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February 2018

26-Jan-2018 3:30 PM | Greg Gdowski (Administrator)

A Sampling from the Archives of the Rochester Engineering Society...1897 - 1967

 by Lee M. Loomis

Continuing with the historical sampling of the earlier writings on behalf of the Rochester Engineering Society, the years following "The Great War", into and through the “Great Depression”, continued to be a time of reaching out for the maturing Society, both locally and nationally.  The meeting minutes describe a series of technical discussions and presentations intended to broaden the technical horizons of the membership (especially the CE's, ME's and EE's).  The RES affiliated itself with a number of National technical societies, adopted local Affiliated Societies, frequently held joint meetings with them and continued taking action on a growing list of public matters.  Certain issues of standardization, some crucial to public safety, became the responsibility of the RES and its affiliates. In the pervasive economic downturn of the “Great Depression”, the magazine offered classified advertising for unemployed engineers, technicians and draftsmen and took other steps to try to deal with the crisis. Still, it continued its effort to shape the function, purpose and infrastructure of the City of Rochester, and beyond. Soon, war would again affect the Society, taking away many of its leaders while providing opportunities for others to step forward to fill these vacancies.  In an effort to provide even greater perspective on the happenings and concerns of the day, a synopsis, featuring selected items from "The Rochester Engineer" has become an integral part of this series. The Second World War and the Korean Conflict are now history. These experiences have changed the face and, no doubt, the future of the community. The Rochester municipal leadership and the industrial community have become immersed in the cold-war, growth economy.

April 26, 1967 (Special Meeting of the Executive Committee – Chamber of Commerce) The Executive Committee approved a motion to immediately borrow $1,000., from Lincoln Rochester Trust Company, to defray operating expenses.

“The Rochester Engineer” (April 1967) This month’s RES Evening Meeting, hosted by Friden, Inc. at their plant on Humboldt St., featured the new Friden “Conversational Mode Terminal”, which allows keyboarding directly into a computer, with hard-copy output! RES Luncheon topic, “Building an New Rochester”, by Seymour Scher, Rochester City Manager, covered challenges to the City Administration, including express highways, rapid transit, urban renewal, new City, County & Federal Offices, air, truck & train terminals, and the Genesee River. Study, along with much discussion continued regarding the proposed new RES Engineers Center. Members wrote to the magazine expressing concern that locating such a center in a renovated facility (the Krenzer Barn on the new RIT Campus in Henrietta), “on the southern outskirts of the City”, would not, “reflect the dynamics of which the Rochester engineering community is capable.” By action of its Board of Directors, the Monroe Professional Engineers Society became the 15th Affiliate of the RES. This month’s RES Affiliate article described the Rochester of the American Society of Chemical Engineers. Founded in 1908, the AIChE began encouraging the establishment of local chapters and, in 1943, the Rochester Chemical Engineers Club was formed, becoming an official Chapter in 1946 and hosting the 1951 annual National AIChE Meeting, in Rochester. The slate of RES Officers, presented in this issue, included President – John L. Wheeler, Xerox Corp., 1st Vice President – Dr. Edward T. Kirkpatrick, RIT, 2nd Vice President – Alexander M. Beebee, Jr., Rochester Products Division of General Motors, Secretary – Gordon S. Rugg, Eastman Kodak Co., Treasurer – E. Philip Kron, Eastman Kodak Co. Directors – Cecil l. Wilder, Xerox Corp. and G.R. (Bob) Leavitt, Taylor Instrument Companies. An article, “Desalination of Water by Reverse Osmosis”, by Dr. M.E. Rowley and N. G. Baumer of Eastman Kodak Co., discussed the First International Symposium on Water Desalination, held in 1965 in Washington, DC. and reviewed the contributions made by Kodak’s Polymer Technology Division to the development of cellulose acetate membranes to support, and enhance the reverse osmosis process. Included in this month’s RES Affiliate meeting topics were “Power Train Development of the Bell “Huey” Helicopter” (Society of Automotive Engineers), “The Digital Computer as a Laboratory Instrument” (IEEE) and “The Design and Construction of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building” (ASCE).

May 3, 1967 (Board of Directors Meeting – Rochester Products Div. G.M. Corp) The Board heard a report that the Society would end this year (1966-67) with a deficit of $8,000., instead of the $3,600 forecasted. This was largely due to the unbudgeted purchase of the display panels for the Engineers’ Week exhibit, architect’s fees for the designs for the Engineers’ Center and shortfalls in expected income from the Seminars and “The Rochester Engineer”. The Board approved a motion to terminate the RES Custodian Account with Lincoln Rochester Trust Company, with its $200 annual fee. The Board approved a motion to increase annual RES dues from $20 to $25., effective with the new year (1967-68). The Board also approved the membership applications of seven new members. A letter of resignation from Dr. John W. Graham (Past RES President, now President of Clarkson College of Technology) was rejected, in favor of having RES Executive Director, Norm Howden, write and invite Dr. Graham to consider becoming an RES Sustaining Member, or else a non-resident member. RES President Evan Edwards introduced Ernest Mohr, Asst. Mgr. Engineering, Construction, Maintenance & Utilities (ECM&U), Eastman Kodak Co., who had recently accepted the Board’s appointment as the Project Manager for the RES Engineers’ Center. Mr. Mohr then addressed the Board regarding the RES, as a “unifying force” for the Rochester engineering community. Key to this effort, he said, “would be the RES’ sponsorship of continuing education for its members, an acute need that was not currently being met.” He expressed the conviction that a demonstration of this need, and the RES’ ability to meet this need was a pre-condition to securing funding for, and establishing an RES Engineers’ Center. He then proposed that a step-by-step plan be developed to address this challenge. The Publications Committee Chair, Ray Hasenauer, announced that the first significant changes in the format of “The Rochester Engineer” would appear in the May 1967 issue, and that magazine subscription rates would increase with the July-August issue.

Subsequent articles in this series will describe the RES' continuing outreach to other technical societies as it considered its role in this and the larger community, along with more of the activities of the RES as it moved to be of greater service to its membership, especially those suffering from current economic crises, and adopted a greater role in shaping the future of the City and its environs. Noted also, will be the contributions made by RES members in the struggle to meet the challenges coming out of World War II, as well as a hoped-for period of post-war growth and prosperity. These articles will also feature an impressive array of RES activities in support of post-war re-emergence of Rochester area industry.

We welcome your questions and comments on this series.


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