Chapter History

ASM Cleveland Chapter

A History of People, Research, Innovation and Production

Cleveland and the Cleveland Chapter have a long and rich history of people, research, Innovation and production.  From turn-of-the-Twentieth Century steel mills that helped make Cleveland an economic powerhouse to cutting edge aerospace technology research in the Twenty-First Century, Cleveland has always excelled.  The Cleveland Chapter Web site header reflects that spirit with several examples of our rich history and current successes.

Republic Steel Electric Arc Furnace

The development of the electric arc furnace was a major step forward in steel production, and Cleveland was a leader in producing high-quality steel using this new and economical process.

Original Photo Caption:

"Two electric furnaces at Republic Steel's Canton plant are being converted to top charging. Compared to the conventional side door charging method, top charging greatly reduces the time required to load steel scrap into electric furnace. Photo shows roof of furnace swung aside for top charging."

(Photo courtesy of Republic Steel Corp. and The Cleveland memory Project,

Dr. Zay Jeffries

The "Dean of American Metallurgists" in the first half of the Twentieth Century, Dr. Jeffries was also an active ASM member.  The Cleveland Chapter still honors his memory each year with a special technical meeting help in his honor that acknowledges a person that excels in academia, research and business.

(Photograph courtesy of The Kittredge Family)

Charles Martin Hall and Aluminum

The Age of Aluminum began in Oberlin, OH, when Charles Martin Hall was able to first refine aluminum ore into aluminum metal economically and in quantity.  In doing so, he turned a metal more precious than gold into an everyday commodity that revolutionized everything from airplanes to food containers.

Original Caption:

"Charles M. Hall house in Oberlin" -- photo verso. A National Chemical Landmark, this home in Oberlin, Ohio is depicted in 1936. Charles Martin Hall was an Oberlin College graduate and Oberlin resident when in 1885 he discovered the chemical process that made the commercial production of aluminum possible. Hall also founded ALCOA.

(Photo courtesy of ALCOA and The Cleveland Memory Project,


Polymer research and production has played a major role in Cleveland's economy.  For many years, Cleveland was a leading manufacturer of rayon and other polymer fibers.

Original caption:

"Chemical Industry becomes part of the textile industry at plants like those operated in Painesville, Cleveland and other cities where deft women workers help the company turn out 120,000,000 pounds of rayon yarn a year in continuous process. May 18 1954."

(Photo courtesy of Industrial Rayon Corporation and The Cleveland Memory Project,

Rolled Steel Product

Cleveland was an integrated steel manufacturing center capable of taking raw materials such as coal, limestone and iron ore and producing all forms of carbon and stainless steel at its many steel mills throughout the region.  Large industrial rolling mills with multiple stands could quickly break down a large ingot and turn it into precision rolled steel plate and coil.

 (Photo courtesy of The Cleveland Press and The Cleveland Memory Project,

Hulett Unloaders

Until the advent of the Hulett ore unloaders, invented by George Hulett of Ohio, the unloading of ores and other bulk product was tedious, time-consuming and manpower-intensive.  The Huletts allowed ports throughout the Great Lakes to quickly and efficiently unload ships bringing the raw materials needed for Cleveland's steel and other industries.  The Huletts remained in operation in Cleveland until about 1992, when self-unloading ships became standard on the Great Lakes.  Two remain with the Cleveland Port Authority in a disassembled state, awaiting a new home as historical artifacts.

Original Caption:

Close-up of a Hulett Iron Ore Unloader with railway hoppers lined up to be unloaded.

(Photo courtesy of Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co., Cleveland, Ohio and The Cleveland Memory Project,

Machine Tools and Machine Shops

In addition to being a primary materials manufacturer, Cleveland has long been a center of the machine tool manufacturing and machining industries.  Dozens of local companies still produce machines, fasteners and other parts.

Original caption:

"Twister bobbins on which rayon tire cord and rayon textile yarn are wound at Industrial Rayon's manufacturing plants are precision-bored at the company's Central Engineering Shops which recently moved into enlarged quarters on West 160th St., Cleveland. The machine shown above is a four spindle, double and boring machine. Joe Marek."

(Photo courtesy of Industrial Rayon Corporation and The Cleveland Memory Project,


ALCOA's 50,000 Ton Press

The roots of ALCOA and many other primary materials manufacturers run deep in Cleveland.  The Aluminum Casting Company located in Cleveland became part of ALCOA after World War I, and the company has continued to invest in the local facilities.  The twelve-story tall, 50,000 ton press, one of the largest in the world, recently underwent a $100M renovation and upgrade.  It is capable of forging parts as large as 22 feet long and 70 inches wide, weighing 10,000 pounds.

Other large scale manufacturing can be found throughout Cleveland.

(See also

(Photo courtesy of ALCOA)

NASA's MISSE Experiments

Cleveland's research into new materials does not end at the atmosphere.  NASA's John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field has one of the largest concentrations of scientists and engineers in the world dedicated to aerospace materials and structures research.  In Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE), a series of pallets were attached to the exterior of the International Space Station to evaluate the effects of the space environment upon them.  As one spin-off of the work, atomic oxygen has been developed for a variety of terrestrial uses including cleaning and restoring artwork.

(See also

(Photo courtesy of NASA)

Materials Testing

Throughout its history, materials development in Cleveland has relied upon materials testing at local universities, research centers, materials companies and specialty testing houses.  From research to quality control, Cleveland companies have relied upon everything from simple tensile tests to complex thermal-fatigue mission simulations to ensure the quality and ability of materials.  Testing houses like Element (formerly Stock Herron) are leaders in mechanical testing, inspection, metallography, and chemical analyses.

(Photo courtesy of Element)

Wind Power

The modern wind turbine traces much of its heritage to work done at NASA Lewis Research Center in the 1970s and 1980s.  The work of the researchers at NASA Lewis culminated in a 1 MW commercial wind turbine located in Hawaii.  Cleveland also produces many of the parts that go into today's wind turbines including fasteners.

(Photo courtesy of Cardinal Fasteners)

ASM Past Presidents by Cleveland Chapter Members

† 1925 William S. Bidle

† 1929 Zay Jeffries

2010 Frederick J. Lisy

2015 Sunniva R. Collins