Zay Jeffries Night—125th Birthday Celebration

Monday, April 22, 2013


5:45 Social/Networking
6:30 Dinner
7:30 ZayJeffriesTribute Lecture

Dr. Zay Jeffries: An Amazing Life

Biographical Lecture by Dr. David Ellis

Perhaps the greatest “unknown” metallurgist today is Dr. Zay Jeffries, who during his lifetime was known as “The Dean of American Metallurgists”.   In a distinguished career spanning 1911 to 1950, Dr. Jeffries accumulated a string of technical, business and technical society accomplishments that few others have ever matched.

Following his graduation from the South Dakota School of Mines in 1911, Dr. Jeffries embarked on research in the then cutting-edge technology of microstructural analysis at the Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western Reserve University).  His works alone and with others led to the development of grain size measurement techniques that are still the basis for modern measurements, and he was an early proponent of the use of x-ray diffraction to study crystal structure.  He was one of the first to understand the relationship between processing, microstructure and properties, the basis for modern Materials Science.  “The Science of Metals”, first published in 1924 with co-author Robert Archer, was a standard metallurgy text even into the 1970s. 

Dr. Jeffries took advantage of Case’s liberal consulting policies to establish relationships with many local companies including General Electric’s (GE’s) Lamp Department at NELA Park, the Aluminum Casting Company (now part of ALCOA) and the National Tube Division of US Steel.

Dr. Jeffries is most associated with GE.  In his first court case as an expert witness, he successfully testified in support of the patent for the Coolidge process, the basis for GE’s incandescent lamp filaments.  His work on the microstructure of tungsten led to GE’s standard for the number of grains in a filament cross-section, a standard that was in use until the end of incandescent light bulb production.  Following his success in lobbying GE to invest in cemented carbide tooling, Dr. Jeffries went on to become President and later Chief Executive Officer of Carboloy, the first non-electric industry-related subsidiary of GE.  Carboloy’s carbide tipped tools served well in World War II, enabling the manufacture of airplane parts made from the otherwise unmachinable high strength aluminum alloys that Jeffries and Archer had invented.  In 1946, Dr. Jeffries took on another new role: Vice President of GE’s Chemical Division, now known as GE Plastics.

Dr. Jeffries was intimately associated with ASM throughout his life.  He was a founding member of the Cleveland Chapter, served as ASM President in 1929, received all five major ASM awards, was an Honorary Member of ASM (the predecessor to today’s ASM Fellows), served as Chairman of the First and Second World Metallurgical Congresses (precursors to today’s MS&T), chaired ASM’s Fiftieth Anniversary committee, and worked extensively with William Eisenman.  In 1960, he gave the keynote speech at the dedication of the current ASM Headquarters.



Crowne Plaza Cleveland South – Independence
5300 Rockside Road
Independence, OH  44131
(216) 524-0700



Please register using the form-link below through noon on April 18, 2013.

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Students pay $10


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