Proclaiming the truth
|Publication Date:||1 January 2020|
Why entitle this illustrated history of ASHRAE Proclaiming the Truth? To John E. Starr, the first president of The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE), "finding the truth" was the principal responsibility of the technical society. He stated this eloquently in 1905: "The Association has a weight in any utterance which is many times greater than those of any individual. The public recognizes that such utterance was made in an arena where, if it could have been intelligently questioned or differed from, it would have undergone that ordeal then and there."
Of The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers, he said, "We have undertaken the responsibility of speaking with authority, of finding the truth, and proclaiming it, and a critical world will hold us to our task or pass us by as unworthy."
Starr's words reappeared often, such as under the Society logo on its Circular No. 1, "Heat Transmission of Insulating Materials."
To us, the phrase represents all that is good about ASHRAE. It reminds us that ASHRAE places technological advancement before commercial advantage. It reinforces the notion that the work of ASHRAE is for the benefit of the public. It tells us that ASHRAE members recognize that their obligation to humanity is to scrutinize, to contribute, and to participate.
This resolve to do good is why the work of ASHRAE and the spirit of ASHRAE are as relevant today as was the case 125 years ago when engineers seeking technical truths formed the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE).
James E. Hill, 1996-97 ASHRAE President, saw the good works of ASHRAE reflected in the words of Abraham Lincoln. Hill often quoted a Lincoln speech given at Cooper Union in New York City before the future U.S. president had secured the nomination of his party. "Let us have the faith that right makes might and in that faith let us always strive to do our duty as I understand it," Lincoln said. Hill used that phrase to describe ASHRAE. He noted that within a year of ASHRAE's founding the Society formed a committee to develop a standard of innovation for New York City schools.
The engineers of that long-ago time showed remarkable resolve and foresight. Those who followed, to paraphrase 1994-95 ASHRAE President Billy R. Manning, have "Built on the Shoulders of Giants." Their work continues. This record of accomplishment, as chronicled in the pages which follow, has improved immeasurably the quality of life.
There are several notes that will prove valuable to readers as they ponder the beginnings and growth of ASHRAE:
Both ASHVE and ASRE had their first annual meetings at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering offices. ASHVE refers to the meeting room as the "chamber" and ASRE refers to the meeting room as the "hall." It is one and the same as near as we can figure.
Neither organization used an acronym for its name until sometime after its founding. Actually, the use of acronyms in place of organizational names had not yet been invented. At its birth, ASHVE was referred to as "this society" in its Transactions, while ASRE was called "the Society." By the 1930s, the terms A.S.H.V.E. and A.S.R.E. had begun to appear with greater frequency in the literature. In the 1940s, use of periods fell out of general favor. In some eras, the "The" preceding "American" was considered a formal part of the name by both organizations. Usually, but not always, members of both organizations capitalized the "S" when writing of the "Society." Most often in this book, references were used in each chapter that were appropriate for the time to which they refer. But in some cases, ease of reading required use of acronyms. No doubt, the casual reader will consider this use of capitalization and acronyms inconsistent and in error. Hopefully, the choices illustrate the variety of styles used.
The ASHVE research laboratory was called the Research Bureau, perhaps because it was first located at the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The committee charged with monitoring research was called the Committee on Research Bureau. Later, the committee became known as the Committee on Research.
The dedication "To the Thermal Engineer" that appeared in the first edition of this book is taken from an address delivered by Willis H. Carrier in 1928. Carrier's description of a "thermal engineer" is appropriate today, and all who contributed to this book-first or second edition-share his respect for the profession.
Enjoy your trip through time. If along the way you find errors or omissions, let ASHRAE know. While the research was painstaking and exhaustive, some readers no doubt will recall a different memory or will be able to provide an undiscovered fact. But you have the historian's assurance that any communicated correction will be stored safely away for those who will prepare ASHRAE's 150th anniversary publication in 2044. Errors and significant omissions will also be posted on the Internet-for however long there is an ASHRAE home page and an Internet.