Case School: The Evolving History

Academics, 1900-1929


President Cady Staley resigned in 1902 leaving behind a rising School with an engineering focus and nine buildings. The second President of Case, Charles Howe, was a renowned engineering education scholar who helped establish engineering education at national level. Howe re-instituted demanding entrance exams and made English a requirement for all engineers. He also sustained an intense fundraising activity and was able to add two new buildings, the Rockefeller Physics laboratory in 1906,  and the Rockefeller Mining and Metallurgy Building.  His leadership made Case School known for its innovative educational program.  At his resignation in 1929, Dr. Howe left a well established School, added several new programs

By 1906, CSAS graduated a total of 530 students and the enrollment was continuously growing. However, by 1918 there was decrease in enrollment due to the World War I. In March 1917, when U.S. entered World War I, the trustees established military drill as a requirement for all students. In August 1918 Case became part of the Student Army Training Corps and military officers took over the instruction and academic programs were accelerated to graduate students faster to go on war duty. A Department of Military Science and Tactics was established and all students did Military Drills and Engineering for 5 hours per week.  The undergraduate curriculum was organized as eight terms of 12 weeks each and organized into five engineering departments: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Metallurgical, and Chemical. In the spring of 1919, the Reserve Officers' Corps was organized as an Infantry Unit for the academic year. 

The fall of year 1918 also  brought a month-long quarantine in October/November due to the Spanish flu outbreak.

Classes returned to the way they were before the war in 1921.

On November 11, 1918, Theodore M. Focke became Case's first Dean. As the Dean, he handled student affairs related duties such as administration of class schedules, exam schedules, admissions of transfer students, grades, discipline, entrance exams for upper classmen, absences, and student advising. The addition of a Dean was just another sign that the School was moving towards offering students a more well-rounded academic experience. One of the first changes in this direction was the opening of Case Club in 1915. Case Club offered space for the Case Athletic Association, student clubs, and physical education and included a gymnasium, swimming pool, bowling alley, dining room, and several offices.

At its October 22, 1925 meeting, Case corporation approved changing the seal by adding the word "The" before "Case School of Applied Science" and formally set the size of the seal at 2 1/4 inches. This format lasted until October 19, 1932, when the Case corporation approved the seal size to be reduced to 1 3/4 inches.

In the early 1920’s, the strong push from local leaders to create a University of Cleveland by merging CSAS and Western Reserve University resulted in the trustees of the two institutions to appoint a commission to study the merger. In 1926, The joint statement from the two institutions reported that such a merger would be impossible.



Departments, 1900-1929


Department of Chemical Engineering

In 1904, chemical engineering appeared as an emphasis and the department changed its name to Department of Chemistry including Engineering Chemistry. In 1907, the department change its name again to become Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. However, the granting of separate degree did not start until 1926. 

The first B.S. in Chemical Engineering was awarded in 1915 and the first M.S. was awarded in 1922. 

In 1911, there were thirty-two sophomores, juniors and seniors declared as chemistry majors, and by 1915, the number of undergraduate chemistry majors increased to forty-nine.



Department of Physics

Due to Charles Howe's fundraising efforts, John D. Rockefeller agreed to fund the construction of two buildings: Rockefeller Physics building and Rockefeller Mining and Metallurgy building.  The Rockefeller Physics laboratory opened in 1906 and continues to be used.

The Physics department was at the forefront of the advancements in the field, with technology and course offerings. With the help of the United States Weather Bureau, the department installed a weather station on the roof of Rockefeller Physics in 1916. The station was equipped with a complete set of meteorological instruments. W. H. Alexander, the official in charge of the Cleveland U.S. Weather Bureau station, gave lectures to Case students. In 1925, the department also installed a radio receiving station with the most up-to-date equipment available at that time.
By 1922, the course offerings included a course in Theory of Radio Communication taught by John R. Martin and courses in X-Ray and Crystal Structures that were taught by Christian Nusbaum.  

Dayton Miller, in collaboration with Edward Morley, continued the experiments of ether drift detection started by Michelson. His work resulted in developing the most sensitive interferometer in the world at that time. Miller had many research interests, including x-rays and acoustics. He was the first to take a full body x-ray. He had an impressive collections of flutes he used to develop a machine capable of recording sound waves - the phonodeik. His experience in acoustics aided the U. S. government during World War I, conducting research on sound and shell shock.



Department of Mathematics and Astronomy

In 1902, Howe became the second president of Case and many of his Math Department duties were turned over to Theodore Focke, who became the fourth Kerr Professor and remained so until 1944.

By 1918 there were eight faculty and instructors in mathematics and astronomy.

The department opened a new Observatory in 1920 with the generous support of Worcester R. Warner and Ambrose Swasey. Its dedication meant the closing of the small observatory located on campus, also nicknamed the "tin can observatory," which functioned between 1897-1920. The Warner & Swasey Observatory was located on a hill on Taylor Road at Brunswick Circle, East Cleveland.


Department of Civil Engineering

Similar to other School departments, the Civil Engineering Department focused on remaining current with new developments and the industry needs. Thus, in 1904, the department offered courses in railroad engineering, highway engineering, roads and bridges and details of construction. However, when the importance of railroad engineering diminished by 1929, the department's emphasis changed to highway engineering and mechanics of structures.

The Department occupied twelve rooms in the Case Main and used the campus and adjacent grounds to teach surveying. In 1907, the rooms were used as recitation rooms, drafting rooms, library and reading rooms, cement and concrete laboratories, and offices. The library contained 1000 volumes, 2200 indexed pamphlets and 7000 prints and photographs. "The instrument room contained a precise level of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Model, a 100-foot standard bar for comparison of tapes, 20 complete engineer's transits, 12 engineer's shovels, chains, level and sight rods of all types, and many cases of structural models and materials.''

To increase practical opportunities for students, the department established the first off-campus surveying camp in 1907. Known as Case Camp, the location moved every other year or so, until 1918 when it moved to Waynesburg and remained there until 1938.



Department of Mechanical Engineering 

Cleveland was fast becoming a center of the machine tool field and the need for professionally trained men increased rapidly. The beginning of the new century was a little difficult for the department due to several staff turnovers but the growing demand for trained mechanical engineers to fulfill industrial needs required course expansion and additions to the staff. The growth of the department was supported by the generous equipment gifts from the local firms.

The department shared the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory building with the Mining Engineering Department until 1905, when the Mining Department moved to their new building (Rockefeller Mining and Metallurgy).  The main floor of the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory was devoted to machine work and the pattern making space was located on the 2nd floor. The shop was equipped with the latest machinery of the time. In 1909, the shop added a Lucas horizontal boring machine, Brown & Sharpe Universal Milling machine, Brown & Sharpe Universal grinder, Pratt and Whitney tool room lathe, Potter and Johnson sharper and an Allen drill. In 1918 the drafting room was improved by the addition of a Wagenhorst Electric Blue Printer.

In 1903, the department added a 10,000 square foot power plant laboratory with enough capacity to heat multiple buildings. The power plant was equipped with an air compressor, the Westinghouse gas engine, the De Laval steam turbine, new condenser, the boiler room with 125 horsepower Babcock & Wilcox boiler, new feed pump, and heater. In 1905, the department installed a new engine for lighting and power. In 1906, the department accepted a donation of a five ton refrigerating plant, several automobile engines and the automobile testing floor from the Arctic Ice Machine Company. Courses offered in 1920 included: Pattern Making and Foundry Practice; Machine Shop Practice; Machine Detail Drawing; Thermodynamics of Gases and Vapors; Heat Engines; Machine Design; Power Plant Engineering; Heating, Ventilation and Refrigeration; Heat Power Engineering, and Engineering Contracts and Specifications.

