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Oral-History:Benjamin R. Teare Jr.

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And [Weinherst?] of course?  
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I didn't know that. One other thing was taking place at that time. I started a research project with the help of a woman engineer. She was married to a Westinghouse engineer, and we started a project to try to figure out how copper-covered steel wire behaved. The trade name was Copperwild [?]. This has possibilities because the steel strengthens the wire quite a lot, so if there are spans crossing a river or used for other reasons, this makes a good thing to use! The properties of simple copper wire were well known, but we wanted to see what the steel would do to it. We found that the steel didn't do any harm; it probably helped it a little bit. Then the question came up: what would they do at radio frequencies? That one got to be an IRE paper!  
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I didn't know that. One other thing was taking place at that time. I started a research project with the help of a woman engineer. She was married to a Westinghouse engineer, and we started a project to try to figure out how copper-covered steel wire behaved. The trade name was Copperwild. This has possibilities because the steel strengthens the wire quite a lot, so if there are spans crossing a river or used for other reasons, this makes a good thing to use! The properties of simple copper wire were well known, but we wanted to see what the steel would do to it. We found that the steel didn't do any harm; it probably helped it a little bit. Then the question came up: what would they do at radio frequencies? That one got to be an IRE paper!  
  
 
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Let me just quickly for the record run through the list I have of the Committees that you were involved in and the offices that you held. If there are any of these that you'd want to talk about, feel free. You were Chairman of the Education Committee for AIEE from 1948 to 1950; you were on the Professional Group Coordinating Committee 1948 to 1949; Technical Program 1948 to 1950; Publications 1948 to 1950; Edison Medal Committee 1951 to 1956 and from 1957 to 1959 you were on the Board of Directors. Professional Development and Recommendation [?] Department, 1956 to 1961; Vice- President District Two 1957 to 1959, and then once again on the Edison Medal Committee 1959 to 1964; Board of Directors 1961 to 1964; Research Committee, 1960 to 1962; Claim and Coordination Committee 1961 to 1962; Recognition and Awards, 1961 to 1966; Intersociety Relations 1961 to 1964 and Chairman of that committee 1961 to 1962. Now, we want to talk a little bit about the Intersociety Relations Committee.  
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Let me just quickly for the record run through the list I have of the Committees that you were involved in and the offices that you held. If there are any of these that you'd want to talk about, feel free. You were Chairman of the Education Committee for AIEE from 1948 to 1950; you were on the Professional Group Coordinating Committee 1948 to 1949; Technical Program 1948 to 1950; Publications 1948 to 1950; Edison Medal Committee 1951 to 1956 and from 1957 to 1959 you were on the Board of Directors. Professional Development and Recommendation Department, 1956 to 1961; Vice- President District Two 1957 to 1959, and then once again on the Edison Medal Committee 1959 to 1964; Board of Directors 1961 to 1964; Research Committee, 1960 to 1962; Claim and Coordination Committee 1961 to 1962; Recognition and Awards, 1961 to 1966; Intersociety Relations 1961 to 1964 and Chairman of that committee 1961 to 1962. Now, we want to talk a little bit about the Intersociety Relations Committee.  
  
 
=== American Society for Engineering Education  ===
 
=== American Society for Engineering Education  ===
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[Henville?]
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I think he was hardly involved even in the keynote [?] side groups.  
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I think that’s right. He was in New Mexico or Arizona or some place — there’s somebody from near the West Coast who we could’ve put onto the committee. I don’t know who the heir apparent in the AIEE would have been. I can tell you some people who were probably disappointed in all of this: Len Holmes [?], Al Johnson, and some others, but I don’t know that they were such strong possibilities anyway.  
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I think that’s right. He was in New Mexico or Arizona or some place — there’s somebody from near the West Coast who we could’ve put onto the committee. I don’t know who the heir apparent in the AIEE would have been. I can tell you some people who were probably disappointed in all of this: Len Holmes, Al Johnson, and some others, but I don’t know that they were such strong possibilities anyway.  
  
 
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Well, just from Texas alone we have Pat Haggerty, Elgin Robertson, Lloyd Berkner, and W.R. [?] Clark.  
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Well, just from Texas alone we have Pat Haggerty, Elgin Robertson, Lloyd Berkner, and W.R. Clark.  
  
 
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Well, the thanks really ought to be the other way! You're doing a job for IEEE, and I have a very high regard for IEEE!  
 
Well, the thanks really ought to be the other way! You're doing a job for IEEE, and I have a very high regard for IEEE!  
  
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Revision as of 19:15, 21 October 2008

Contents

About Benjamin Richard Teare, Jr.

Dr. Benjamin Richard Teare Junior's childhood fascination with science and radio helped determine his later career in electrical engineering and influential role within the AIEE and later within the IEEE. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Teare worked several years for the General Electric Company and then joined the Yale University faculty in 1933. In 1939 he headed the new electrical engineering graduate program at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which later became Carnegie-Mellon University. Teare was involved with the accreditation of engineering schools throughout the United States, and was an advisor on engineering concerns for World Bank international projects. He became Emeritus University Professor of Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon after retiring in 1975. Teare was active in many AIEE committees and crucial to the merger of the AIEE and the IRE into the IEEE.

The interview describes Teare's lifelong commitment to electrical questions and the electrical engineering profession as a whole, from the early 1920s to the 1970s. Teare discusses his experiences at the University of Wisconsin, Yale University, General Electric, Carnegie-Mellon University, and with professional electrical engineering societies. He recalls early political decisions surrounding the IEEE's creation, as well as various personalities affecting the merger. The interview also briefly examines Teare's educational philosophy and published materials.


About the Interview

BENJAMIN RICHARD TEARE, JR.: An Interview Conducted by George Sell, IEEE History Center, December 28, 1979

Interview # 035 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Benjamin Richard Teare, Jr., an oral history conducted in 1979 by George Sell, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview

Interview: Benjamin Richard Teare, Jr. Interviewer: George Sell Date: December 28, 1979 Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Family and Early Interests

Sell:

We are in Pittsburgh for an interview with Benjamin Richard Teare Jr. at Carnegie-Mellon University, where Professor Teare is Emeritus University Professor of Engineering. This interview is part of the on-going history archives project.

Dr. Teare, as we discussed, there will be a transcript of this interview, and you'll receive a copy. We will edit and change what might be necessary. After we've gone through it, it becomes part of the permanent archives. I believe that you would accept unlimited access for qualified scholars, when the transcript reaches the stage where it's been edited and corrected.

Teare:

Yes. Provided there are no errors in it, but that is partly my responsibility.

Sell:

Right, we'll share that. Okay, then we can begin.

Teare:

You may call me Dick, if you'd like. My friends do.

Sell:

All right, I'll do that.

Teare:

May I call you George?

Sell:

Please do. Yes. I know you were born in Menomonie, Wisconsin on January 12, 1907, but I don't know very much about your family background, who your parents were...

Teare:

My mother's parents came from Germany, and her father was a forty-niner.

Sell:

Forty-niner?

Teare:

You know, a gold digger in California?

Sell:

Oh! He was a part of the rush! ‘49!

Teare:

He may have gone there later. I don't know — maybe he didn't get there in '49. My father's parents came from the Isle of Man, a small island between Scotland and Ireland. Father was in business. He had a clothing store in Menomonie, which was then a town of about 5,000, seventy-five miles east of Minneapolis. It was a lovely place to grow up. There was a river, and at one stage we had a motorboat. Father had given it up during World War I, but we'd rescued it.

Sell:

How old were you when you rescued the motorboat?

Teare:

Maybe twelve years old.

Sell:

What do you mean you rescued it?

Teare:

Well, the boat was in the boat house without a motor. Father had sold the motor; he'd gotten tired of boating about the time of World War I, when I was ten. Maybe I was older than twelve. Anyway, I had one very good friend who fixed things, made things. He was about my age, and we found a sunken motorboat with a motor in it. We asked him if we could rescue the motor and use it and return it to him. I later found out that Father paid for it. So we pulled the boat up on shore with a block and tackle and took the motor out and took it up to the garage of the car dealer father worked for and overhauled it. It had been under water for some years. We got it to work, and then mounted it in the boat. We had it for several years while I was in high school. After that I lost interest, and my younger brother picked up interest and used it.

Sell:

I don't know whether this was a first experience with tinkering?

Teare:

No, there were other things, but this was part of it. I started out to say that it was a lovely place to grow up. There was a lake below the house, and a park in front of the house with a tennis court. We weren't more than a mile or less from what we called the woods; they were actually farmers' wood lots, I suspect! That was the town. Now, the other kinds of things. My mother's oldest brother was a physician in a small town, an hour's drive away. We'd see him on various occasions, and one time he put on a chemistry show for me.

Sell:

How old were you?

Teare:

My father and mother and brother were there, but mostly he made colors and interesting things. That got me interested in chemistry! Another friend, not the motorboat friend, had a dentist for a father, which gave him access to quite a few chemicals, so we used to do chemistry experiments! In fact, by the time I got into high school chemistry I had done most of the experiments. Sometimes in a hazardous way, but we survived.

Sell:

Did your friend go on to —

Teare:

He became a chemical engineer. The motorboat man became a manual training teacher. There was a school then called Stout Institute, now Stout State University, that the state supported, which at the time specialized in turning out teachers in manual training and home economics. So, a great many of my classmates became high school teachers. Then, there was another thing that helped me to develop a scientific interest. Father would occasionally give me electrical parts — pretty simple things like sockets and switches, and I could wire those things up. One time he came home with a box full of parts from the telephone company. In a town that size, a person knew the manager of the phone company and the electric power and light company, and so forth. So I had done a lot of that, and I had construction sets as a boy and worked with them, and occasionally wound a motor. Radio was coming in then, so I did radio experimenting. I built a radio receiver and an illegal transmitter using a Ford spark coil, as quite a few other people did... At one time when the neighbors' radios didn't work right, they'd call me and tell me to shut off, or quit doing whatever I was doing! That really wasn't so, but that's the reputation I had.

In high school, I had a marvelous teacher of physics, Ralph Bongey. He would stir up a great deal of interest, and that directed me toward majoring in electrical engineering rather than chemistry. The chemistry teacher was good too, so these were the courses that I liked best in high school.

Sell:

And you went to high school in Menomonie, I guess?

Teare:

Yes, yes. I then went to the University of Wisconsin to major in electrical engineering.

Sell:

So you had made the decision to major in electrical engineering —

Teare:

Well, it's more complicated than that. Father and Mother talked to a cousin who was both a mechanical and an electrical engineer, working for the steel company in Duluth. He thought mechanical was better. So I registered first as a mechanical engineer, but by the end of a year I knew that I wanted electrical. Those were the things that fascinated me.

Sell:

Your father had a hobbyist interest.

Teare:

No, he had no interest at all. He was just encouraging me.

Sell:

What made him choose to bring home electrical parts?

Teare:

Well, I suppose that it probably started with the doctor uncle getting me interested in science, and Father went along with it.

Sell:

Sort of to encourage you. Did your mother also encourage you?

Teare:

She encouraged it, but not as directly as Father.

Sell:

And you had mentioned a brother?

Teare:

Yes, he became an electrical engineer, too, and he got into the high power vacuum tube business for General Electric.

Sell:

Did he stay with industry?

Teare:

Yes, he stayed there until he retired.

Sell:

He stayed at GE? Interesting. Is that your only brother? Did you have any sisters?

Teare:

No. I was with my brother at Christmas; that was why I came a day later.

Sell:

There seems to be something that can be shown statistically. For some reason, a great percentage of scientists and engineers come from the Midwest.

Teare:

I know. As a matter of fact, I heard at one time that that was because so many of them grew up on farms. I didn't happen to.

Sell:

Well, that's one explanation. People argue that it's the exposure to farm machinery, which you have to repair yourself, but a city boy is exposed to a lot of technology also. I grew up in New York City, and there's nothing more plainly and openly mechanical and fascinating as a subway train.

Teare:

Sure! That's right. That's a piece of technology that you use every day.

Teare:

But you don't get very close to it. You ride on it, but you don't get to experience anything about its workings.

Sell:

That's right, but there may be parallel explanations as well.

Teare:

I won't argue. Do you want to give me another explanation?

Sell:

I was thinking of the nature of the family structure in the Midwest, and the religious background that may have an effect. There's some reason why science and engineering have a greater appeal for men than women, in spite of major efforts by the government and agencies in affirmative action. One wonders whether there might be some relationship between fathers and sons that somehow tends to generate a fascination with mechanical and engineering, a fascination with the natural world that a girl child is not permitted, perhaps. Is there something to this family structure aspect in the Midwest that is different in the big Eastern cities?

Teare:

I don't know.

Sell:

In talking about your family life, you've had a lot of references to your father, and not much to your mother. Your father had encouraged you and actively participated in your early development toward an interest in natural events and natural phenomena.

Teare:

My mother had been a teacher at one time, probably in the grades, and she encouraged me to do these things. She couldn't provide the tools directly, but she agreed with giving me these things!

Sell:

She was also encouraging you along the lines of book learning....

Teare:

Oh, yes. We had a little library in the town, and we used it a lot.

Sell:

Were there a lot of books available to you in the household?

Teare:

Perhaps we had two to three hundred books in the house, but they were literature, and I didn't use them very much! I remember reading some Mark Twain.

Sell:

Your mother's interest in books was more along the lines of literature then.

Teare:

Yes, and current novels.

Sell:

It wasn't until you got into high school that you were able in an academic way to follow your interest in science, when you took chemistry courses.

Teare:

There was even a science course in the eighth grade. The same high school teacher who did a lot to stimulate my interest taught that. Our homeroom was on one floor, and he was teaching above it. The class met first thing in the afternoon, and we'd all race up the stairs and try to elbow other people aside so we could get to that course! Now that's the ONLY course that I've ever seen or heard of where it's that exciting!! I remember he'd burn iron wire and oxygen; that was pretty good for an eighth grade course.

Sell:

He therefore had a fairly decently equipped laboratory?

Teare:

No, it was pretty rudimentary, but he proceeded anyway. I don't know where he got the oxygen; he probably made it.

Sell:

When did you graduate from high school? Do you recall the year?

Teare:

Yes, it was 1923, and I was sixteen. I skipped a grade.

University of Wisconsin

Interest in Electrical Engineering

Sell:

You were twenty-one when you got your master’s degree. You mentioned that you had decided to major in mechanical engineering and then changed pretty quickly thereafter —

Teare:

The first year was the same for mechanical and electrical. It wasn't really a change, but I was pretty sure I liked electrical phenomena.

Sell:

Can we talk about how you perceived it at that time? You say you were much more fascinated with electrical. Yet when you talk about electrical in basic terms, it's something that you can't see, whereas in mechanical engineering you can see the results of your analysis and your work.

Teare:

Ah, you can see them in electrical, too! You can design a motor and you can see the motor run! You can control the light and watch the light go dim and bright!

Sell:

But it's not a one-to-one reaction!

Teare:

No, it's a little more involved, but mechanical things seemed kind of obvious to me. I mean, they weren't, and I've since done a lot of reading and working in mechanical engineering, and it's exactly the same degree of sophistication or even more so than electrical.

Sell:

That's what I wanted to get to. But at the time, you saw it as a higher plane of analysis, perhaps.

Teare:

No, it was a superficial kind of a decision, you see. Our freshman year had chemistry and mathematics and English. I can't remember what else. So it wasn't either electrical or mechanical. The decision was based on previous experience. I saw no reason to take mechanical because it was supposedly a better kind of job than electrical.

Influence of Edward Bennett

Sell:

At the University of Wisconsin, do you recall any teachers that were particularly influential in your training?

Teare:

Yes. The department head, Edward Bennett, was a tremendously powerful person. He had some ideas that I thought were antiquated, but after I got out I thought they were the really important things. He had developed his own course, and it was a metric system, a system of rationalized units, which never took, but somebody else's did. He worked with very fundamental experiments. For instance, he had a flat plate as a part of a chemical balance. That way you could weigh down the milligrams and that sort of thing with another flat plate. We got the force between them. That's the kind of thing that people worked on a century ago, or a century and a half ago, and that didn't excite me until I got out of school later and realized that that is the tangible expression of electrical quantities. Bennett did another project that I thought was really ahead of its time. He had in the attic at the laboratory a power transmission line and a telephone line, and we had to calculate how much voltage was induced in the telephone line, which again was a very good sort of thing. Various things like that. As a matter of fact, when I wanted to know the force on an insulator some years later I looked in all of the books at the time. Gene's Electricity and Magnetism was supposedly the best one, but I didn't like that. Gene's found the force in the ether, but everybody agreed there wasn't any ether, and how it got from the ether onto the dialectric I never did know! But Bennett's picture was solid, and you could get the force on the dialectric.

Sell:

Did you then consult logs? You would consult your student notes at that point?

Teare:

The book he wrote!

Sell:

Oh, he wrote a book. You hadn't mentioned that.

Teare:

Oh, yes, he wrote a book. He had his own course, and he had a book. It wasn't very popular with the students or elsewhere, for that matter. I'd heard about a contemporary of mine at school who the minute he got through with that course burned the book and changed to public relations!

Sell:

Do you recall the title of the book?

Teare:

Sure! Introductory Electrodynamics for Engineers by Bennet and Caruthers. It's up there on the shelf.

Work with Geophysical Prospecting Company

Sell:

I see it. Well, we're still talking about the University of Wisconsin.

Teare:

It was a good course in engineering. One of the requirements was that before you graduated, after your junior year initially, you had to have a job and see how it went! I think that's a wonderful requirement! It went out in the Depression when people couldn't get jobs, but somehow I persuaded them to let me take a job in geophysical prospecting with a local company. It was really supposed to be a factory job, I think, but they were willing to go along with it, somewhat grudgingly. This was a tremendously interesting experience that turned me towards graduate work. There was a group of about a dozen people. The leaders, five or six people, were really fairly able physicists. The company was called Mason, Slicter, and Hay. Mason was later president of the University of Chicago. A top flight physicist! Slicter later became a professor of geophysics, I think, at one of the California schools. Hay didn't live long enough to do that. These people all had their Ph.D.s, and what they did was take maybe three or four juniors to act as caddies out in the field, and carry things, and they let us occasionally make calculations. Well, this was interesting. They were working for a big mining company as consultants. This was a consulting engineering firm. And they had ten or twelve ways of telling what was underground, from measurements at the surface. One of them was gravity measurements; the others were mostly electric leader convection currents or magnetic, very sensitive. We were working in southern Canada, near Sudbury, where there was a piece of land that was had been explored thoroughly with drill holes. They knew what was under the surface as what was above. We ran these various methods, some of which had been invented by the company, and some of which had not. We ran it over known bodies to see what the responses were, and that was quite exciting. We lived in a tent and rather enjoyed living that way, too!

Sell:

How many students would be involved in a project like this?

Teare:

All in all there were three electrical engineers.

Sell:

So there was a real opportunity to work one to one with these Ph.D.s?

Teare:

Oh, yes, one to one! We'd have to excite the ground, put current into it, or a very low frequency radio wave, or an audio wave, and then go out with a pickup instrument and see what the changes were.

Sell:

And the stimulation to graduate work was...

Summer Work for GE

Teare:

Well, it was because these people were post-graduate people, you see, and that was pointing more towards research and development. I worked for them a second summer too, but that wasn't out in the field. That was tamer, in Madison. That was after my junior year and after my senior year. After my first year of graduate work, I worked for the General Electric Company, just as a summer job, and that was awfully interesting. I worked in the place that was doing work on high-powered vacuum tubes for radio transmitters, very common ones. There were some studies they wanted made... I didn't have any real responsibility, but it was interesting to see how they did do it. While I was there, I heard about a course they had for helping people develop as problem solvers and inventors, and that kind of appealed to me. So when I was offered a permanent regular job there, and the privilege of being in the course, I took it.

