A-13982, MAY 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 900

A-13982: May 7, 1926

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1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12. ONE BID ONLY WAS RECEIVED. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT MAY PURCHASE THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER UNDER THE APPROPRIATION. THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER IS DESCRIBED IN A PAMPHLET ISSUED BY THE COMPANY AS AN AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC-DRIVEN MECHANISM WHICH OPERATES A STANDARD TYPEWRITER MOUNTED UPON SUCH MECHANISM. IT IS STATED IN THIS PAMPHLET THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE MACHINE IS TO PRODUCE IN QUANTITY ACTUAL TYPEWRITTEN LETTERS OF THE SAME OR SIMILAR NATURE. THAT IT IS ALSO USED AS ANY OTHER HAND-OPERATED TYPEWRITER. WHEN THE ELECTRIC CURRENT IS SHUT OFF. THAT THE MECHANICAL MOVEMENTS OF THE HOOVEN ARE CONTROLLED BY A PERFORATED STRIP OF RECORD PAPER SIMILAR IN LOOKS TO A PERFORATED ROLL USED ON A PLAYER PIANO.

A-13982, MAY 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 900

PURCHASES - AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITERS - COMMERCE DEPARTMENT THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER, BEING A MACHINE USED TO PERFORM WORK OF A KIND WHICH CAN BE PERFORMED BY AN ORDINARY STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINE, MAY NOT BE PURCHASED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 FROM THE APPROPRIATION "CONTINGENT EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, 1926," AT PRICES IN EXCESS OF THOSE PRESCRIBED FOR STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 766.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MAY 7, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

IN RESPONSE TO ADVERTISEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR A HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER, OR EQUAL, ONE BID ONLY WAS RECEIVED, THAT OF THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER COMPANY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $725. IN VIEW OF YOUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1925, RELATIVE TO THE PURCHASE OF A WOODSTOCK "ELECTRITE" TYPEWRITER, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT MAY PURCHASE THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER UNDER THE APPROPRIATION,"CONTINGENT EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, 1926.'

THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER IS DESCRIBED IN A PAMPHLET ISSUED BY THE COMPANY AS AN AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC-DRIVEN MECHANISM WHICH OPERATES A STANDARD TYPEWRITER MOUNTED UPON SUCH MECHANISM, A SMALL ELECTRIC MOTOR BEING USED FOR THE PURPOSE. IT IS STATED IN THIS PAMPHLET THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE MACHINE IS TO PRODUCE IN QUANTITY ACTUAL TYPEWRITTEN LETTERS OF THE SAME OR SIMILAR NATURE, MECHANICALLY; THAT IT IS ALSO USED AS ANY OTHER HAND-OPERATED TYPEWRITER, WHEN THE ELECTRIC CURRENT IS SHUT OFF; THAT THE MECHANICAL MOVEMENTS OF THE HOOVEN ARE CONTROLLED BY A PERFORATED STRIP OF RECORD PAPER SIMILAR IN LOOKS TO A PERFORATED ROLL USED ON A PLAYER PIANO; THAT THE PERFORATED RECORD IS MADE ON A SPECIALLY DESIGNED MACHINE FOR THIS PURPOSE, CALLED A PERFORATOR, AND IS A PART OF THE EQUIPMENT; AND THAT AFTER THE STENCIL OR RECORD OF THE LETTER TO BE WRITTEN HAS BEEN PREPARED IT IS PLACED ON THE DRUM OF THE AUTOMATIC WHICH IS THEN READY TO OPERATE.

THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 766, PROVIDES THAT NO STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINE SHALL BE PURCHASED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE BY THAT OR ANY OTHER ACT AT PRICES IN EXCESS OF THOSE PRESCRIBED THEREIN EXCEPT THAT BOOKKEEPING AND BILLING MACHINES ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED FROM ITS OPERATION.

IN 4 COMP. GEN. 1045, DEALING WITH THE PURCHASE OF NOISELESS TYPEWRITERS IT WAS HELD THAT IT IS IMMATERIAL, SO FAR AS "STANDARD" IS CONCERNED, WHETHER THE OPERATION IS NOISY OR NOISELESS, THE NEED SUPPLIED BEING THE SAME--- THE DOING OF WORK FOR WHICH THE TYPEWRITER IS BASICALLY MADE. LIKEWISE, IT WAS HELD IN DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1925, A-12212, WITH REFERENCE TO AN ELECTRIC-DRIVEN TYPEWRITER THAT IT WAS ALSO IMMATERIAL, SO FAR AS "STANDARD" WAS CONCERNED, WHETHER THE OPERATION BE BY HAND POWER OR ELECTRIC POWER.

IT IS NOT CONTENDED THAT THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER CAN BE USED TO PERFORM WORK WHICH CAN NOT BE PERFORMED BY A STANDARD TYPEWRITER, AND IT IS NOT SHOWN IN THE SUBMISSION THAT THE NEEDS OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR WHICH THIS MACHINE IS DESIRED CAN NOT BE SUPPLIED BY A STANDARD TYPEWRITER. APPARENTLY THE ONLY ADVANTAGE CLAIMED FOR THE AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION OVER THE ORDINARY TYPEWRITER IS THAT A GIVEN QUANTITY OF WORK OF A CERTAIN CLASS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED MORE EXPEDITIOUSLY BY THE USE OF AN AUTOMATIC THAN BY THE USE OF AN ORDINARY TYPEWRITER OPERATED BY HAND. WHILE THE MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOOVEN AUTOMATIC MAY BE AND NO DOUBT IS ESSENTIALLY DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF AN ORDINARY HAND- OPERATED TYPEWRITER, YET, AS STATED IN THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1925, THE ESSENTIAL MATTER FOR CONSIDERATION IS WHETHER A STANDARD TYPEWRITER WILL SUPPLY THE NEED, AND IF IT WILL, THE PAYMENT OF MORE THAN THE PRICE FIXED IN THE STATUTE FOR A STANDARD MACHINE IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT UPON THE FACTS PRESENTED, THE PURCHASE OF A HOOVEN AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITER IN THE AMOUNT OF $725 UNDER THE APPROPRIATION ,CONTINGENT EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, 1926," IS NOT AUTHORIZED.