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Henry Marion Howe

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1912. H. M. Howe.

Professor Henry Marion Howe (1848-1922)


1922 Obituary [1]

News has just been received from America that one of the best-known figures in metallurgical circles has passed away in the person of Professor Henry Marion Howe, University of Harvard and Professor Emeritus of the Columbia College, New York. His life-long devotion to the science of metallurgy has made his name a household word in his own country, Great Britain and the Continent. Professor Howe's integrity and honesty of purpose made his scientific, technical and educational work of special value to the world in which he moved. Nothing of doubt was ever allowed to pass his scrutiny.

In scientific metallurgy he stood almost unrivalled. Amongst his many contributions may be specially mentioned his great work on "The Metallurgy of Steel" which appeared at a most opportune time, and without doubt greatly helped to develop the science of metallurgy, which was then emerging from its comparatively chrysalis state, into the well-ordered branch of science which it now occupies. He was also the author of innumerable papers on metallurgical subjects.

In 1895 he received the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute and the Elliot Cresson Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia; also a special prize and gold medal from the Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale, and finally, in 1917, the John Fritz Gold Medal, which honour was received by Lord Kelvin in 1905, Sir William White in 1911, and last year by Sir Robert Hadfield.....[More]



1922 Obituary [2]

HENRY MARION HOWE, A.M., LL.D., Sc.D., Emeritus Professor of Metallurgy of Columbia University, and an original member of the Institute of Metals, died on May 14, 1922, after a protracted illness, at the age of seventy-four.

Born in Boston on March 2, 1848, he was the son of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who was among the first to assist the Greeks to freedom and independence. His mother, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, was the author of the famous "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Henry Marion Howe graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1865, from Harvard College in 1869, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1871, receiving the Harvard A.M. in 1872, the LL.D. of Harvard and Lafayette Colleges in 1905, and also the Sc.D. of the University of Pittsburg.

From 1872 to 1883 he was actively engaged in metallurgical manufacture, chiefly that of iron and steel, and in 1877 was engaged in Chile in connection with copper smelting.

Between 1880 and 1882 he designed and built the works of the Orford Nickel and Copper Company at Capelton and at Eustis, Canada, and from 1883-1897 practised in Boston as a consulting metallurgist and expert in metallurgical patent clauses, as well as being Lecturer in Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1890 he introduced into America the manufacture of manganese steel and of the Hadfield projectiles, and took an active part in the management of the company which carried on this industry.

He became Professor of Metallurgy at Columbia University in 1897, and on his retirement to take up work as consulting metallurgist he was appointed Professor Emeritus. In addition to "The Metallurgy of Steel," he was the author of "Copper Smelting," 1885 ; "Metallurgical Laboratory Notes," 1902:— the first text-book written for the metallurgical laboratory, and which was subsequently translated into French ; "Iron, Steel, and Other Alloys," 1903, which has also been translated into the Russian language ; and " The Metallography of Steel and Cast Iron " in 1916. To the eleventh edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica " he contributed a masterly article on iron and steel, and he was the author also of over 150 papers on metallurgical subjects.

At different times Professor Howe was Vice-President of the Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company ; Chairman of the National Research Council ; Consulting Metallurgist of the United States Bureau of Standards, and Research Associate of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He was a Past-President of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the American Society for Testing Materials. Professor Howe was an Honorary Vice-President of the Iron and Steel Institute, and an Honorary Member of the American Iron and Steel Institute, Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, the Swedish Academy of Science, the Cleveland (England) Institution of Engineers, the Russian Imperial Technical Society, and of the Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale of France. He was a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society and of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Many honours came to him from various countries.

