American Welding Society - Past Presidents
AWS Boasts a Who's Who of Presidents
Page 1, 1919 - 1961
Page 2, 1962 - 1999
Page 3, 2000 - 

1938 Annual Society Banquet hosted by H.C. Boardman, Director of Research for the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company and AWS president (1938-39).

Many of AWS's presidents were part of America's robust plunge into the age of technology where events like the World Wars and the Depression, and names like "Titanic," "Truman," boiler code," and "Space Shuttle" are as solidly connected to their work as the welding they so convincingly advocated. They were professors, engineers, railroad and bridge builders, chemists, authors and executives. One thing they all held in common - a belief in the possibilities and power of welding.

Find out who?...

  • Became a professional baseball player before returning to engineering.
  • Created the Navy's first metallurgy lab.
  • Was decorated with the French Legion of Honor.
  • Designed and equipped RPI's first welding laboratory.
  • Made the first tests on fillet welds in longitudinal shear.
  • Organized the AWS Committee on Building Codes.
  • Created a special alloy electrode used extensively in WWII on aircraft landing gears, torpedo airflasks and bombs.
  • Supervised the first steel skeleton tier building in New Orleans and the first steel frame building in Louisiana.
  • Was "inspired" by the Titanic disaster to write "Observation on Ocean Temperatures in the Vicinity of Icebergs."
  • Was a "dollar-a-year" man in WWII for the War Production Board.
  • Was credited with having been among the first to visualize the possibilities of the oxyacetylene process.
  • Was honored along with Herbert Hoover and Thomas Edison by the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Was in charge of the structural analysis and design of the world's largest airship dock.
  • Served on a special committee, chaired by Senator Harry Truman, for the investigation of the T-2 tanker Schenectady calamity.

    1919-20, Comfort A. Adams
    Woodrow Wilson personally selected the Lawrence Professor of Harvard University, Comfort A. Adams, to chair the Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corporation with America's entry into WWI. The outstanding performance of welding in readying US war and transport ships, compelled Adams to begin forming an organization to use this technological phenomenon in as many applications as possible. Besides serving as the first President of AWS, Professor Adams was also the 1918 president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (later IEEE), chairman of the Engineering Division of the National Research Council, and the first chairman of the American Engineering Standards Committee. He was the first recipient of the AWS Samuel Wylie Miller Medal (1927), and in 1930, he was elected a member of the Engineering Section of the National Academy of Sciences, joining only twenty others so honored, including Herbert Hoover and Thomas Edison. He was director of AWS' research arm, the American Bureau of Welding, from 1919-1935. The Bureau was also the research body for the Engineering Division of the National Research Council. The Council itself was formed from the National Academy of Sciences by Presidential Executive Order in 1918.

    1920-21, J. H. Deppeler
    Chief Engineer for the Metal and Thermite Corp., New York, Mr. Deppeler is considered an AWS founder. For many years he was active in the American Bureau of Welding, serving as chairman of its Thermite Welding Committee.

    1921-22, S. W. Miller
    Mr. Miller, who received his mechanical engineering degree from Stevens Institute in 1897, served with Professor Adams in the work of the Emergency Fleet Corporation. He is considered a founder of AWS and served as a director of the American Bureau of Welding as well. His early career was in railroads, where he advanced to the position of Master Mechanic with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He joined the newly formed Union Carbide and Carbon Research Laboratories in 1921. Mr. Miller served on the Welding Subcommittee of the Boiler Code Committee. He was "credited with having been among the first to visualize the possibilities of the oxy-acetylene process," and endowed the Miller Medal, annually awarded by AWS for "work of conspicuous merit in advancing the art and science of welding."

    1922-23, C. A. McCune
    Because he was apparently "known from Boston to San Francisco," the Journal of the AWS declined to provide more information on Mr. McCune.

    1923-24, T. F. Barton
    London-born, Mr. Barton was "essentially a railroad man, having started as call boy for the Grand Trunk in 1880." At the time he was elected AWS President, he was Master Mechanic of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. He served as AWS Treasurer, chairman of the New York Section and ensured that all the welders of his employer were members of AWS.

