Minnesota Chapter of ASM International

At a meeting of twenty-five people at the Hotel Radisson on October 23, 1919, Bernard Bros proposed the organization of a local chapter of the American Steel Treaters Society. Bros, the president of the Manufacturers Club of Minneapolis, offered the use of the club facilities in the Builders Exchange as a meeting place and suggested that Alexis Caswell, secretary of the Manufacturers Club, could serve as the new groups' secretary. The proposals were accepted unanimously by the group.

Chester Moody, a metallurgist for the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery company, was elected as the first chairman of the Chapter. Caswell was approved as Chapter secretary.

The Chapter's first meeting was held a week later with William Eisenman, National Secretary of the Society, as the principal speaker. Eisenman explained the activities of the Society, which at that time consisted of ten chapters. The purpose of the society, Eisenman explained at the gathering, was to promote the application of new technical knowledge to the heat treatment of steel. Not only technical professionals, but all interested individuals, including steel treating foremen, plant technicians, and executives, would be welcomed as members.

Twenty-nine new members were signed up at that first meeting, and these individuals were considered as the charter members of the new chapter of the American Steel Treaters Society. The charter members were primarily heat treaters, fabricators, and foundrymen. The twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul had the largest concentration of these trades north and west of Chicago and Milwaukee. Thus, the name Northwest Chapter was given.

The early membership concentrated on steel and heavy industry. Industrial production was greatly expanded from manufacturing efforts supporting World War I. Several plants in the area were beginning to make tractors and farm machinery. The automotive industry was boom; Wilcox Trucks were made in Minneapolis, Auto Engine Works was in St. Paul, and the Pan Motor Company was being organized in St. Cloud.

The University of Minnesota has had a prominent role in the development of the Chapter. Especially during the Chapter's early years, many of the Chapter's chairmen were University faculty, from the Department of Metallography or the School of Mines. Dr. Oscar Harder, Professor of Metallography, was a delegate to the convention in 1920 where the American Steel Treaters Society merged with the Steel Treaters Research Society.

Of course, the Chapter continued its affiliation with the national society as it merged to become the American Society for Steel Treaters. In the middle 1950's, the Chapter, now affiliated with the American Society for Metals, was renamed Minnesota Chapter as the materials industry expanded in the west and new chapters were established there.

With World War II and the cold war, the high technology industries supporting national defense became prominent in the area. More recently, Minnesota has become a center for electronics companies and medical device manufacturing. The Chapter membership and activities continue to reflect the makeup of the materials industry in the region, serving the current state-of-the-art technologies as well as the fundamental technologies.