In 1895 he received the Bessemer gold medal of the Iron and Steel Institute, and he also received a special prize and gold medal from the Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale, the gold medal of the Verein zur Befiirderung des Gewerbfleisses, Germany—the highest distinction which it could bestow upon a foreigner, the Elliot Cresson gold medal—the highest award of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, and finally in 1917 the John Fritz gold medal, which honour was shared by Lord Kelvin in 1905, Sir William White in 1911, and Sir Robert Hadfield in 1921. He was also the recipient of several foreign orders, being a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur of France, and a Knight of the Order of St. Stanislaus of Russia. In the death of Professor Howe the world loses a great metallurgist, whose integrity and honesty of purpose made his scientific, technical, and educational work of special value.


1922 Obituary [3]


HENRY MARION HOWE, Honorary Vice-President, and one of the best-known figures in metallurgical circles, died at his residence in Bedford, New York, on May 14, 1922.

He was born on March 22, 1848, at Boston, Massachusetts, and was the son of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, famous for his services to Greece in her struggle for freedom, and later for his work in the instruction of the blind. His mother, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, was the authoress of the famous battle hymn of the Republic. Henry Marion graduated in 1865 from the Boston Latin School, and four years later received his degree of B.A. at Harvard College. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, afterwards receiving the M.A. in 1872 and the LL.D. in 1905 from Harvard. He spent about twelve years in active work in iron and steel plants, first as a student in the steelworks at Troy, and later as manager of works at Pittsburgh. He designed and built the works of the Orford Nickel and Copper Company, Capleton and Eustis in the province of Quebec, and Bergenpoint, New Jersey. From 1883 to 1887 he resided at Boston, where he practised as a consulting metallurgist and expert witness in metallurgical patent suits and also acted as Lecturer on Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1897 he was called to the Professorship of Metallurgy at Columbia University, from which position he retired in 1913 with the title of Professor Emeritus.

In 1885 he published his first book "Copper Smelting," and in 1891 the first edition of the great work "The Metallurgy of Steel," which was to constitute the principal foundation of his fame. In this volume he embodied the results of a comprehensive study of the literature of his subject, together with intelligent and fruitful researches of his own. A supplementary work entitled "Iron, Steel, and other Alloys," issued in 1903, emphasised what his "Metallurgical Laboratory Notes" in 1902 had already indicated, and established his leadership in the then comparatively recent science of metallography, especially that of iron and steel. Of these three books the "Metallurgy of Steel" and "Metallurgical Laboratory Notes" were translated into French, and "Iron, Steel, and other Alloys" has appeared in Russian.

The thoroughness of Professor Howe's knowledge and research are evinced in more than 300 technical papers read before scientific and technical societies. To the eleventh edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" he contributed a masterly article on iron and steel. The universal recognition of the high quality and value of his work was shown by the numerous honours conferred upon him in America and abroad. In 1895 he received the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute in recognition of his scientific contributions to metallurgical literature, the gold medal of the Verein fiir Beforderung des Gewerbfleisses and the Elliot-Cresson Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute.

In 1916 he was awarded a special prize and gold medal from the Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale, and in 1917 he was awarded the John Fritz Gold Medal. He was a member of various Juries of Expositions and held high orders of several foreign countries, including the Legion of Honour and the Russian Order of St. Stanislas.

In 1893 he became President of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, and was also President of the International Association for Testing Materials in 1912. He was twice President of the American Society for Testing Materials, while a large number of societies elected him an honorary member, including the Russian Imperial Technical Society, the Russian Metallurgical Society, and the Societe d'Encouragement. He was also Chairman of the Engineering Division of the National Research Council, Washington. Great practical service was rendered by him to American industry by the introduction into that country in 1890 of the manufacture of manganese steel and of the Hadfield projectiles made from it.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1894 and made an Honorary Vice-President in June 1916. He contributed to the Proceedings of the Institute the following papers: "The Hardening of Steel," 1895 and 1896; " Notes on the Bessemer Process," 1890; "Commercial Hypereutectic White Iron free from Manganese," 1912; "Notes on Pearlite," 1916; and the work of the Engineering Division of the National Research Council, Washington, in 1919.


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