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The use of standard reference materials to prove newly developed test techniques, to check the capabilities of a laboratory or of a laboratory technician, or as a bench mark against which instruments may be calibrated has grown to remarkable proportions throughout the industrial world. ASTM's involvement in standard reference materials began in the early 1920s in the field of refractories. The involvement of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards predated this work by some 20 years when that Bureau undertook the maintenance of cast iron standards for the heavy metals industry.
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