Sell:

The first experience at GE was as at what point in your training?

Teare:

After a master's degree. See, I got my master's after the first year of graduate work, and I lost some interest in graduate work then. The other part of doing graduate work is that Professor Bennett offered me a very handsome fellowship. So I took it, and a lot of my work was in physics, which was kind of fun, but I had a feeling that I liked to be closer to things that were going to be used. They were kind of opinionated, and there weren't always tests of whether they were true or not. I wanted to be where real engineering work was going on. The theses that I saw didn't seem to be very important, and that's why I got into industry.

Sell:

You were more interested in tangible results.

General Electric

Test Program and Steam Turbines

Teare:

Yes. So I went to Schenectady, and took the General Electric test program. I can give you a reference on that, in a very recent IEEE Transactions on Education, I think it was, or maybe ASEE Magazine.

Sell:

A reference to...?

Teare:

To the test program.

Sell:

What it was like?

Teare:

Yes. You see, at that time, General Electric hired people and put them in the factory, testing things. This would last for maybe a year or so, and the assignments would be six weeks long, but there would be a total of a year’s worth, and by that time they'd settle down in a department. They don't do that anymore. My first assignment was in industrial control contractors, and that sort of thing, which wasn't very useful to me. Then I got an assignment caddying for a consulting mathematician. Now that was really interesting. An incident that happened about that time illustrates my personal taste in these things. I found I could earn a little extra money by working a few nights overtime. This was testing steam turbines, and I knew nothing about steam turbines. The testing was getting on a platform above the turbine, which was perhaps forty feet long or something like that, and reading thermometers and various other kinds of mechanical engineering instruments. I got a big kick out of feeling the turbine turning under me, and sensing all that power, even though the work was not very inspiring. Then I knew I wanted to be in engineering.

When I was a graduate student, one of the influences was John Bardeen, who was my officemate and classmate in many of the physics courses.

Sell:

As a graduate student?

Teare:

As a graduate student. I had a chance to see how he looked at problems and dealt with them, and his recognition with two Nobel prizes shows that he had something.

Sell:

You were able to go back after working out with him for a while?

Teare:

No, the only time I saw John after that was years later in the Naval Ordinance Lab before Pearl Harbor, where he was working, and so was I.

Sell:

How long did you remain in the training program?

Hysteresis Motors

Teare:

All four years that I was there. I was a student in the training program during the first year, and in the second year a student and a supervisor of another class, and the same all the way through. I had the experience of working under a very clever inventor named Clifford Nichol, who on the one hand could do a job in theory and on the other hand could do a purely mechanical job. It was a joy to work with him. He was working with hysteresis motors. While I was running a class, and being a student, I had an opportunity on the side to develop an automobile voltage regulator when these were quite new. That led to a couple of patents. The company never made them for commercial reasons, because of costs or competition or some such thing.

Sell:

Was this experience that you had with Nichol in hysteresis matters your first exposure to actual work on hysteresis? And that stimulated your interest in it?

Teare:

Yes, because it wasn't known very well. Nichol mostly could take something that wasn't perfect and push it along to perfection, but that didn't happen with the hysteresis motors.

Sell:

You had said that you remained with the course — you had switched, though, to supervisor of the course — I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that.

Teare:

That term needs explanation. The course was run by people who had taken it a year or two before. There were actually four levels of the course. Mostly one, two and three, but four was off on a tangent. People who had taken the course were in charge of giving a section of it a year or two later. Now supervising didn't mean teaching; supervising meant making an outline of what the course was going to include, based on previous outlines and the instruction from the man we reported to, and finding lecturers from the company to come in and talk about a problem and provide a problem. The supervisor, though, graded it.

Sell:

So this was on-going at the same time you were doing practical work for the company.

Teare:

Yeah!

Sell:

Was this done during company hours?

Teare:

The course met usually half a day a week on company time, and the rest of it was at home, working nights on a problem. The rest of the daytime was doing an assignment. That was the supervisor's assignment. If he wasn't a supervisor he'd be somewhere in the plant.

Sell:

Working on a problem.

Thyratons for DC Transmission

Teare:

Another interesting assignment I had was working on a plan for DC transmission. This used thyratrons, which were fairly new. An oscilloscope was primitive, so much so that you wouldn't believe it! It was the old Western Electric tube that was focused by filament current, and I found out quite a lot about the difficulties of it. We found that we had to cool the thyratrons to keep the characteristics from wandering, and it was put down in the plant after I left that assignment. This was a three months assignment for something I'd worked on it in the summer and I couldn't get it to work as well as my boss had six months before. When he went away for a vacation and I couldn't run to him to ask what to do next, I got ahold of this oscilloscope and found out that as the tubes got warm, the characteristics changed. They had to have preferably ideally matched characteristics to get the most out of it, and he'd been working on it in cold weather! That explained why it didn't work! The answer was to cool it, to immerse them in oil. It still is a very tricky circuit, because when it blew it blew! There wasn't any half-way business about it. So I left it with the recommendation that they be immersed in oil, and they put it in the company. Most of the power that the company got was funneled through a DC transmission line just to see if the line would do it, you see. I heard later that it blew, and it blew so bad that circuit breakers went out a hundred miles up the valley, and you couldn't even find the thyratron tubes! They had just vaporized! I understood the company gave that one up at that time! Other circuits were later developed where they could do it, and this is still something that's of considerable interest.

Acquaintances at GE

Sell:

Was Ernst Alexanderson at GE at that time?

Teare:

Yes, I didn't know him. I'd met him of course, and I'd seen him, but I wasn't very close to him.

Sell:

And Weinhurst of course?

Teare:

Yes, yes. I met him, but didn't really work with him.

Sell:

Of course, GE was a real mecca for engineers, all in that period and I guess in many ways it still is. Did you know Dean Ryder there?

Teare:

Well, we were classmates, but I didn't have more than a casual acquaintance with him.

Sell:

After meeting him later, did you recall him?

Teare:

I remembered. I was close to two or three other people. We would work on problems together, and there was one where we even surprised the man who made up the problem! You could do that, especially if you got some people to trade ideas!

Sell:

You never know, particularly with bright minds working together. Shall we talk more about GE?

Advanced Course in Engineering

Teare:

The thing that's important about GE, as far as my career is concerned, is that the educational experience of being a student and a supervisor in what was called the Advanced Course in Engineering was an extremely stimulating and worthwhile course! It's what turned me towards teaching.

Sell:

It was quite unique for industry to have this sort of a program.

Teare:

Well, yes. It's not unique to have a course, but sometimes the course is just like a college course, and this was quite different. This was a course where you may have had a lecture to begin with, about the field in which the problem was assigned. Let's see if I can think of a good problem... well, we had one that involved DC generators and commutating poles, and things like that, trying to design a better commutating pole. So we had to have a lecture to tell us what commutating poles were to begin with! Then we would try to improve them. There was a lecture and a problem, and the problem lasted a week! Sometimes there were several problems, and sometimes there were lectures on new theoretical topics which I thought were not greatly better than you'd get in school. But the teaching idea of new problems, I think, is very worthwhile. I carried it into my teaching. For instance, the problem that I gave freshmen and sophomores was how to get the mass of an astronaut when he's in a weightless environment.

This is something that anybody can understand; you don't need to know about commutating poles to do that, and presumably that is covered in freshmen physics and mathematics. NASA was very much interested in this, probably about ten years ago, because they were wondering what would happen to human beings when they were in a weight-free environment, a gravity-free environment, and they didn't want to lose any astronauts! They also wanted to control other kinds of body functions. So you turned that over to students to see how you'd do it. NASA had had people developing ideas for them. There were perhaps eight or ten that they considered, and then they had narrowed it down to one. The students came up with about those eight or ten! But when the students tried to make it into a laboratory device, it was terrible! You can't expect freshman and sophomores to design equipment, which is what the other part of it was, and of course some of their ideas were no good at all! But it kind of pleased me that they could produce them.

Sell:

John Ryder had talked about the need to teach underlying principles and concentrate on underlying principles rather than devices. Did the lecture in this GE course prior to the problem deal more with underlying principles or previous experience with the device that you're attempting to work with?

Teare:

I think both, in balance. If you're teaching engineering, you can teach principles, you can teach equipment, or you can have the students devise things using the knowledge of both of these. That third, using what you know to solve a problem you haven't seen before, is extremely important. If you're going to do that in a simple environment, like freshmen and sophomore classes, you better have the problems simple: not complicated. Preferably the principles are ones that have been covered in other courses. You see, if you do a book which is going to emphasize principles, then you have problems at the end of the chapter which illustrate the principles. But the real trick is deciding what principle to use! If a problem comes at the end of chapter ten, you're fairly sure that it involves the principles that are covered in chapter ten! Some authors get away from that by having a flock of problems at the end of the book which apply to all of these, and that's one step better. I think it's better not to tie it to principles that are taught in a class. I suppose in your field, the facts are history, and there are ways that the historian arrives at those facts.

Sell:

That's right, and there's a strong tendency to be much more relativistic about facts. That makes how one arrives at it more important than the nature of the fact itself.

