Cleveland Section I. S. A. History
Joseph A. Kaulfersch Cleveland Section President
A few weeks ago
our District Vice President Harriet Radvansky went to a locker we rent that
holds our historical records. She
was able to clean some important looking records that she shared with me. It is fascinating to read this history
and make sense of it.
The archives of
our section reveal there had been a Cleveland Instrument Society in 1944 with 80
members. The featured speaker for
September 1944 was Major Behar, Editor of INSTRUMENTS magazine. His subject was “Some Forgotten
Fundamentals of Instrumentation” It should be noted that instrumentation was an
old word rarely, if ever, applied to industrial process technology before that.
Subsequent speakers at CIS meetings included C.B. Moore founder and President of
Moore Products Co. Springhouse, PA and Donald Eckman formerly of Case Institute
of Technology. It became Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in 1968.
ISA officially was born as the
Instrument Society of America on 28 April 1945, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
USA. The Society
grew out of the desire of 18 local instrument societies to form a national
organization. The Cleveland Section was one of the founding members. It was the
brainchild of Richard Rimbach of the Instruments Publishing Company. Rimbach is
recognized as the founder of ISA.
Industrial instruments, which
became widely used during World War II, continued to play an ever-greater role
in the expansion of technology after the war. Individuals like Rimbach and
others involved in industry saw a need for the sharing of information about
instruments on a national basis, as well as for standards and uniformity. The
Instrument Society of America addressed that need.
Albert F. Sperry
Albert F. Sperry, chairman of
Panelit Corporation, became ISA’s first president in 1946. In that same year,
the Society held its first conference and exhibit in Pittsburgh. The first standard, RP 5.1
Instrument Flow Plan Symbols, followed in 1949, and the first journal, which
eventually became today’s InTech, was published in 1954.
Membership grew from 900 in 1946
to 6,900 in 1953, and today ISA Members number 28,000 from almost 100 countries.
international reach and the fact that its technical scope had grown beyond
instruments, in the fall of 2000, the ISA Council of Society Delegates approved
a legal name change to ISA--The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation
Society. Today, ISA's corporate branding strategy focuses exclusively on the
highly recognizable letters, though ISA's official, legal name remains the same.
At a regular
business meeting on June 26, 1946 the members of the Cleveland Instrument
Society voted to join the ISA as a charter section. Mr. Samuel Boesky voted to join the ISA
as a charter section. It is understandable that Mr. Samuel Bousky-Chairman of
CIS was elected President of the Cleveland Section of the Instrument Society of
The 1950s include
two developments of significance for our section and the ISA. Our first Bulletin was published in
September 1950; it has been an important element of our section ever since.
In 1952 Cleveland was the host city for the National
ISA Meeting & Exhibit. In 1956 our
section began a ten-year relationship with Fenn College Technical Institute by
introducing a four-semester course in Basic Instrumentation. Several luminaries in our section taught
these courses. One of our sage members Franklyn Kirk was one of these. Tom Fisher, Jim Weber and John Dole also
taught these classes. In 1957
was chosen to be the site of the National Meeting & Exhibit. That relationship ended when Fenn
became the base for what today is Cleveland State University (CSU) in 1968. The class was revived when CSU
established its Continuing Education Department.
In 1969 our
section held its first tabletop show.
This became an annual event of importance commercially and financially
for the section. We complemented our
exhibit with a conference or other educational activity. The late John Dole headed this up for
most of those years. However, in the
past ten (10) years we have not had a show due to the lack of interest from
business users not seeing a benefit to send their employees to learn about new
technology and industrial process control.
In 1986 the
Cleveland Section held a regional show that was very successful. Ten years later Cleveland celebrated its 200th
anniversary. It was also the
Cleveland Section’s 50 anniversary and we held another regional show.
ISA decided that
they needed to become an International Society. It was at that time we saw reluctance to
shows in general. Customers were
This year we are
celebrating our 60th anniversary. We believe it to be the function of the
Society (ISA) and its sections to provide industrial instrumentation and,
control standards. In addition, educational service to its members and community
are greatly needed.
It is also interesting to note
that the Cleveland economy has deteriorated to
have the dubious title of being the “Poorest
City in the United States.” We have lost thousands of petrochemical,
auto, steel, aerospace, engineering and manufacturing jobs for many reasons.
They all had ISA members working for them.
These companies could not compete with their competitors. Foreign firms
have purchased them. A few moved
away because of incompetent management and politicians. Many companies closed
because they would not invest in new technology. In the late 1960’s the Harvard MBA model
became the rule. In former times
engineers managed many of these companies who many of us work for. Now the accountants and lawyers rule.
Return on capital assets
is constantly being measured with break-even calculations and strictly financial
returns – all typical “bean-counting” myopia as one luminary has written
recently. The quarterly stock-report has become most important.
The demographics of our country are also changing. A large
percentage of automation professionals are approaching retirement. Although,
they may not be saying, "Take this job and shove it", they will none-the-less be
leaving their jobs, and with a lot of knowledge base. We need to make
young engineers aware and even excited about becoming an automation or controls
engineer and ISA member. The
big question is how does the ISA reach those engineers.
Most universities just don't know about the automation industry and don't offer
applicable course curriculum. It's the responsibility of suppliers, users,
industry organizations and each one of us to promote our industry. Automation
involves so many technologies, i.e. advanced control, mechanatronics, software,
etc. that most young engineers would thrive on.
really not about "taking this job and shoving it", it's about "taking this job
and this ISA and evolving it". As technology evolves, so do our jobs and
responsibilities. But, it all comes down to people...the most valuable assets of
any company. The bottom line will follow.
How we do this
speaks volumes about America’s
future. We as members of ISA have a
responsibility to have the courage to stand up and do what is right for our
society at large.
The Founders’ Mission:
The object of the Society shall be to advance the arts and sciences
connected with the theory, design, manufacture, and use of instruments in the
various sciences and technologies.
The mission of ISA as the global society for instrumentation,
systems, and automation is to:
Maximize the effectiveness of ISA members and other practitioners
and organizations worldwide to advance and apply the science, technology, and
allied arts of instrumentation, systems, and automation in all industries and
Identify and promote emerging technologies and applications.
Develop and deliver a wide variety of high-value information
products and services to the global community.