Promoting and Celebrating 
 Engineering in Rochester
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March 2018

01-Mar-2018 7:17 AM | Greg Gdowski (Administrator)

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.

May 17, 1967 (Special Meeting of the Executive Committee – Chamber of Commerce) The Executive Committee approved a motion to borrow an additional $1,000 from Lincoln Rochester Trust Company to meet current operating expenses.

May 23, 1967 (Special Meeting of the Executive Committee – Chamber of Commerce) The Executive Committee approved the membership applications of seven new members.

“The Rochester Engineer” (May 1967) This issue announced, “Sights and Sounds of Vietnam,” a presentation by Rochester Times-Union Reporter, Peter Behr, scheduled for the RES Annual Meeting at the U of R  Faculty Club. Sgt. Behr, a 1962 graduate of Colgate University, had recently returned from a six-week assignment in South Vietnam, and provided a recording of an actual fire-fight in which he participated, scenes of the Vietnam War, and provocative thoughts about the conflict. Feedback from a group of RES officers who recently visited the Cleveland Engineering & Scientific Center focused on “thinking bigger” than just creating a place for engineers to meet. Rather, it should provide facilities and support for educational and technical programs of the more than thirty engineering, scientific and technical organizations in the greater Rochester area. RES President Evan Edwards submitted a detailed report stating, “With diligent study, inspired imagination and dedicated effort, the RES should be able to provide the leadership to establish a center and a program appropriate to the needs of the Rochester community.” He further stated, “The Rochester Engineers’ Center should begin to undergo a careful re-appraisal, by men dedicated to bringing it to fruition.” A small article in this issue announced, “Engineers interested in proposal to convert this country to the metric system of weights and measures should be aware that the US House of Representatives is currently considering a bill to fund, at $500k/year, a study on this issue by the US Dept. of Commerce."  The U of R’s Institute of Optics announced a “Fundamentals of Optics for Physicists and Engineers” course for college-level instructors of physics and electrical and mechanical engineering level, taught by U of R faculty, under the direction of Prof. W. Lewis Hyde. This months’ “Our Affiliates” article featured the American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers ASTME, Chapter 16. The Society, formed in 1932 to advance scientific knowledge in the field of tool and manufacturing engineering, saw its Rochester Chapter, beginning in 1938, grow to over 500 members. Also featured in this issue was part 2 of the two-part series on “Reverse-Osmosis Desalination,” by M. E Rowley and N. G. Baumer, covering equipment design.

June 7, 1967 (Annual Meeting – U of R Faculty Club) Attendance – 39.  A financial report showing a $7,823.21 deficit was presented, along with a discussion of the need for an increase in Regular Members, Sustaining Members, Participating Companies and Affiliates. Following the annual election of officers, the group heard a graphic account, with color slides, of the recent experiences of Times-Union reporter Peter Behr, on the war in Vietnam, followed by many questions. 

June 21, 1967 (Board of Directors Meeting – U of R Faculty Club) Four new RES Regular Members were approved. Following a presentation of an outline for development of a Rochester Engineers’ Center, by Ernest E. Mohr, the Board unanimously adopted this as an official program of the RES. G. Robert Leavitt, Chair of the Luncheon Committee announced that 26 luncheon meeting had been scheduled, with the first meeting being a presentation by Ernest Mohr on the proposed RES Engineers Center. RES Executive Secretary, Norman Howden was excused from the room, while the Board unanimously approved a $1,000 increase in his annual salary.  

“The Rochester Engineer” (June 1967) RES Member Ernest Mohr shared the four reasons for his belief that the RES should found an Engineers’ Center:

People – In 1957, a group of engineers began shaping the RES into an “umbrella” organization that had come to represent the entire local engineering profession.

Money – The 1936 bequest by Kate Gleason to the RES had grown from an initial $25k to over $200k and could serve as “seed” money for an Engineers’ Center.

Membership – The RES is unique among professional societies in its demonstrated ability to develop and follow membership practices that allow all professionals, regardless of their education level, to become part of the organization.

Education – The RES is uniquely positioned to regularly inform its membership of opportunities for keeping abreast of the many new developments in numerous areas of science and technology.

The U of R announced the appointment of Dr. G. Robert Loewy as the new Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, succeeding Dr. John W. Graham who left to become President of Clarkson College of Technology, in the Fall of 1967.

An article, “Plasma-Plating, a New Engineering Technique,” by B. R. Catlin, VP of Heany Industries, Scottsville, NY, described a new plating technique, using a hard ceramic coating containing an aluminum oxide base, to extend the useful life of machine parts. The Rochester Section of the ASCE announced that its next meeting would feature a guided tour of the Ontario, NY, site of the new RG&E nuclear power plant, currently under construction. 

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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