Teare:

We espoused a philosophy here that said the purpose of education at Carnegie-Mellon was first to learn how to go on learning, which is extremely important, and it's very hard to pin down. In other words, to learn to apply principles you know to solve problems that you haven't seen before. Another one was to have an understanding of fundamental principles so you can do both these things! You build on root knowledge and learning new things, and you use root knowledge to solve problems. Another goal was to have an understanding of principles of economics and psychology and generally in the humanistic social studies because these are also important to the engineer. Finally somebody tacked on to our philosophy something that's good but a little homely, and that is to learn how to communicate. A friend of mine, George Hawkins at Purdue, studied alumni reactions and how these things fit together, and found that students during their first year out of school felt that they should have had more practical knowledge. That's because engineers start out doing practical things. If they were doing well and heading up a group and doing new things, then they said, “No, not so much practical, we want more fundamental stuff.” If they were successful and vice-presidents or managers, then they said, “Don't give us all that technical stuff! We've got to have economics, and psychology, and we have to deal with people and dollars!” This is what an engineering program should do!

Leaving GE

Sell:

Well, it's quite interesting to digress this way, and I encourage you to do that. We will get back to this later when we're more involved in talking about your experience here at Carnegie- Mellon. For now, we'll return to the chronology. You remained at GE until 1933. Leaving GE at this point, you're leaving at the height of the Depression.

Teare:

Oh yes, I started at the Depression! I started in 1929 when the bottom had dropped out of things. I saw lots of friends put on forced vacations and working only two days a week, and things like that, but I just never suffered those things. In fact, during the bottom of the Depression, they were still hiring a few engineers a year, and they were hiring them for this course! That's what they thought about it!

Sell:

Incredible.

Teare:

The last I heard, the course is still going strong. It's been expanded from one section of thirty-five people the first year, to ten sections scattered all around various plants. That's hearsay, and I'm not perfectly sure of it.

Yale University

Sell:

Then in 1933 you joined the faculty at Yale University.

Teare:

As an instructor, that's right.

Sell:

In electrical engineering.

Teare:

The man who had set up the program at GE, whom I had found so stimulating, Robert E. Doherty, went to teaching and administration at Yale, and he offered me a job. And as an instructor at Yale, I taught undergraduate courses in problem solving, one at junior level and one at senior level. The students weren't in departments until their junior year. I also taught a similar graduate course. Some of this teaching was in partnership with Mr. Doherty, and some of it was on my own. The job was to teach basic problem solving, not new and fancier methods of problem solving.

Sell:

While you were teaching, you were also engaged in research.

Electrical Properties of Living Tissue

Teare:

Yes, yes. I studied electrical properties of living tissue. There is a very fundamental principle in psychology which relates the duration of an impulse to the magnitude when it can just be felt. It's the Peak's Law, as I remember. I thought that, in spite of the fact that it's important, it was based on evidence that wasn't too clean-cut. They had impulses that were exponentially decaying. They started sharp and decayed to nothing, and there's a time constant. The duration was the time constant and the amplitude was the initial value. That's the best anybody could do, but it seemed to me that that was not a very good basis. My colleagues and I invented a circuit that would give us a perfectly steady impulse of known height and a perfectly definite duration to shut off. We did our experiments with frogs and one thing or another, which I naturally shut my eyes to when they were working on them. We got a curve, and the curve looked just like the one we were trying to improve. The approximations for the way of getting data worked out all right. I think we had two papers on that, as a matter of fact.

Sell:

This one you've shown me is entitled, "Electrical Studies of Living Tissue," and the joint authors are A.P. Conrad, H.W. Haggard, and yourself.

Teare:

Yes. Conrad and I were electrical engineers, and Haggard was a physiologist.

Sell:

This was reprinted from Electrical Engineering, July 1936.

Teare:

There's another one I could dig up for you.

Doctorate

Sell:

When did you begin work on your doctorate at Yale?

Teare:

I had worked on that problem just after leaving the General Electric Company, so I worked on it a number of years. There was some fairly involved theory in it, there was some experimental work, and it took quite a while to get all of that work done.

Sell:

And your dissertation topic was...

Teare:

The theory of hysteresis motor torque.

Sell:

You mentioned off-tape that Doherty had been the supervisor.

Teare:

Yes.

Sell:

Was there anybody else on the faculty of Yale at the time that you'd like to mention?

Teare:

Well, Conrad later became the head of the department at Yale, and later I think he was a dean at Santa Barbara.

Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie-Mellon University)

Sell:

Then in 1939 you joined the faculty at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, as it was called at that time. It's now called Carnegie-Mellon University, and you joined as a professor of electrical engineering?

Teare:

My job at Carnegie Tech was to plan and build up a program of graduate work in electrical engineering. There had been some master's programs taught at night, but we wanted a full time day program in electrical engineering. I was working on a grant from a local foundation which paid my salary and paid some fellowships and bought some equipment. If we did a good job, the understanding was that the whole thing would be endowed by the same foundation. After five years it was.

Sell:

What foundation was that?

Teare:

The Buhl Foundation. You maybe know about this.

Sell:

Oh yes, the Buhl Planetarium is quite famous.

Teare:

That's right, that's right. The Buhl Planetarium started at the same year I came here, and I was on their advisory committee, and still am, and I was a judge for maybe five or ten of the first Buhl Science Fairs.

Sell:

Oh, yes, I remember that very well. Was this the same Buhl as the department store which is no longer in existence?

Teare:

That's right. So I went over there to buy an overcoat!

Sell:

Carnegie's program was not at all graduate; they had no graduate program except for this night school, which offered —

Teare:

Carnegie Tech had one of the world's best programs in metallurgy, and good programs in a number of other fields. But in electrical engineering, they didn't have a full-time, day graduate program.

Sell:

Then they figured it was about time, and brought you in.

Teare:

Exactly. It was an awful time, because this was when the war was starting. I had one promising student who decided to become a conscientious objector! He wouldn't have been drafted, but he wouldn't stay! It took some years to really get it going.

Sell:

What was the size of the faculty at that time?

Teare:

Oh, probably eight or ten or something like that, all teaching undergraduate work and sometimes night school graduate work.

Sell:

Was the student body primarily local at this time, or —

Teare:

The student body as I remember it was about one-third from Allegheny County —

Sell:

Which was the county Pittsburgh is in.

Teare:

Yes. Another third was from the rest of Pennsylvania, and another third from other states! It's doesn't miss that now by very much. It's improved, but I think still half the people come from the state.

Sell:

Once your professorship [was] established.

Teare:

When we got the grant, I became the Buhl Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Sell:

I believe it's the Who's Who in Science that lists you as the Buhl Professor as of 1943.

Teare:

That sounds like it's a year early, but you've got my biography.

Sell:

And you remained Dean of the College of Engineering until 1952?

World War Two: Training Female Engineers

Teare:

Yeah, if that's what it says. Before that I became the head of electrical engineering. That was probably in the late 1940s. We also were setting up a program to educate women for engineering for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Westinghouse would send about forty or fifty women who had at least two years of science or four years of any bachelor's degree. They'd come here full-time and we'd try to make engineers out of them.

Sell:

And was this need created by the draft?

Teare:

Yes, I think by the fact that they couldn't get enough men in engineering.

Sell:

Was it successful?

Teare:

Sure, but don't ask me to prove it! They hired them and put them to work.

Sell:

Did you follow up on any of your students?

Teare:

Only informally.

Sell:

People have claimed that the women were doing just as well during the war, but then when the fellows returned, the women were the first to go.

Teare:

Were they fired? Oh, I didn't know that. I was doing other things. They kind of led me into planning programs, the direction of development.

Sell:

Here is one of the questions I had about that. There has been a major effort by the government to effect affirmative action programs in hiring women in engineering and science fields, and they have not had much success. But evidently you had success in enrolling women. Did you have any particular problems with that?

Teare:

No, no. On the average, the mathematics background was not very high, but one can always get around that later. But we have women engineering students here now. I don't remember the figure, but I'll go look for it when you want it.

Sell:

Well, in terms of employment statistics, it's still quite low.

Experiments on Copper-Covered Steel Wire

Teare:

I didn't know that. One other thing was taking place at that time. I started a research project with the help of a woman engineer. She was married to a Westinghouse engineer, and we started a project to try to figure out how copper-covered steel wire behaved. The trade name was Copperwild. This has possibilities because the steel strengthens the wire quite a lot, so if there are spans crossing a river or used for other reasons, this makes a good thing to use! The properties of simple copper wire were well known, but we wanted to see what the steel would do to it. We found that the steel didn't do any harm; it probably helped it a little bit. Then the question came up: what would they do at radio frequencies? That one got to be an IRE paper!

Sell:

This one was not authored with her.

Teare:

No, but she and I had done the basic work, and Schaatz, who is now Vice-President of Academic Affairs, collaborated with me in writing a paper on radio frequencies.

Sell:

Now, the papers that you show me here — I'll just read the names of them to the tape: The first one was titled, "Skin Effected by Metallic Conductors," authored by B.R. Teare and Josephine Webb, and this was published in Transactions of the AIEE. Volume 62, 1943. The other paper, which was in the Proceedings of the IRE, Volume 32, No. 7, July 1944, was titled, "Copper Covered Steel Wire at Radio Frequencies." authored by B.R. Teare and E.R. Schaatz.

Teare:

We got a prize for that first paper! People teased me! Well, it was a low-level prize. It wasn't first prize. They said we got it because Mrs. Webb was such a good-looking girl!

Sell:

Did she hear that?

Teare:

I suppose.

Sell:

I wonder how she reacted to that.

Teare:

She couldn't work on Friday afternoons because that was when there was a symphony broadcast and she had to go home and record it for their collection!

Retirement

Sell:

Well, now you're retired and Emeritus Dean. When did you retire?

Teare:

I retired in 1975, when I was sixty-eight years old. That's sort of the way the rules are. But I taught full-time for two years after that. I left the Dean's job, I think it was in 1967, and I wanted to get back into the classroom. I was invited to be a university professor, and I chose the title University Professor of Engineering, rather than just being a university professor, because my interest had been engineering. When I retired, Emeritus was at the last title I had had, so my title is University Professor of Engineering, Emeritus.

Sell:

That's very good!

Teare:

A matter of sentiment.

ECPD and World Bank

Sell:

You're involved in professional society activity, if we can go to that now.

