporaries -- never attained to the dignity of a hearing in the Senate, and so far as the views of the inventors and the public generally were expressed,it found no favor anywhere. The bill was a "monstrosity" in legislation, and was so treated.
With all due deference to our correspondent's opinions, we are satisfied that General James has not the peculiar qualifications, judicial and scientific, which would fit him to succeed Judge Mason. Besides, if we mistake not, he has some interest in the extension of certain important patents, which have been the subjects of considerable litigation. Should this prove to be true, (which we do not affirm) it alone ought to shut the Office against him. It is our opinion that General James is quite as likely to be struck by lightning as he is to become Commissioner of Patents; and that the President ever thought of conferring that office upon him, we do not for a moment believe. We should almost as soon look for the appointment of C.C. Chaffee, or either of the other members of the late Committee on Patents in the House of Representatives. Indeed, we think the President should not overlook these parties; they should be rewarded for the service they rendered to the mechanical interests of the country in withholding their report against the extension of the Woodworth Patent until it had expired -- until every spark of hope for getting the bill through had fled.
In addition to the names above suggested, rumor mentions S.T. Shugert, Esq., now Acting Commissioner, Colonel Hughes, of Baltimore, a well known engineer, Judge Ingersoll, of New Haven, a United States Circuit judge, and Judge Sherman, of Michigan.
Secretary Thompson and the Patent Office
We understand that the present Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Jacob Thompson, takes a deep interest in the success of the Patent Office. This is as it should be, and if it proves true from his official acts, he will enjoy a reputation on this point which we do not feel willing to ascribe to any of his predecessors.
In the selection of R.R. Rhodes, Esq., of Louisiana, as the successor of Dr. Breed, in the Chemical Department, it appears that his qualifications were vouched for to Judge Mason by the Secretary, and we are happy to learn that evidence of his fitness is already seen. As a general thing, the examining corps are able, faithful, and capable, and we should be sorry to learn of removals on mere political grounds. The guillotine, however, could be usefully employed in two or three departments, and we shall be glad to see it put to work, as we doubt not it will be in due time. We presume, however, that no removals will be made until a new Commissioner is appointed.