World War I slowed the growth of the department, but the rhythm accelerated after the war. The increased enrollment in the department required larger and more modern space. In 1925, Charles W. Bingham, a trustee, offered President Howe $500,000 toward the erection of a new laboratory for Mechanical Engineering. His son William gave another $500,000 to endow and maintain the new building. The building was equipped with modern equipment and allowed for expansion. In addition to everything that was available in the old building, a Foundry and Heat Treating Laboratory was added.The new space and equipment also allowed for curriculum expansion. The Department had two departments chairs during this period, Dr. Robert H. Fernald between1907-1913 and Dr. F. H. Vose, between 1913-1945.



Department of Metallurgical and Mining Engineering

The beginning of the century brought many changes for the Mining Department. First, in 1903 the department split into the Mining Engineering and the Geology and Mineralogy departments. After moving to its new building, the Rockefeller Mining and Metallurgy in 1905, the Mining Department changed its name to Mining and Metallurgical Engineering in 1907. In 1908, the curriculum splits mining engineering and metallurgical engineering into separate programs (Engineer of Mines and Metallurgical Engineer). The department changed its name again in 1922 to Metallurgical and Mining Engineering. The first designated degree in mining was awarded in 1903. The first B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering was awarded in 1910. In 1928 Edith Paula Chartkoff received a M.S. in Metallurgy being the first woman to graduate from Case School.

By 1911, the Mining and Metallurgy department offered courses in topographical mapping, mining and metallurgy machinery, drawing and mine surveying, metallurgy and electric smelting, metal refining and gas analysis for engineers, ore treatment, mining law, mining engineering, metallography, metallurgical analysis, ore and rock analysis, and ore mill and metallurgical plant design. In 1907, the department began organizing out-of-town practice term trips, starting with mines and metallurgical plants in upper Michigan. These trips continued for many years and visited many mines and plants in the U. S. and Canada.

In 1903, students from the department organized the Pick and Shovel Club.




Department of Electrical Engineering 

The Electrical Engineering department was also striving to keep up with the increased demand for electrical engineers and the diversification of industry needs. To increase the number of courses offered by the department while having a limited number of faculty, the department invited engineers from local companies like the General Electric Company and the Welsbach Company to teach additional courses. In 1925, the department awarded the first M.S. to T .D. Owens.

By 1901, the department offered courses in Applied Electricity, Electro-Chemistry and Metallurgy, Electrical Laboratory, Applied Electricity, Analytical and Graphic Treatment of the Theory of Alternating Currents, Dynamo and Motor Design, The Operation, Construction and Installation of Alternating Current Machinery, and Power Distribution and Electric Railways.  Over time, course offerings were expanded to meet the demands of the time. By 1915,  a course in the Science and the Art of Illumination was offered to seniors students.

To offer students opportunities for practical experience, the department added inspection trips to various electrical companies in Cleveland and neighboring cities in 1903. These inspection trips continued for many years. In 1925, the inspection trips took the juniors to Fort Wayne, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1927, the inspection trips took the juniors to Niagara Falls, the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York and Pittsfield, Massachusetts and to New York City and Washington D.C.

Recognizing the value of professional associations, the junior and senior students  formed the Electrical Engineering Club in 1908, with meetings held once each week. Most of the electrical engineering students were affiliated with the Cleveland Section of the American Institute of Electrical Engineering that invited outstanding engineers to give lectures on campus.


Department of Applied Mechanics

The Department was established in 1898 and courses in applied mechanics were mandatory for all engineering students.


Department of Geology and Mineralogy

Geology and Mineralogy courses were offered starting in 1894 by Prof. Albert Smith. Prof. F. R. Van Horn joined him in 1897 and became the sole instructor in the Geology and Mineralogy department at its establishment in 1902. By 1922, courses in Geology and Mineralogy were given to to the civil and mining engineering students, as well as junior physicists and sophomore chemists.


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