    1924-25, E. H. Ewertz
    Born in Sweden, Mr. Ewertz emigrated to the US around the turn of the century. His professional career was in shipbuilding and, at one point, he was in charge of all submarine boat construction at the Fall River (Quincy, MA) facilities. At the time of his election, Mr. Ewertz was general manager of Bethlehem Shipbuilding's plant at Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is also considered an AWS founder and served with fellow presidents Adams and Miller in the Emergency Fleet Corporation. Under his leadership a "critical review of existing information on the application of the arc welding to ship construction" was undertaken by the Electric Arc Welding Committee.

    1925-26, Alfred Oehler
    Prior to becoming associate editor of Railway Age and editor of Railway Electrical Engineer, University of Wisconsin graduate Mr. Oehler worked in the test and experimental departments of the General Electric Company. He also worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad as well as the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light & Power Company. He was also chairman of the AWS national "meetings and papers" committee.

    1926-28, F. M. Farmer
    One of only a handful of AWS Presidents to serve two terms, Mr. Farmer, "an engineer by profession," received his degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1899. At the time of his 1926 election as AWS President, he was chief engineer for Electrical Testing Laboratories in New York. He had also been president of ASTM in 1924, a member of the Emergency Fleet Corporation's Welding Subcommittee, a member of the Bureau of Welding since its organization, and chair of the committee that produced the Bureau's Bulletin No. 1, "Standard Tests for Welds." He was inducted as a Fellow of AIEE and also chaired its committee that prepared standards for arc welding and resistance welding apparatus.

    1928-30, F. T. Llewellyn
    A Welshman, Mr. Llewellyn arrived in the US in 1890, to accept a position in the structural steel department of the Gillette-Herzog Manufacturing Company in Minneapolis. He supervised the construction of the first steel skeleton tier building in New Orleans and the first steel frame building in Louisiana. In 1900, he had charge of the construction of the first steel frame building in Mexico City." His employer from 1906 to 1917, Carnegie Steel, "loaned" him to the Emergency Fleet Corporation, where he devoted his attention to the simplification of steel requirements for ships, and in allotting steel to shipyards. At the time of his election, he was attached to the President's Office of US Steel and was active on the AWS Structural Steel Welding Committee.

    1930-32, E. A. Doyle
    From taking part in the cutting operations necessary to raise the battleship Maine from Havana harbor, Mr. Doyle embarked on a career-long association with welding. He learned the fundamentals at a company's trade school in Jersey City, later becoming a salesman for the same firm. He rose to the rank of major in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the first World War. Starting in 1922, he was employed by the Linde Air Products Company as a consulting engineer in charge of process development. He organized the AWS Committee on Building Codes, and was a charter member of the Society of American Military Engineers.

    1932-34, F. P. McKibben
    A bridge engineer of international reputation, Mr. McKibben designed, among many others, the New Bedford, MA, drawbridge with revolving weight of 2,000,000 lbs, and the Veterans' Memorial Bridge in Rochester, NY. In 1922, with Ernest Humphrys, he made the first tests on fillet welds in longitudinal shear. He was instrumental to the welding of the DuPont office building in Wilmington, DE, the Edison office building in Boston, and the welded steel facing of the Penrose-Rosemont Dam in Colorado. He wrote "Steel Bridge Construction" for the American Civil Engineers Handbook, served on numerous AWS committees including Structural Steel Welding and Pipe Welding, and taught for twenty-two years at MIT, Lehigh University and Union College. He won the AWS Samuel Wylie Miller Medal for his outstanding work in the development of the art of Structural Fusion Welding.

    1934-35, D. S. Jacobus
    Earning his doctorate in engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1884, Dr. Jacobus taught there until 1906, when he left to join Babcock & Wilcox. Here and eventually progressed to become head of that company's engineering department. He would later use his experience as president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1916-17), his presidency of the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (1906-07) and his chairmanship of the Boiler Code Committee to bring about the liberalization on the use of welding for any thickness or size of pressure vessels providing the welding is properly done and meets required tests.

    1935-36, J. J. Crowe
    While apprenticing at the National Bureau of Standards, Mr. Crowe completed his education at the George Washington University through evening classes. Along with his Bureau mentor and supervisor, Dr. G. K. Burgess, he helped established its Heat Division. He co-authored a number of papers on thermometry, pyrometry and metallurgy. One, "Observation on Ocean Temperatures in the Vicinity of Icebergs," was "inspired" by the disaster of the Titanic. Because of his expertise in metallurgy, he was loaned to the US Navy in 1915. During his work at the Boston Navy Yard, he created the Navy's first metallurgical laboratory and was then recruited by the Navy to establish additional labs at other yards and was instrumental in solving metallurgical production problems in the start-up activities of the Naval Aircraft Factory at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. At the time of his election as AWS President, Mr. Crowe was Engineer in Charge of Apparatus Research and Development for the Air Reduction Company in Jersey City.

