Nation: The Mechanical Nose

Almost before the word environment was invented, Washington's Hopfenmaier rendering plant was a synonym for stench. Especially on warm afternoons, the conversion of animal carcasses to fertilizer and soap fills the Potomac air off Georgetown with such industrial halitosis that diplomats homeward bound from nearby Foggy Bottom inhale the gases and are tempted to ask for a transfer—anywhere.

The city's adoption last year of a new air-pollution code brought a fresh breeze of hope. Odors injurious to the public welfare were outlawed; the definition of welfare included reasonable enjoyment of life and property. To enforce the code, alas, the city acquired...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!