About ASME Pitt
Founded in 1880, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers [ASME] is a non-profit educational and technical organization serving a worldwide membership of 125,000. ASME's goal is to promote and enhance the technical competency and professional well-being of our members, and through quality programs and activities in mechanical engineering better enable its practitioners to contribute to the well-being of humankind.
"ASME was founded in 1880 by prominent mechanical engineers, led by Alexander Lyman Holley (1832-1882), Henry Rossiter Worthington (1817-1880), and John Edson Sweet (1832-1916). Holley chaired the first meeting, which was held in the New York editorial offices of the American Machinist on February 16 with thirty in attendance. On April 7 a formal organizational meeting was held at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, with about eighty engineers, industrialists, educators, technical journalists, designers, shipbuilders, military engineers, and inventors. The latter half of the 19th century witnessed the widespread establishment schools and institutions in engineering. Engineers of the day moved easily among the concerns of civil, industrial, mechanical and mining engineering, with less distinction among them. Many groups were seeking to create organizations of specialized professional standing. But for mechanical engineers, none were devoted to machine design, power generation, and industrial processes, to a degree that was capable of projecting a broader national or international role to advance technical knowledge and systematically facilitate a flow of information from research to practical application. The Institution of Chartered Mechanical Engineers had been successfully established in England, 33 years earlier in 1847. In the United States, the American Society of Civil Engineers had been active since 1852, and the American Institute of Mining Engineers had been organized in 1871. Holley had been vice-president of one and president of the other. Mechanical engineers practiced in industries such as railroad transportation, machine tools, steel making, and pumping. In 1880 there were 85 engineering colleges throughout the United States, most of them offering a full mechanical engineering curriculum with the degree of M.E. The first annual meeting was held in early November 1880. Robert H. Thurston, professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute and later Cornell, was the first president. Thurston had established the first model mechanical engineering curriculum and laboratory. Steam power drove the technology of the day: locomotives, ships, factory machinery, and mine equipment. The Corliss engine and the Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boiler were in their heyday. The first real US central power plant "Thomas Edison's Pearl Street Station in New York City" ushered in the era of great electric utilities in 1882. The internal combustion was not far from application. Conglomerates such as US Steel were formed. Industrial research laboratories, such as those at General Electric, du Pont, and Eastman Kodak, proliferated." -- ASME