President's Corner - January

Download the rest of the January Newsletter here

100 years ago today, 5 local engineers met in what I am going to assume for dramatic effect was a dark, smoky bar in Cleveland to sign a petition to establish the Ohio Chapter of ASHVE.* They were all active at the Society level and wanted a means to encourage participation in our state.

At the time, Cleveland was booming. The population surged 41% between 1910 and 1920 to become the 5th largest city in the United States. Society dues back then were just $10 – $235 in 2015 dollars – which is about 15% more expensive than membership now (you’re welcome).

Cleveland hosted the annual meeting of ASHVE in 1932, 1940 and 1964, and the Fall Semi-Annual meeting in 1914, 1921 and 1945. We also hosted the ASRE annual conference in 1931 and the semi-annual meeting in 1923 and 1943. There has been a push to try and get the summer meeting back to Cleveland once more, but time will tell on that one.

Four of our chapter members have served as society president, the last being John James in 1956. Two more Cleveland residents served before the chapter was chartered, in 1900 and 1910.

ASHVE’s national laboratory was located here from 1944 until it was closed in 1961. Research was then dispersed to a number of universities. ASHVE was the only professional organization at the time that maintained a national laboratory. This is where ASHVE and then later ASHRAE did much of the basic research on thermal comfort and solar irradiation.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this gem from the very first chapter report to Society in May 1916:

“The progress of the Ohio Chapter has not been phenomenal, due to the fact that the profession and business interested of our members have been so taken up as to make it almost impossible for them to give the attention to the Chapter affairs that they would have liked.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Congrats to all who have helped make this chapter what it is, and to all of the 50 year and life members who have dedicated their life’s work to this industry.

If you have a history item or a good story that you would like to share or just file away for posterity, please contact me at or Tom House at

*Quick Acronym Refresher: ASHVE – Heating and Ventilation Engineers; ASRE – Refrigeration Engineers; ASHAE – Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers