1915—Times Square: Broadway and the Times Building, which is the headquarters of the New York Times from 1913 through 2007.
1915—Trustees approve the creation of the Department of Chemical Engineering, which is to be separate from the Department of Chemistry. Prof. Daniel Dana Jackson becomes the inaugural chair.
With the beginning of World War I in Europe, American engineers increasingly advocate for developing a technological edge, leading to the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The first meeting of NACA takes place in Washington D.C. on April 23, 1915. Prof. Pupin (seated, on the right) was an inaugural member of this committee. NACA works to advance aviation research until it is absorbed into the new space agency, NASA, in 1958.
1915—Street peddlers are very common in poorer areas.
1916—Graduate student Walter F. Rittman discovers important new ways to crack petroleum. In the same year, he writes The Analytical Distillation of Petroleum, with E.W. Dean. An example of an apparatus presented in this book is shown. This follows their March 1915 publication in The Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry and Rittman’s 1915 demonstration of these findings to government and industry representatives in the basement of Havemeyer Hall. In 1914, he had written the book Thermal Reactions in Carbureting Water Gas.
Broadway and 119th Street, in 1916 and 1919.
1916—The polio epidemic plagues New York. Shown (left): a 1916 pamphlet from the New York City Department of Health that offers sanitary advice for polio prevention.
1918-1919—The “Spanish” influenza pandemic strikes New York. Shown (right): public workers often wore masks for protection.
Mines Building lecture hall during this period.
1916—Pushcart market in the Lower East Side.
1917—As the U.S. enters the Great War (also called the World War, and later World War I), electrical engineering faculty help the war effort by teaching at the Navy Submarine School in New London. As part of this effort, Prof. Michael Pupin develops sonar.
1917—Professor Francis Bacon Crocker invents (with Peter Cooper Hewitt) and tests one of the nation’s first helicopters. Shown: a drawing of this helicopter from the December 13, 1919 issue of Scientific American.
1917—The John Fritz Medal is awarded to Mines’ steel expert, Prof. Henry Marion Howe. Since 1902 it has been awarded annually by the American Association of Engineering Societies for "outstanding scientific or industrial achievements”. Other awardees in the same time period included: 1906—George Westinghouse; 1907—Alexander Graham Bell; 1908—Thomas Alva Edison; 1910—Alfred Nobel; 1920—Orville Wright; 1923—Guglielmo Marconi.
1918—Fifth Avenue bus.
1918—Laboratory notebook (right), describing Edwin H. Armstrong's discovery of superheterodyne reception, as recorded by Harold Miller Lewis (1893-1978). Armstrong is an instructor and assistant to Prof. Pupin at the time, and becomes a professor after WWI. As a student, he had already developed the regenerative circuit (1912) and, as a professor, would later invent FM radio (1933). He is shown atop RCA’s 115-foot north antenna tower, which stood on the roof of 21-story Aeolian Hall station's in New York City, on May 14, 1923.
Left: celebration when World War I ends on November 11, 1918. Right: On September 10, 1919, nearly a year later, Gen. John J. Pershing leads a victory parade down Fifth Avenue.
1920—The Department of Industrial Engineering (IE) begins, with founding chair Prof. Walter Rautenstrach (left). Operations Research (OR) is later promoted by Prof. Sebastian Littauer (right). OR courses are offered starting 1952. IE and OR are integrated into the Department of Industrial and Management Engineering in 1961, becoming IEOR in 1978.
Lou Gehrig was a Columbia student for two years, starting in 1921. He prepares to pursue a degree in engineering. Shown (left): Gehrig plays Columbia baseball and football. He leaves to join the New York Yankees in 1923. Shown (right): In the background behind Babe Ruth on June 1, 1925, one day before he replaces Wally Pipp at first base and does not miss a game until May 1, 1939.
Times Square in 1922.
Summer in the City, at the Coney Island beach, looking east from Steeplechase Pier, on Sunday, July 30, 1922.
1922—The 2/2 program begins. After 2 years, College students can now transfer to Engineering to obtain a generic BS in two years, for a total of four years. It replaces the six-year-long 3/3 program and makes Columbia Engineering more competitive. From 1864 until until the start of the 3/3 plan (1913-1914) high school graduates could enter Mines/Engineering directly and matriculate as undergraduate students. The 2/2 program is considered a great improvement by most, but not all (left).
April 18, 1923—Yankee Stadium opens, as seen: just before opening (upper left); again in 1923 (lower left). The mezzanine and upper grandstands are completed later in the 1920s. Later, on April 16, 2009, the new Yankee Stadium opens (right).
Electrical Engineering laboratory during this period.
Manhattan traffic, looking west from the Williamsburg Bridge, on January 29, 1923.
On the afternoon of February 12, 1924 George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue debuts in the Aeolian Hall in New York City to a packed house.
Door knobs are plated on April 3, 1924 that are the first objects ever chrome plated by the process invented and popularized by Chemical Engineering Professor Colin Fink (upper photos). Plated door knobs (lower photo) upon their retirement in 1953 after being used on the doors of Prof. Fink's lab in 101 Havemeyer for 24 years, along with Vernon Burr, who plated them as a lab assistant, and Mrs. Colin G. Fink.