Calibration Services & The NIST

Many companies offer calibration services, and these are crucial to ensure that your equipment is working properly. At Warren Knight, we offer NIST-traceable calibration services, and this NIST designation is an important one. Here’s why.

NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its roots extend back to the earliest days of the United States. For instance, the Articles of Confederation discussed the importance of creating standards for weights and measures, and this is something that has been important throughout history.

During the 19th century, the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, was the name of the agency tasked with establishing these standards. The NIST was founded in 1901, and it actually functions as a physical science laboratory with multiple locations.

You might be wondering why it’s crucial that we even have an agency that sets and maintains standards, but the NIST has a classic example on their website. Did you know that in the early 1900s, there were eight or more measurements for what amounted to a gallon of gas? There were even four different definitions of what the measurement of “one foot” meant. Put in this perspective, it’s easy to understand why the NIST sought to create standards for hundreds of types of measurements.

The NIST even works closely with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) to ensure that our standards align with international standards. This ensures that a kilometer in London equals the same distance as a kilometer in Canada, in Mozambique, in Pakistan, Argentina or anywhere else in the world. 

This is crucial from a commerce perspective, as these scientists, known at metrologists, set standards that make a huge impact on goods that are bought and sold. After all, if your coffee supplier in Kenya sold 10,000 pounds of coffee for $20,000, but their 10,000 pound measurement only equaled 8,000 pounds in the United States, the price you are paying might be substantially high for what you actually receive.

The NIST is an agency that is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and you actually can schedule a tour of NIST laboratories in Boulder, Colorado and in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Typically, these guided tours are given to professionals in certain industries or perhaps scientific or technology experts or students and instructors at research universities. But if you are lucky enough to take a tour, especially at the Maryland location, be sure to check out the gift shop and grab some NIST swag, which we presume includes t-shirts (Keep Calm & Measure On?), mugs, giant pencils and metrology joke books. 

Actually, it might interest you to know that the NIST is responsible for much more than simply creating standards for a foot, a gallon or a kilometer. For instance, the NIST is the official timekeeper for the United States. You can head to and the U.S. national clock will appear, and tell you the precise time to the second.

The NIST actually was a huge part of the investigation following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The NIST team was responsible for investigating all of the conditions that led to the collapse of the World Trade Center, including studying the buildings’ construction and the materials used during construction.

But let’s get back to calibration, which is a huge part of what NIST does. When it comes to our NIST-traceable calibration services, NIST traceability ensures that our technicians are providing measurement results that are traceable. We document the entire process using the guidelines set forth by NIST.

At Warren Knight, not only can we provide you with NIST-traceable calibration services, we also offer repair services. We can calibrate or repair any optical instrument, mechanical alignment instrument, leveling instrument or angle measurement instrument as well as any calibrating instruments that are required for the repair or calibration of your equipment.

If you need certification, we offer three distinct classes of certification to fit any need or budget. We can provide basic certification without readings or with readings provided after calibration is performed. With our highest certification level readings are provided before and after calibration services have been performed and all certificates state traceability to NIST.

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