More from 1955… Editorial: Let’s pull together—again

In March of 1955, the Control Engineering editors called for unity among different types of control engineers. In May of the same year, they doubled down, calling for inter-association cooperation.
By Jordan M. Schultz April 25, 2014

May 1955 Control Engineering cover articles include “Moving source makes radiation therapy safer” and “Robot train follows unseen rail.” Courtesy: CFE MediaHappy 60th, Control Engineering! Our magazine first published in September 1954. This monthly column in 2014 will resurrect some of our favorite material from the 1954 and 1955 issues. Technologies have progressed, but they continue to pave the way for today’s innovations. Here is a full-length article penned in 1955 by the Control Engineering editors.

Our March editorial counseled control engineers to support and coordinate activities of existing professional societies rather than to form a new group of their own. Reader feedback was immediate, strong, and sustained. This quotation from one letter sums up the general feeling: "Let’s not even consider starting a new society. There is plenty of room in the present organizations for everybody."

The same editorial pointed out the most recent efforts of the existing societies to provide new activities that serve the control engineer. We referred to the first technical session of the IRE Professional Group on Automatic Control and the first divisional conference of ASME’s Instrument and Regulators Division. Both events took place this spring.

Although these events are evidence of new awareness of the control engineer’s needs, our editorial did not mention the continuous work of other societies. But their loyal members did-quickly and forcefully. A case in point is the conference held by AIEE’s Feedback Control Committee last year in Atlantic City. We are told that the conference will be repeated, complete with enlarged exhibits of working control systems, in the spring of 1956.

Members of the Instrument Society of America hastened to direct attention to services rendered. ISA President Warren H. Brand writes, "The performance and plans of ISA are of sufficient importance to deserve the considerable support of control engineers." With a membership including technicians, professional engineers, and management, the Society "believes that there is a place for all levels of technical interest in the broad and expanding field of automatic control." Certainly the large number of sessions that ASME, AIEE, and IRE will co-sponsor at the Tenth Annual ISA Conference demonstrates a strong cooperative program at a professional level.

Our trial by feedback shows a persuasive reader unity in rejecting thoughts of a new society. We should like to see more of this unity in cooperative efforts among existing societies. The wholehearted support for the American Standards Association’s terminology committee by all technical organizations interested in the terminology of our field is a healthy sign. Additional teamwork could show up through cross-membership in the professional divisions concerned with control, through combined educational programs at national and local levels, and through operational clinics. The results can only be to mutual advantage.

We repeat – Let’s pull together.

– 2014 Edits by Jordan Schultz, content manager, CFE Media,