Teare:

I'd just as soon talk about that and international activities, too.

Sell:

Your involvement — and correct me if I'm wrong — began in 1934 while you were at Yale, and at that point you were a member of the AIEE Communications Committee.

Teare:

Yes. And shortly thereafter I was on the Committee on Electrical Machinery, I believe.

I had that from 1937 to 1942.

Sell:

Then there was the Education Committee. You were on that from 1941 to 1960.

Teare:

Now that's the ECPD committee, the one that does the accrediting.

Sell:

You were Chairman from 1948 to 1950.

Teare:

I don't know, maybe we're crossed up. The Education Committee was probably the AIEE. In this period of time, I was on the ECPD Education and Accreditation Committee, which is the one that accredits engineering schools around the country.

There were probably seven regions represented on the Education Committee, maybe more. Most societies have regions in this country, and somebody would be the chairman for any region. I was Chairman at one time for the Midwest region. When a school requested accreditation — this isn't pushed on them, the school has to ask for accreditation — the chairman for the region appoints his own committee. But his committee is appointed from a list of approved visitors and the professional societies like the AIEE and the ASME prepare a list of people who are approved! Of course, you can't have anybody from a school too close to the one that's being accredited! You go, and you look at the school, and you make a report! This is really very interesting... So I did fair amount of that. I remember there was one year where there were twelve inspections for our region. Even if I took six of them, I had a vice-chairman, and that made my boss scream! But one survived that kind of thing.

Then, another kind of activity that happened a few years after I was Dean: the President was somewhat connected with the Ford Foundation as a consultant, and they asked us to go to Pakistan and consult on the engineering schools that were there. It was set up so that my associate dean was to be over there for a whole year, keeping track of things. President John Warner went over for one two-week period, and I went over for a two-week period to back him up. It was a lot like visiting a school for accreditation purposes, except of course one had to look at the country itself.

Sell:

Look at the country itself?

Teare:

Well, to think of education for Pakistan may not be the same as the education you'd want in the United States! Industry is different! Manpower availability would be different! The man who was over there the year round, John Stuart, joined the World Bank to do this kind of thing. The World Bank lends money mostly for dams and power plants, and roads and sewers, but they do lend money for education. The idea is that you can invest it in education and it keeps giving returns, year after year! Dr. Stuart had invited me to go on other missions for the World Bank. There were three visits to Greece and four visits to Spain, and a visit to Ireland, a visit to Liberia, in Africa, and one to Korea, and in each case the World Bank wanted to see what the possibilities were of success in that particular institution, and also to give a great deal of advice to the schools. They didn't loan money just to give money; they wanted to insist on giving advice. Then, some other kinds of foreign experience: The State Department was interested in helping a school in India. They asked MIT to serve as a consultant, to supply a faculty to get them started, and all that. It was a pretty big job for one school, so it was decided to do it by consortium. Carnegie Tech was one of the consortium members, and I was the representative of Carnegie Tech on the steering committee. My job there was to help plan the program and to help nominate teachers who might go over there.

Sell:

Exchange?

Teare:

Well, yes, exchange, or more often just a loan for a semester or two. The amount of money that went into that as I remember was something like fifteen million dollars over a ten year period. That's equipment and people. People cost a lot, because you not only have to pay their salary, but you pay a little extra because of hardship. In foreign service, you have to take the family, you may take furniture — it isn't inexpensive by any means. Then the same thing came up again, and this was for Afghanistan. This time, President Warner was instrumental in forming a different consortium. I was our representative on the steering committee, and had the same kind of jobs. Then a third one came up, and the Ford Foundation asked him to form a consortium to work in the Philippines, so we did that.

Sell:

Can you just roughly periodize this?

Teare:

Oh, I'd say from 1955 to 1975. I might still have been in it now, but I don't especially want to go to the Middle East!

Sell:

Let me just quickly for the record run through the list I have of the Committees that you were involved in and the offices that you held. If there are any of these that you'd want to talk about, feel free. You were Chairman of the Education Committee for AIEE from 1948 to 1950; you were on the Professional Group Coordinating Committee 1948 to 1949; Technical Program 1948 to 1950; Publications 1948 to 1950; Edison Medal Committee 1951 to 1956 and from 1957 to 1959 you were on the Board of Directors. Professional Development and Recommendation Department, 1956 to 1961; Vice- President District Two 1957 to 1959, and then once again on the Edison Medal Committee 1959 to 1964; Board of Directors 1961 to 1964; Research Committee, 1960 to 1962; Claim and Coordination Committee 1961 to 1962; Recognition and Awards, 1961 to 1966; Intersociety Relations 1961 to 1964 and Chairman of that committee 1961 to 1962. Now, we want to talk a little bit about the Intersociety Relations Committee.

American Society for Engineering Education

Teare:

Yes, but do you want to know about other activities within other societies or stay within AIEE?

Sell:

Well, let's talk about the others, yes.

Teare:

I was also working in the American Society for Engineering Education. I served on a number of their committees, which I could look up, if you want. I was President in 1960. There was a meeting at Pitt at which I was elected. I was on their Relations with Industry Committee and was Chairman; I was on the Committee on Engineering Education after the war; I was on the Graduate Study Committee. I guess if you want details, the thing for me to do is to look them up. Speaking about relations with organizations, I got three significant medals. The first was the George Westinghouse medal in the 1940s, and then it was the ASEE Lamme Medal sometime later, probably in the 1960s. Then the IEEE Education Medal, which was in the 1960s.

AIEE/IRE Merger

Politics and Professionalism

Sell:

And when were you named Fellow of the AIEE?

Teare:

1942. That's a day I remember, that I am very proud of, because it's a very early one for this region. I became a Fellow of IRE in 1951.

Sell:

Would you like at this point to talk about your involvement with the Intersociety Relations Committee? The Intersociety Relations Committee had as its activity professional relations.

Teare:

Relations with other societies, like ECPD and EJC and other societies that weren't interrelated.

Sell:

Was this committee the one that was most closely involved with the unity movement?

Teare:

There were unity meetings, and I remember I spoke at some of them.

Sell:

The NSPE was promoted at one point as a membership organization, as the unity organization.

Teare:

Yes! That's that San Francisco policy.

Sell:

Simultaneously with this going on was a strong movement among many engineers, particularly strong on the West Coast and in Aerospace industry areas, of engineering unionism. This was the time in which the Engineers and Scientists of America was put together. A historian named Edwin Layton, who wrote a book titled Revolt of the Engineers, argues that in the 1950s engineering unionism was central to engineering ideology. He argues from historical evidence that NSPE was very active in deploring engineering unionism among engineers and promoting alternatives, one of which was their interest in professionalism and the unity movement. You were aware of this activity?

Teare:

That's right. Professionalism to me means also a code of ethics and the things that are unwritten rules, really, in engineering. There are conflicts between what the company's interests are and what the ethics call for. This showed up in the Bart case, for example, and I think it's very difficult to be effective in that kind of thing.

Sell:

There are documents in the Hibshman papers that indicate that the unity movement was seen by its leaders as an alternative to collective bargaining. Also, in my interview with Ronald McFarlan, he definitely saw the unity movement and the merger of the AIEE and the IRE as being part of the same effort. Now, there had been interest on the part of AIEE in merging with the IRE, and this appears in the minutes of the board of the AIEE, but it doesn't appear in the IRE board's meeting minutes. Nevertheless, the spearhead of the merger in 1959-1960 seemed to be coming all of a sudden from the IRE, particularly from people who were close to industry. It is known also that this one strong organization, this union organization of engineers, the Engineers and Scientists of America, was in real trouble in the late 1950s. At this point it was going through problems of decertification of many of its affiliates at various places, including Western Electric, RCA, Sperry, and Minneapolis Honeywell, and in fact the ESA went out of existence in 1960. One wonders whether there is a connection there between this elimination of engineering unions that were a strong national body, and real tangible activity leading towards merger. Let me add another point to this. John Ryder put forth the tantalizing idea that academics on the boards of both predecessor societies had been very interested in the merger, and quite publicly so, but the group that held the swing vote were the engineering people. One could mount a speculative argument that the industry people might have felt a certain amount of threat as long as there was pretty strong ferment among some engineers toward unionism, and that once this was kicked out, once this was diminished, then you could talk about merger. Not only could you talk about it, but then it was a propitious moment, you could swing it then.

Teare:

I don't follow that. People were talking about merger, and the steps were being taken in the late 1950s, although I think most of them were after that, in the very early 1960s.

Sell:

That's right. Well, once the unionism was no longer a threat —

Teare:

Oh, you mean the unions would oppose the merger.

Sell:

Not necessarily, but they were necessarily against professionalization, the idea of unity of professional aims. This was an alternative to them, and once, in fact, the engineering unionism threat dropped out, then the industry people could go whole hog for merger.

Teare:

The workers in industry. Or do you mean the captains of industry?

Sell:

I mean the leaders of industry. The vice-presidents, the presidents, the directors of research, the management people. But then you know the academics had always been pushing for it. The academics didn't feel the threats of unions, whereas the industry people would. So they were pushing for it all along, but the timing wasn't right. It was okay, as far as the industry people were concerned, once the threat of unionism dropped out of extra-curricular activities on the part of their engineers, and that was in fact the time when they should do it immediately because unionism might rear its head again.

Teare:

Well, that's very interesting. I can't say I was aware of it when the merger talks were going on.

Sell:

When Nelson Hibshman was organizing his research for the history of the merger, there seemed to be a lot of talk in the correspondence he was receiving from the principal players in the merger about just what was the origin of all this. It seemed a lot of people were in the dark about that — they couldn't put their finger on what the true origins were. They were witnesses and participants in the mechanics of the merger process, but they couldn't put their finger on what the original cause for the merger was, what the overriding need was. It seems as though the public rhetoric, which was to reduce duplication of effort, and eliminate wasteful competition, is perhaps a necessary answer, but it's not a sufficient answer. It may merely be circumstantial, but you see the decline of engineering unionism at precisely the time that the merger gets really underway.

Teare:

Well, if so there was a lot of undercover that I didn't know about. To me, it's a sufficient condition that you save duplication, that you have everybody working in one organization instead of in several. What you say is interesting, and I'm glad to hear it, but I wasn't aware of it.

Regional Interests

Sell:

There's another element to it that I'd like to mention to you, and see if that rings true. Later on, as the merger process was underway, there was no representation from the West Coast, in spite of the facts that the West Coast had all the aerospace industry and that California was receiving more federal funding for research and development than any other state in the United States, four times as much as the next nearest competitor, which was New York State. In spite of this tremendous activity and huge employment of engineers — many engineers were migrating to the West — there was no representation in this process. The representation came mainly from the Boston-New York area and Dallas, Texas. At one point a couple of sections on the West Coast, the San Francisco and Los Angeles sections, wrote to Pat Haggerty and said they wanted to be involved in this and that they had some problems with this. One of the things they mentioned was the problems they were going to have contractually with the Western Electrical Manufacturers' Association, which put together the Wescon show in conjunction with contractual arrangement with the IRE. What would happen to this contract once the merger occurred? Was this really a merger on just the executive level or were they actually concerned about the sections’ problems?

Teare:

Walt Peterson was put on the merger committee.

Sell:

He came on subsequent to this little problem that came out. Perhaps it was an oversight, but one wonders why, with its large body of professional engineers on the West Coast, they would be ignored; it's an incredible oversight if it is an oversight. With all the union activity being so strong on the West Coast, one wonders if there's a connection there.

Teare:

I think you’re seeing ghosts. To me, the important thing was getting the very best people on the merger committee. This means people that were statesmen, didn't haggle over details, and people that really represented the organization, past presidents or future presidents. I didn't think very much about geography.

Early Merger Meetings

Sell:

But then once Peterson was brought on, there was one meeting I recall having seen where there was a discussion of the name for the new organization, and Pat Haggerty pushed for the Institute of Electrical Science and Engineering. The vote didn't carry, it was defeated by —

Teare:

Was this in the fourteen man committee?

Sell:

In the fourteen man committee. At the following meeting of the fourteen man committee, in spite of the fact that it would not make any difference at all to the motion that was on the floor, Walter Peterson said he wanted to change his vote to align himself with Pat Haggerty. It was purely symbolic.

Teare:

To the other name that Pat had suggested?

Sell:

Yes, and I begin to suspect that maybe this was some kind of public demonstration on Peterson's part of aligning himself with Haggerty.

Teare:

I wasn't aware of that. A good many of us weren't really happy with the name that was chosen. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers is redundant. My preferred title was impossible. It was the “Institution of Electrical Engineers,” but that's already the high-powered British organization. So you couldn't use that, and this other one would do, since it was a merger of two societies and you could identify “Electronic” with IRE to some extent. It was acceptable as far as I'm concerned.

Sell:

I raised that to talk about the fact that, once the politics were smoothed over as far as the West Coast was concerned and Peterson was brought on board, perhaps Peterson made a little courtesy.

Teare:

Well, again, I was being naive, I guess.

Sell:

I don't know. Maybe I am seeing ghosts.

Teare:

But I couldn't see it. I thought that quite a lot of the business of the merger was done in the first meeting. I thought it was consolidated and extended in the second meeting, the four man committee. From then on, it was improved, but the essential agreement was in the beginning, and we agreed in the very first instance not to talk about name or symbol, but to concentrate on what the society was going to be. And later these other things came along.

Sell:

Yes, we're getting ahead of ourselves, of course. One thing that John Ryder emphasizes as a cause of the merger is the obvious student statistics, and how you could predict the future of the two societies by the statistics —

AIEE and IRE: Comparisons and Contrasts

Teare:

You mean the most students were joining IRE —

Sell:

Which society they were deciding to go with, and IRE was capturing the imagination of young engineers. This was pretty graphic, and you could just point to that and see that the AIEE was in trouble.

Teare:

I think it was even broader than that. The rate of growth of IRE membership was I think 8%, and that of AIEE was 1%. Now you have to watch out. IRE’s membership figures included students, and AIEE's did not include students. Students were just an extra. Students were just a different category; it wasn't membership. People thought this happened, because IRE went over to groups, in which the groups had lots of authority and responsibility. And that helped their membership. In thinking back, I suspect that it was because electronics and radio communications and that sort of thing, including computers, were growing at a terrific rate, and there was more linkage with IRE than AIEE. The groups were a powerful way to do it, and AIEE saw that, and AIEE went on paper to a group organization which in my opinion never really materialized.

Sell:

When was that? 1951?

Teare:

About then AIEE went through the business of forming groups, but I don't think any groups were formed that were effective. It was just lip service. I never really worked in the groups of IRE. I was a member; I was Chairman of the local section of IRE at one time, as I had been Chairman of the AIEE local section, but somehow I was not close to the IRE organization. But my impression, thinking about it, is that the IRE divided responsibility into groups. A member joined one or more groups, and he in effect controlled IRE's activities in that particular area. In AIEE, the control was exerted by a committee that was appointed by the president or the power structure in the organization. Those got the job done, but it was probably a lot more exciting in the IRE system. Moreover, IRE could get into new things faster than AIEE could.

Sell:

Because of its structure?

Teare:

Because of its structure.

Sell:

It was easier to set up a new group.

Teare:

Suppose that there was a group that was interested in a certain area, and that area began to move towards computers. You could take care of a computer interest without having to go through a committee of older people who might have fossilized thinking.

Sell:

Well, would you say that IRE after they adopted the group structure was a more democratic organization?

Teare:

Yes, in a technical sense.

Sell:

But it was decentralized also. A working engineer, an average member, would have a sense of real involvement in his professional group, but did he —

Teare:

I don't know about that. Which group?

Sell:

The organization of IRE.

Teare:

I'm not sure that I think so. I mean, it would accommodate his technical interests.

Sell:

You could just point to the ages of the leaders of the two organizations. IRE was a younger organization.

Teare:

Oh sure! That's part of it. AIEE was quite mature.

Sell:

There seemed to have been a long-time practice in AIEE of rewarding long-time service and distinguished careers with a high office, almost as an honorary.

Teare:

I think that's true.

Sell:

IRE was more concerned with having a small executive that would do quicker day-to-day work.

Teare:

We carried that over into IEEE. The AIEE board was twice as large as IRE’s.

Sell:

A meeting of the two boards was so interestingly different, in the sense that the IRE would have a good business meeting, and the AIEE was more like a national political convention.

Teare:

I think that’s right. But when you’ve got so many people, you’ve got to be more formal!

Sell:

Yes, that’s true. Otherwise it’s chaos.

Teare:

The by-laws permitted an executive committee of the AIEE board, and I don’t believe it was used, at least practically never. The IRE depended on its Executive Committee to get the business done. The Executive Committee of the IEEE is a lively set; I mean they really redid things.

Sell:

What about the differential between the two societies in terms of corporate involvement at the time? Was the IRE a more corporate organization than the AIEE?

Teare:

Now wait a minute, if you mean the involvement of corporations like General Electric and Westinghouse and General Radio in the management, I would have thought they were much more involved in the AIEE. The corporations had the Hendley Blackmons, and various others. I forget who the GE man was.

Sell:

Henville?

Teare:

No — well, not when I knew him. Savage, later. They were the people who kind of made sure that GE got its share of appointments, and they made sure that GE supplied the funds to do certain things, or at least made it possible for their representatives to get them. I wasn’t close to IRE so I don’t know whether the same thing went on there, but I doubt it because the companies were smaller.

Sell:

Yes, and in fact even in communications the telephone people would all be in the AIEE.

Teare:

That’s right.

Interest of Industry

Sell:

Let me ask you a question that’s purposefully naive and simple: Why would a corporation be interested in a professional society?

Teare:

Well, let’s see what a professional society does. A professional society provides a forum for advances to be related, and for people to learn about them. It helps the company if there’s a forum. A professional society sets standards such as how much allowable voltage drop you can have. A professional society — not least of its activities — recognizes merit with prizes, and that sort of thing. Now in each one of these three things, the company has a stake.

Sell:

How’s that?

Teare:

The company wants to have a place where its people can hear about advances!

Sell:

It upgrades their talent —

Teare:

It upgrades their talent, and the company wants to have its people recognized. The company also wants to see that the standards are set according to what they need! As I remember the story, when I was with the General Electric Company, American standards required the cheap and dirty motors that were being sold to have fifteen percent more capacity than they were rated at. Foreign motors weren’t. I understand that America’s standards are not the same as the foreign ones, and I’m not implying anything on that particular topic, but it’s important that a company have reasonable standards. They want to know whether if they sell a one horsepower motor it’s really a one point one five or not. A company has a lot of reasons to be interested in what the professional society does.

Sell:

Would they have an interest also in maintaining a certain amount of management control of their engineers in areas where the company doesn’t have legitimate jurisdiction? Off-duty hours?

Teare:

Well, I can think of one example. Suppose a company has a man doing an interesting, important job that might lead to a new development and make the company money. The company wouldn’t want him to publish. Maybe there’s some way control could be exerted through the organization so as to get the company’s way. I don’t know about that.

Sell:

Publishing politics?

Teare:

Yes. That’s pretty far-fetched, but —

Sell:

Well, many companies had very explicit policies on what could be published, and when, and how much time you waited even though it was patented. In fact, some companies, no matter whether it’s patented and well-known, never permitted publication of anything involving research that was conducted on the grounds.