    1936-37, Alfred Gibson
    Toronto-born, Mr. Gibson earned his degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University in 1909. At the time of his election, he was executive vice president of Wellman Engineering Company. Under Mr. Gibson's direction, Wellman Engineering widely developed their welding operations. Their use of low alloy steels in welded construction has been extensive, and Mr. Gibson is recognized for his research and investigation of the available low alloy high strength steels. Although a hobby, Gibson's cabinet making was so professional, that his work was exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

    1937-38, P. G. Lang, Jr.
    Mr. Lang graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1905 with a degree in civil engineering. Starting as a draftsman for American Bridge Company, he was recruited by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad system, where he progressed to Engineer of Bridges. Projects he supervised included the Allegheny River Bridge in Pittsburgh and the Chicago River Bridge in Chicago. Serving AWS not only as President, but also as chairman of the Committee on Bridges, he helped to formulate the first AWS bridge code, which was promptly endorsed in 1936 by the American Railway Engineering Association and the American Association of State Highway Officials. Mr. Lang was credited for the "clear thinking, patience and fearlessness" that led to changes in the AWS bylaws and methods of operation "which insured the direction of travel of the Society in its goal to become the leading technical and scientific organization in the world on welding."

    1938-39, H. C. Boardman
    A 1910 graduate of the University of Illinois, Mr. Boardman's spent his career with Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, first as draftsman, and finally as Director of Research. In the years between, he served in the 332nd Field Artillery, 86th Division in WWI, achieving the rank of major in 1918, and taught engineering at the University of Illinois while earning a second degree in civil engineering (1924.) Mr. Boardman was a prolific author, producing a number of articles on welding storage tanks and pipelines, as well as on mathematics and hydraulics. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, chairman of the AWS Chicago Section, and a member of ASM, the ASME Boiler Code Committee and API.

    1939-40, G. T. Horton
    After graduating from Rennsselaer Polytechnical Institute in 1893 as a civil engineer, Mr. Horton started his first assignment for his father's company, Chicago Bridge and Iron, surveying for the center of piers to accommodate anchor bolts. His father had been a bridge-builder, but Mr. Horton was more interested in tanks. He designed and built many of the largest tanks in the world and, at the time of his election, was president of Chicago Bridge and Iron.

    1940-42, Colonel G. F. Jenks
    Colonel Jenks was chief of technical staff, Ordnance Department, US Army, Washington, DC, when he had already served as de facto AWS President during the illness of President Lang. Elected in his own right in 1940, this Harvard Business School graduate (MBA, 1930) was decorated by the French with the Legion of Honor and by his own government with the Distinguished Service Medal.

    1942-43, K. L. Hansen
    Immigrating to the US from his native Norway in 1901, this AWS President was the inventor of the Hansen Arc Welder. He was retained as a consultant for the Harnischfefer Corp., Milwaukee, in 1932, to work on problems pertaining to welding and welding equipment while they manufactured and marketed his welder. He also worked for some of the American giants of the early twentieth century: Western Electric, Chicago Edison, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing and the Louis Allis Company.

    1943-44, David Arnott
    Mr. Arnott was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1878 and graduated from that city's Royal Technical College. Mr. Arnott's career was in shipbuilding, culminating in the position of Chief Surveyor of the American Bureau of Shipping in 1925. By 1938, his responsibilities also included those of vice president . With Mr. Arnott's influence, the American Bureau of Shipping made possible full classification for all-welded vessels, the first classification society in the world to do so. He was also a member of the Council, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, as well as the British Institute of Welding, and was the recipient of the Miller Medal in 1941 for "conspicuous contributions to the art and science of marine welding."

    1944-45, A. C. Weigel
    A 1908 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Mr. Weigel eventually became vice president of Combustion Engineering Company. He served on the ASME Boiler Code Committee, was chairman of the AWS Publications Committee, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Welding Research Council.

