Georgia Tech A.S.M.E.

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Georgia Tech started the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1913 and it has been rapidly growing since then.



The American Society of Engineers was founded in 1880 and is a "not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society."[1]

The Atlanta Section of the American Society of Mechanical engineers was founded in 1911 in part by Dr. John Sayler Coon, the first Mechanical Engineering and Drawing professor at Georgia Tech.[2] Coon was also the first chair of the Atlanta Section of the A.S.M.E., a member of Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi, and earned his honorary doctorate from Georgia Tech and remained there for 35 years.[3] The first meeting of the Atlanta Section took place on June 21, 1913.

Initial By-Laws

The initial set of by-laws for the Atlanta Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers was organized on July 15, 1913, and was not revised and approved until August 25, 1916. These by-laws were of The Georgia Affiliated Technical Societies, which included the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, The American Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and the Engineering Association of the South.[4]

Admission and Expulsion

In the initial by-laws, honorary members had to be proposed by at least ten corporate members, and had to be voted in by a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors. All other members were admitted only by a vote by the Board of Directors. Applicants were required to be referred by at least 3 corporate members. This reference had only to be a member of a national society, but not necessarily a member of this particular society. Any member of the national Technical Societies could be admitted with nothing other than the payment of dues. Any member could be expelled for cause.[4]


Each society within The Georgia Affiliated Technical Societies contained eleven officer positions: one President, two Vice-Presidents, six Managers, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Each of the officers had a specific term of office: President for one year, Vice-President for two years, and Managers for three years. The exceptions came because one of the first Vice-Presidents could only serve one year so that one new Vice-President would be elected each year. The Managers also had an exception first two for one year each, two for two years each, and two for three years each so that each Manager from then on, two new managers were to be elected each year.[4]

Nomination and Election of Officers

Each year at the annual meeting, the President was charged with appointing a Nominating Committee that would consist of five members who would nominate the officers of the society. The voting procedure was conducted with letter ballets.[4]


The constitution could only be amended by a two-thirds vote of the entire corporate membership.[4]


Each society created chapters in different cities or committees based on the number of members in such an area. Each chapter was to contain a Board of Directors, consisting of a Chairman, Secretary and a large enough membership so that each national society was represented in the executive board. The Chairman and secretary are to be elected by the Executive Board. Two members from this Executive Board were also to be placed in the Executive Board of the State organization.[4]

Initiation Fees and Dues

Initiation fees were to be charged to all corporate members, but members of National organizations only had to pay annual dues. Initiation fees for corporate members was $5.00 and for Junior members, $2.50. Annual dues were $5.00 and $3.00 for full members and junior members respectively.[4]

The Beginning At Georgia Tech

In 1913, the Society of Mechanical Engineers at Georgia Tech consisted of 31 members: 3 officers, 3 honorary members, 20 members, and 5 junior associate members.

President--Melville Ame Jamison

Vice-President--Jack Phinizy

Secretary--Victor Carleton Brownson

Treasurer--Victor Carleton Brownson

That year, the honorary members included Dr. John Sayler Coon, Professor Joseph Newton Gray Nesbit, and Professor R. H. Lowndes.[2]

In April of 1926, Dr. Coon returned to Tech after four years of leaving the institute to address the Georgia Tech American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In his address, Coon instructed the students in the problems of life and not just those of their profession. He then told the students not to worry about the controversies involving science and religion, and to just stick to their studies so that they will be better equipped for the future.[5]


  1. About A.S.M.E.. (22 November 2010). In "ASME." Retrieved November 22, 2010 from
  2. 2.0 2.1 Georgia Tech Student Publications. Blue Print, 1913. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1913. Print.
  3. George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (1888). (22 November 2010). In "ASME." Retrieved November 22, 2010 from
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 By-Laws of the Affiliated Technical Societies of the City of Atlanta. 25 August 1916. Print.
  5. "Dr. Coon Addresses A.S.M.E." Technique 15 Apr 1927, Print.
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