Early Discussions and Merger Strategy

Teare:

Now, sure, I heard talk of merger, but not as much as you have quoted to me from the document. Just general talk, and I thought it’d be a good thing, but I was skeptical whether it could ever happen, because people are sort of set in their ways! Warren Chase asked me if I would meet with Haggerty as Chairman of our Intersociety Relations Committee. Pat Haggerty was in a somewhat similar position, but he was President-Elect. The impression I got from Chase was that this was something to explore: I wasn’t being given orders to promote or block it, either one. It was kind of, a “do as you think best” sort of thing. So I looked up Haggerty and found out a little bit about his background. I didn’t know much about Texas Instruments at that time, to tell you the truth, and so we made a date. He offered to come to Pittsburgh, and I said I would get a room at the airport hotel. We would spend an afternoon talking about it. Pat came on schedule, things worked out all right, and Pat started with what I thought was an extremely significant point. He said, “Now let’s talk about the function of the organization, what it’s going to try to do, what its purpose is, and a little bit about how it’ll operate. We’ll absolutely leave the name and the symbol until a much later time — we don’t start with that!" You see, if we’d started with that, we’d still be talking about it. We talked about the fact that it ought to be technical; perhaps in the second meeting either Lloyd Berkner or Pat said it ought to carry the mantle of a former society — meaning AIEE. The AIEE was older, and the AIEE had been —

Sell:

A founder society?

Teare:

Yes, maybe a founder society, within these other organizations. As I remember, someone from the IRE side said we didn’t want to overdo this kind of thing; we wanted to be technical. Scientific and literary. “Literary” was a term that IRE had used, and we probably carried it over to the constitution. I took it that meant that we wrote papers. We agreed on these sorts of things, and they seemed exactly right to me. As far as I could tell, they seemed right to the subsequent enlarged committees.

Sell:

Simultaneously, Lloyd Berkner was meeting with Warren Chase in Washington.

Teare:

I don’t remember that being a factor in this, but I don’t say that there wasn’t a meeting.

Sell:

Well, I was just curious, because I know very little about their meeting.

Teare:

I don’t know anything about it, either. From my point of view, things proceeded smoothly without any side meetings between people. We agreed on the principle of what the society was to be early in the game. It was to be international, as IRE was, and taking on the mantle of the founder society meant that the AIEE continued in existence and that it changed its name and by-laws. The international aspect I don’t think particularly appealed to many of the AIEE people, but they didn’t object to it. They had non-United States members. One of the very big questions was that of the place of groups in the organization. That had been very successful in IRE and we thought we’d continue it.

Sell:

We’re continuing now discussing the meeting you had with Haggerty?

Teare:

That, plus the others that followed. There was the meeting that I had with Haggerty; then we added Chase and Berkner. You have to add the president; you have to add the guy with the power in the organization! You can’t work without his consent. It all just developed without any reversals, so I can’t really tell where one meeting left off and where the other began! My recollection is that Pat and I had one meeting together, and then at the next meeting we had Berkner and Chase. Probably in the meeting after that we had four more people, making an eight man committee. Each time when we added people, we had to discuss what we had talked about, and why we had come to certain conclusions, and give them a chance to object. So it evolved. I suppose that the biggest chance at disagreement came when we said how many directors there would be and what the regions would be and that sort of thing. Each society had people that were in line to be the next president. Some of them could be, and some of them couldn’t. I think what we tried to do at first was to take none of them, and put Weber, who was in both IRE and AIEE, as the candidate for president.

Presidential Selection and Democracy

Sell:

I was curious about that, because Ronald McFarlan said the prospective candidate in IRE was Dan Herbelak.

Teare:

That’s what I also heard too, and see he wasn’t in the picture. I always wondered how they squared that.

Sell:

I think he was hardly involved even in the key note side groups.

Teare:

I think that’s right. He was in New Mexico or Arizona or some place — there’s somebody from near the West Coast who we could’ve put onto the committee. I don’t know who the heir apparent in the AIEE would have been. I can tell you some people who were probably disappointed in all of this: Len Holmes, Al Johnson, and some others, but I don’t know that they were such strong possibilities anyway.

Sell:

No one really emerges.

Teare:

No. The other thing that I always thought really helped the merger is that the two executive secretaries were near retirement.

Sell:

That’s right, so there would be no problem with ruffled feathers there.

Teare:

Both of them were put on in an advisory capacity.

Sell:

Haggerty and you were both presidents-elect of two societies. You were the last AIEE president-elect.

Teare:

Yes, but I may not have been the president-elect at that time, until things went a little further.

Sell:

Well, tell me this. I know from my interview with Ronald McFarlan that the IRE knew maybe three years in advance who was going to be the president or who was going to be put up, because they had a practice of preparing the next leadership through the board and through executive committee choices made. Was there a similar practice in the AIEE? Did you know fairly well in advance, and did you groom people through activities?

Teare:

I guess I didn’t know about that.

Sell:

You were not aware that this was a practice at the AIEE?

Teare:

Maybe I was in training to be a president, but I wasn’t aware of it.

Sell:

Well, it may not have been the practice, because it may have been easier to have that sort of practice in the IRE given the fact that it was a decentralized organization.

Teare:

Yes, because it was a small leadership group.

Sell:

Ron McFarlan put it this way. He said that the presidents were a small club in the IRE, so it was a kind of clique that you joined, and if you joined you might get there.

Teare:

What I always wondered is what happened to Dan Noble, why he wasn’t put into the IEEE organization.

Sell:

I don’t remember that....

Teare:

He taught at the University of Connecticut when I taught at Yale, and I used to see him. I am trying to talk as to a professional historian — I really think you should go slow in drawing conclusions about the way a society was handled, because I think that it might change with the personnel. With a different bunch of directors in either society, you might have a different idea of succession. There was a nominations committee, and the nominations committee really controlled things.

Sell:

In the AIEE it controlled things?

Teare:

Oh, I think so. Incidentally, there was a hell of a row with a guy named Fierst in IEEE. He’s been a petition candidate for president three times. He withdrew the last time, and he got a respectable vote. Less than half of the people vote and he got less than a half of that. He has written nasty letters. Do you know the publication called The New Engineer? This is a throw-away publication. I got it free, and I always read it, because it was interesting. He was associated with the editorial staff. His job was as an electronics consulting engineer. He was adamant that there shouldn’t be as many academic people holding jobs in the society, and he was against hiring foreign engineers: he had a very narrow point of view, and he was very outspoken about it.

Sell:

Would you characterize him as the radical’s candidate?

Teare:

I suppose. I don’t think anybody in his right mind voted for him, but that may characterize me! I don’t know, he was awfully strong-minded about things. Because he was talking about the good of the profession as a whole, he wasn’t too much on the society. What I’m trying to say is that the organization has become tremendously democratic. The last one of these Institute papers indicates that in the last election, a petition candidate was made president. Now, that’s unheard of, you see. It’s kind of interesting. He was also one of the people in the professional activities who disliked the academic influence.

Sell:

It could be now that unionism has come back into its own.

Teare:

Unionism in the sense that IEEE ...

Sell:

And that’s a reflection of the interests of the membership!

Teare:

The question arises, where do candidates for higher office come from? In the present IEEE, there's a Nomination and Appointments Committee, out of the Board of Directors, and there is also room, of course, for petition candidates. There have been petition candidates, but one became president only at the last election. I think there was a similar Nominations and Appointments Committee in AIEE and probably in IRE before the merger, but I haven't put my hands on a piece of paper that says so.

Pat Haggarty, Warren Chase and Other IEEE Officers

Sell:

I'd like you to talk a bit about your work relations with other members involved in the merger process. We might start with Haggerty; were you very close from the time of the first meeting?

Teare:

During the merger, I was very close to Pat Haggerty, because we were the two that kicked it off. I hold him in very, very high regard as a statesman. His ideas were sound, and they were well put, and I think that he more than anybody else shaped the merger into the form that it took. Barney Oliver I knew as a member of the board afterward, and he was certainly an extremely able person, an innovator. Warren Chase was president of AIEE when this started, and he was an awfully good person to work with: stable, and reasonably innovative, but not the kind of innovator that Pat Haggerty was. But Warren made it possible to accomplish the merger. I don't remember Jack Ryder so much in this connection. Was he on the fourteen man committee?

Sell:

Yes.

Teare:

All right, well, he was a sound person. Walt Peterson I remember quite well. Elgin Robertson was an interesting person, another Warren Chase. He was stable, you might say a company man who recognized improvement when he saw it, and worked for it without being a person who got a new idea and upset the apple cart. Hendley Blackmon was another good sort of a person; Russ Clark might well have been a candidate for President of AIEE if the merger hadn't happened. Oh, he's good: he had some ideas that are different and original; but I can't say anything — Don Fink wasn't in the merger committee, as I remember.

Sell:

He acted as Secretary after it was decided that he would be —

Teare:

Well, he made an excellent manager, and he added something to the committee. Haraden Pratt was a very interesting person: he is another one of the group like Warren Chase and Elgin Robertson, except that he was dyed-in-the-wool IRE. You always got a picture from the IRE side from him, but he was a good sort of person. Lawrence Robertson I don't know too much about. John Henderson was Canadian, and that reflected in what he was doing. He would object when he thought there should be an objection, but he didn't block anything. Berkner was always tops. I haven't told you very much. What you'd probably like to have is some sidelights that weren't all bland. Clarence Linder seemed like a company man to me, and I suppose that in somebody like Linder I had a feeling that it didn't make a lot of difference to him one way or the other, so he didn't speak up very much.

Controversies

Sell:

In early 1960, after Ron McFarlan had gone to speak to the AIEE board, there was a reciprocal luncheon meeting. Clarence Linder gave a luncheon talk before the IRE board, and maybe you knew something about this. The luncheon speech by Ron McFarland was taped and transcribed, and General Electric set up a microphone for Clarence Linder's speech. Somebody heard about it, thought that it was some kind of a company spy activity, and claimed that the boardroom was bugged, so we don't have a taped transcript of it. I don't know whether George Bailey was involved in this. I don't know anything about it other than occasional funny references.