    1945-46, W. F. Hess
    By 1945, Dr. Hess was a professor of metallurgical engineering at Rensaelaer Polytechnical Institute in Troy, NY, the school he graduated from in 1925. He designed and equipped RPI's welding laboratory and ultimately became head of that facility. He arranged for the Welding Research Committee to endow a fellowship to study the spot welding of low-carbon and stainless steels and was similarly successful with the International Nickel Company, which established a Resistance Welding Fellowship in 1939. To assist the war effort, the RPI Welding Laboratory was used in cooperation with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics to research aircraft spot welding. Dr. Hess established the first program of war research under the War Metallurgy Committee of the National Research Council and assisted the Production R&D arm of the War Production Board similarly. In 1944, Dr. Hess was awarded the Lincoln Gold Medal by AWS and, in that same year, was awarded the University Award by the Resistance Welding Manufacturers Association.

    1946-47, L. W. Delhi
    Unable to finish his studies at USC, Mr. Delhi became a professional baseball player for several years before returning to engineering. His career included a long-time association with Western Pipe and Steel Company, as well as war time work in shipbuilding for the US Maritime Commission, which included special construction of 48 all-welded C3-type vessels. He also supervised a comprehensive ship repair program for the Navy and the War Shipping Administration. While President of AWS, he also served as president of the California Metal Trades Association. At the time of his AWS election, he was vice president of Hunt, Mirk & Company in San Francisco.

    1947-48, H. O. Hill
    Mr. Hill's professional career survived three major acquisitions and by 1947, he was assistant chief engineer, Fabricated Steel Construction, Bethlehem Steel Company. In sixteen years of AWS membership, Mr. Hill's committee work included Symbols, Storage Tanks, Standard Qualification Procedures, Technical Activities and a special task group to study the future needs of the Society, which led to the hiring of an Executive Secretary.

    1948-49, G. N. Sieger
    This Lehigh University graduate was president of both AWS and RWMA, as well as chairman of the AWS Detroit Section. A captain of Motor Transport and Company Commander in WWI, he was a "dollar-a-year man" in the second World War for the War Production Board. He was instrumental in the formation of the Carboloy Company, and, indeed, was its first employee. He was also president and general manager of his own company in 1933.

    1949-50, O. B. J. Fraser
    A 1916 graduate of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Mr. Fraser returned to Canada as International Nickel's superintendent of its Electrostatic Fume Precipitation Plant. Ultimately, he rose to assistant manager of its New York City-based Development and Research Division. Mr. Fraser worked closely with the Mellon Institute in the study of corrosion of nickel and nickel alloys. At the time of his AWS election, he was vice chairman of the AWS-ASTM Committee on Filler Metal, as well as chairman of the AWS National Membership Committee.

    1950-51, H. W. Pierce
    An Annapolis alumnus, Mr. Pierce completed his postgraduate work at MIT in naval construction, with a thesis entitled, "Effect of Welded Attachments on Strength of Longitudinal Members." He served as the US Navy's Naval Constructor until 1930, when he joined New York Shipbuilding Corp. At the time of his AWS election, he was Assistant to the President. He served on a special committee, chaired by Senator Harry Truman, for the investigation of the 1942 T-2 tanker Schenectady calamity, subsequently, serving on many similar advisory committees in connection with the ongoing investigation of welding stresses in ships. In 1947, Mr. Pierce was sent to study Japanese shipbuilding by the War Department "in connection with reparations and determination of minimum industrial levels of shipbuilding." He became an honorary member of the Japan Welding Society.

    1951-52, C. H. Jennings
    The author of "How to Weld 29 Metals" and "50 Lessons in Arc Welding," Mr. Jennings was a 1928 graduate of Iowa State College at Ames. With an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, Mr. Jennings was hired by Westinghouse Electric Corp. and immediately selected for its Graduate Student Course. By 1936, he was in charge of Westinghouse's welding research conducted at its Chemical and Metallurgical Department labs. Three years later, he was awarded the Westinghouse Silver "W" and Order of Merit. He was the 1950 AWS Adams Lecturer.

