Case School: The Evolving History

Materials Science and Engineering

Historical names



The curriculum for the Mining Department was established in 1886 and the first instructor was Albert W. Smith who taught Chemistry and Metallurgy. Dr. Frank van Horn joined the department in 1887. The first degree in Mining is conferred in 1888 to A.M. Campbell. Course catalog states "The course in mining engineering comprises the studies common to all of the engineering courses and, in addition, special instruction in mining, surveying, mining machinery, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and metallurgy."

In 1893, a new wing is added to the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory building to host the Mining Department. In 1897, the department added a graduate program in mining and metals. The first degree in mining engineering was granted to Frank Humel.


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 own building, the Rockefeller Laboratory for Mining and Metallurgy in 1905, the Mining department changed its name to Mining and Metallurgical Engineering in 1907, and in 1908, the curriculum splits mining engineering and metallurgical engineering into seperate 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. By 1907, the department awarded degrees of Engineer in Mining and MetallurgicalEngineer. The first B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering was awarded in 1910.

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 started organizing out of town practice term trips, starting with mines and metalurgical plants in the 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.



After mining engineering was discontinued in 1931, the Mining and Metallurgy Department was renamed the Department of Metallurgy. The Rockefeller Mining and Metallurgy building was improved in 1941 and new lab equipment was purchased. In 1942, the first Ph.D. in Metallurgy was awarded to Harry P. Croft.

The catalog for metallurgy included courses such as Blast Furnace Cost and Operation, Open Hearth Operation and Design, Industrial Furnaces, Advanced Metallography, Hydro Metallurgy of Copper, Ingots and Ingot Molds, and Applied X-Ray Spectrometry.