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A Centennial History of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers: 1880-1980
Bruce Sinclair
Bruce Sinclair
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Thirty of the most prominent men in American mechanical industry attended that first meeting of ASME founders in the New York editorial offices of American Machinist on 16 February 1880. They chose as chairman the brilliant consultant to the American Bessemer Steel Association, Alexander Lyman Holley, and, characteristically, he provided a focus for the gathering, outlining both the intellectual boundaries of the mechanical engineering profession and the advantages to be derived from association. All the steps necessary to establish a new engineering society were taken at that meeting. It generated a membership list, committees to nominate officers and to draft by-laws, and scheduled a formal organizational meeting for 7 April in the Stevens Institute auditorium to ratify these measures. The number of those interested in the project grew over the next two months. About 80 men attended the second meeting, which among other things, established for years to come the exclusively masculine character of the Society.

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