Teare:

No, but how could you bug it? This is Linder representing AIEE speaking to IRE.

Sell:

GE claimed that they weren't bugging it, that it was just their own way of capturing what he said.

Teare:

Well, I can understand that, except that maybe he had notes he could have given them. One day Warren Chase set up a connection between the two boards meeting in New York at the same time, and it was fixed so that if one board had a question for the other board, it would be spoken out and then answered. Somebody wisecracked that the line was open all the time so that you heard what the other side was saying about you. Warren wasn't that kind of a guy, and besides, we could get straight communications! We could find out what they thought about us without getting it through a bug!

Sell:

I don't know whether it caused any controversy at the time.

Teare:

The only objections that I ever saw to the merger were based on fairly trivial things. It was unfair to AIEE to use the fiscal year for IRE. It had to be one or the other, and my choice was January to January. How many directors, and that sort of thing.

Sell:

That may have been the case in the AIEE, but Ron McFarlan indicated that as far as the IRE was concerned, the merger was a real selling job.

Teare:

Well, I was in AIEE too! I mean it wasn't a selling job that I would be particularly proud of!

Sell:

Because it wasn't that...?

Teare:

Because it wasn't that important! But did Ron say what kind of things had to be sold?

Sell:

No, we didn't have an opportunity to pursue it at that point.

Teare:

I understood that there was a selling job in IRE, too.

Sell:

There was a meeting of the joint committee, which I believe was the eight man committee, in September 1961, in New York, which seems to have been the point at which Lloyd Berkner was fully convinced that the merger would come about. Were you at that meeting? Do you recall that meeting in September 1961?

Teare:

No, I don't think I missed any meetings.

Sell:

That was the meeting when the timetable for the merger process was set.

Teare:

I would have thought I was there, but I don't remember specifically.

Sell:

He said he came away from that meeting really convinced that it was going to happen at that point and he was quite excited by that.

Teare:

My feeling all the way through was that the plan was so reasonable that it ought to go through. If it didn't go through, it would be because of things like personality conflict.

Selectrion of IEEE Leaders

Sell:

Well, it was the very next month after that meeting that both boards voted on the resolution to consolidate, and so evidently that was the point at which it was absolutely clear. It was then after that that Pat Haggerty began to set up the appointments, the two man study groups, to work out the details.

You had mentioned Don Fink due to the fact that he was an excellent manager and a perfect choice for a general manager at that point, but perhaps out of my ignorance of the situation, it seems funny to me that someone who was that resourceful and talented a Director of Research would be let go by a corporation like Philco. Why would they give that man up and let him go on board as a general manager of a new organization?

Teare:

I can't add anything to that. If I start looking under rugs and all that I'd wonder if Philco decided they wanted a new Director of Research.

Sell:

That might be a line of inquiry.

Teare:

Maybe he got fed up with it. Maybe he got tired of working for the company. I thought you were going to ask me why the AIEE people were willing to settle for a past IRE president as their general manager.

Sell:

Well, that is an interesting question, and I'll turn off the tape and erase that and ask it myself, it's such a good one!

Teare:

When you have a committee trying to pick a person for a job, and it's all out of the blue sky, it's pretty hard to find somebody! Somebody might have proposed Chuck Savage, but I think Don was a better guy than Chuck.

Sell:

So probably at the time the politics were superseded by the quality of the man.

Teare:

Yes, by other factorable considerations.

Sell:

Did you get any sense that there might have been regional rivalries involved in the selections of the leaders? There isn't as much representation by the Midwest or the West Coast as there was —

Teare:

That's what you said. I thought we were looking for the best people. I think I had a hand in picking the AIEE people. I would talk to Warren Chase about it, and I would have two or three people to suggest, and he would say, "Yes, he's a good one," or "I'd go slow on him," or something like that, and we didn't put geography in at all. Maybe we made a mistake — maybe we should have!

Sell:

Well, just from Texas alone we have Pat Haggerty, Elgin Robertson, Lloyd Berkner, and W.R. Clark.

Teare:

No, not Clark, he was Philadelphia.

Sell:

Perhaps I'm thinking of Hill, but he wasn't in the final...

Teare:

Elgin Robertson was in a sense one of the grand old men of the AIEE: I mean, he was a natural. I don't know whom else I could think of would be as good. Of course, Pat Haggerty was in the middle of it; Berkner wasn't there to begin with, but he moved to Texas later.

Merger's Impact

Sell:

That's right. Let me ask you this. Was the merger necessary? Maybe we can speculate a bit about what would have happened to the AIEE and to the profession had there never been a merger. Would the membership and the technology also have been better served had the two not merged, had something been done to shore up AIEE at that point?

Teare:

Suppose that IRE had said "No, we don't want the merger," or suppose the shoe was on the other foot. I think things would have gone on about the same. Both societies would have continued. There wouldn't be as much money; what there was would be split two ways. I doubt if electronics as a field benefited a lot from the merger — I doubt if power benefited a lot by the merger. I think computers probably did benefit from the merger, because they got input from both sides. No, I can't believe that these organizations are so vital that it would have made a difference. I mean, I told you earlier my picture of a professional society. It provides a forum for discussion of advances. It provides standards, which a company can't do by itself. It provides recognition, and I think that would have gone on about the same. Probably having 160,000 people in back of something is better. Let's suppose that one of the organizations slipped from 60,000 to 30,000. It wouldn't make a whole hell of a lot of difference.

Sell:

And the technology itself has a real [measure] of its own.

Teare:

I don't think the societies do any more than provide a good ambiance for R&D. I don't think the societies put new ideas into research; if they did, their companies would fire them. The companies want that themselves! But if you provide a means for people not only to present papers, but also a place for people to get together and talk, then you probably speed things up. But companies are not anxious to have their people talk too much. It might have slowed down the unantitrust activities.

The chemical engineering society, AIChE, when I last heard, would not subscribe to the accreditation of chemical engineering departments by the ECPD procedure. They reserved the right to have their own committee vote on it after ECPD got through. They cooperated up to a point, but they held the upper hand. At various times, I have heard it suggested that electricals ought to do that. And maybe others. Well, suppose now that there hadn't been a merger, and suppose one of the two societies had decided that they were going to control the accreditation themselves. Then what? I mean, it would be a kind of chaos. Suppose the standards set by the societies would be different.

Sell:

On the question of standards, the two societies had cooperated from the 1920s, I believe — from the 1930s at least!

Teare:

That's right! But there might come a time when they wouldn't. That's why I think a merger was necessary. I suppose one of the societies lost members or something, got mad at the other one and were trying to flex their muscle!

Sell:

Morris Hooven has always argued that the whole merger process was really flexing the muscles of high frequency people in the IRE, that it was a capturing of the AIEE.

Teare:

It's an interesting observation put in an interesting way, but I can't believe it. Probably Morris represents the group of power people who felt that they were controlling AIEE. I don't think they were, really, but they may have thought they were, and having their influence taken away. In fact, I have heard even within the last year or two that the power group — now a group can call itself a society not just a group — the Power Engineering Society has threatened to secede from IEEE.

Sell:

This is a recent development?

Teare:

No, this is just a continuing grumbling. As far as I can see, I haven't heard any specific intentions.

Sell:

Well, they were the only clear losers in the merger process —

Teare:

In what way were they losers?

Sell:

In the sense of having lost the power they did have in the AIEE.

Teare:

You mean that top officers would be chosen from other groups as well as their own! This is a penalty you pay when you merge, or you get into a big society. When Chase was president, he was telephone. The past president was Flick, who was a power company man from Jackson, Michigan. Linder you might call a power person, but he was Vice-President of Engineering for GE, which is a hell of a lot broader than power. Both societies tended to rotate their presidents among one industry field or another or academia. AIEE probably rotated power and communications and academia.

Sell:

So there wasn't even in the two predecessor societies necessarily a power bloc of the electric light and power people...?

Teare:

Oh, no. And if you looked at geography —

Sell:

At least they perceived themselves that way —

Teare:

Here's the Midwest, here's New York, and here's the Midwest again. Ohio, instead of Michigan. I don't think geography came very heavily into these AIEE choices. But you could look over a list of officers.

Sell:

You have a list there of IRE presidents.

Teare:

Officers and directors. Alexanderson was Schenectady. Appleton I don't know; Armstrong was New York. Ashbridge I don't know, Austen I don't know, Bailey I don't know, Baker was General Electric — well, I can't do much with it. You maybe know their origins better than I. Do you see any indication of the spread or nonspread of geography?

Sell:

No, I don't think I have any knowledge of these people.

Teare:

What kind of directory is this that doesn't give a directory of past presidents? That's terrible! There is a computer society, the Association for Computing Machinery or something. Should they be a branch of the IEEE or not? There is a computer branch, and I don't know whether that encompasses everybody or not. I guess I think it might be a good thing.

Sell:

Of course there is a continuing overlap on a vertical scale, you might say, with the physical societies.

Teare:

Yes. There is more of a difference between physics and say, electrical engineering than there is between AIEE and IRE. You could put something else into that pot. Physics has to include not only electrical physics, but also mechanical physics, optical physics, acoustical physics, and you name it. Now, I guess there's a disadvantage in getting too many things under one umbrella. You lose your identity. It's a question of judgment. I think you could put electronics and power under the same umbrella. I am not saying AIEE was power. You could put them under the same umbrella, but I don't think you could put them under an umbrella with all of the rest of physics.

Sell:

Well, let's say the areas of physics which have to do with electrons and —

Teare:

Would the physics people be happy if you divided them so that some of their people belonged to IEEE? They do that anyway, of course.

Sell:

Joint memberships.

Teare:

Joint memberships in more than one society. Okay.

Sell:

Dr. Teare, I want to thank you very much for granting this interview.

Teare:

Well, the thanks really ought to be the other way! You're doing a job for IEEE, and I have a very high regard for IEEE!