    1952-54, F. L. Plummer
    While on leave from the Case School of Applied Science, where he was an associate professor in mathematics, civil engineering and structural engineering, Mr. Plummer was in charge of the structural analysis and design of the world's largest airship dock for Goodyear Zeppelin Corp. in Akron, OH. In the succeeding years, he consulted for Republic Steel, Dow Chemical, and the US Corps of Engineers. From 1937 to 1940, he was chief design engineer of the Main Avenue Bridge Projects in Cleveland. This project included the main bridge structure about one mile long with complicated approach structures. At the time of his AWS election, he was director of Engineering for Hammond Iron Works, Warren, PA. He was also a member of the Pressure Vessel Committee of the Welding Research Council.

    1954-56, J. H. Humberstone
    Immediately upon graduation from OSU in 1931, Mr. Humberstone was hired by General Electric as a development engineer with an assignment: develop coatings to be applied to heavy covered metal-arc welding electrodes. During the second World War, he was on leave of absence to aid the war effort as research supervisor of welding for the War Metallurgy Committee. Mr. Humberstone was recruited by Air Reduction, and with its reorganization in 1950, he became president of Airco Equipment Manufacturing Division. In the space of a few years, he was vice president of the parent company, Air Reduction, and president of Ohio Chemical and Surgical Equipment Company, a subsidiary of Airco.

    1956-57, J. J. Chyle
    By 1926, Mr. Chyle was head of welding electrode research at A.O. Smith Corp., and, ten years later, he was director of Welding Research. Mr. Chyle invented and patented a number of welding electrodes and welding processes, including the first extruded all-position type of electrode in 1927. This original electrode was of the cellulosic titanium dioxide type, which is now classified as the E6010 type. Mr. Chyle's special alloy electrodes for the welding of high strength alloy steels were used extensively in World War II on aircraft landing gears, torpedo airflasks and bombs. He helped launch the AWS Milwaukee Section and was the 1955 Samuel Wylie Miller Medal winner. He also delivered the 1951 Adams Lecture entitled, "The Welding of Copper by the Inert-Gas Metal-Arc Process."

    1957-58, C. P. Sander
    Mr. Sander's experience covers a broad field in welding, such as railroad equipment, shipbuilding, pipelines, boilers, pressure vessels, oil refinery installations, steel structures and various other welded products. At the time of his AWS election, Mr. Sanders was general superintendent, at the Vernon Plant of the Consolidated Western Steel Division of US Steel Company in Los Angeles. His career had taken him from graduate work in engineering at USC, to Pacific Car and Foundry Company in Seattle, to Western Pipe and Steel, where he remained after its acquisition by Consolidated Western. He served AWS as chairman of the Los Angeles Section and several terms as national vice president. He was also a member of the Welding Research Council, ASM and API.

    1958-59, G. O. Hoglund
    A native of Milwaukee, Mr. Hoglund's entire professional life was with ALCOA, with a brief two years spent with the Navy Department's Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, DC, designing propellers. He joined ALCOA in 1928, leaving the University of Minnesota, where he was an assistant professor. At the time of his election, he was in charge of the Welding Division in the ALCOA Process Development Laboratories. In 1939, Mr. Hoglund was the recipient of the Lincoln Gold Medal for his paper, "Spot Welding the Aluminum Alloys."

    1959-60, C. I. MacGuffie
    Mr. MacGuffie did so well as marketing manager for the Welding Department for General Electric, that he was recruited away by Air Reduction Sales Company in 1959 to head their new Special Products Department. At the new company his responsibility was to supervise the design of complete welding systems. His 35-year career in welding started almost as soon as he completed requirements for his degree in electric engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Along the way, he served as chairman of the Philadelphia Section, AWS Director-at-Large, past chairman of the Welding Section of NEMA, and as a member of AIEE and the American Ordnance Association.

    1960-61, R. D. Thomas, Jr.
    Mr. Thomas earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry from Cornell University. He joined Arcos Corp. in 1937, as director of research and engineering, and nineteen years later, he was president. He has contributed to the growing body of information on welding through service on numerous committees, including those of AWS, the US Navy, NEMA, the Welding Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. Mr. Thomas was instrumental in establishing welding courses at Drexel Institute of Technology, and taught both there and at Temple University. An international lecturer, he was the recipient of the 1958 Samuel Wylie Miller Memorial Medal. Mr. Thomas currently heads R. D. Thomas and Company, East Fairfield, VT, and is active on several AWS committees. He also serves, in various capacities, on the American Council of IIW

    Page 1, 1919 - 1961
    Page 2, 1962 - 1999
    Page 3, 2000 -