Welcome to the
Providence Engineering Society
The Providence Engineering Society was
founded in 1894 and is the oldest professional engineering society in the United States.
The Society offers engineers from a wide range of disciplines opportunities to network,
improve their technical competence, and socialize with fellow professionals.
Originally formed as the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers in 1789,
today's Providence Engineering Society is the outgrowth of a small group of engineers with
a common interest.
Meeting in the Old Rhode Island State House, this technical society came to hold
considerable influence in the City of Providence. The membership counted among its ranks a
number of distinguished men including Joseph R. Brown (Brown University) whose membership
certificate was dated 1833.
An impressive library was amassed during the early years and in 1877-1878 became the
nucleus of the Providence Public Library. Over one-half of the books of the Public Library
upon its opening were contributed by the association. A contribution of $10,000 from the
estate of Joseph Brown became the financial cornerstone on what is today an impressive
resource for the entire state.
Following the dissolution of the original association, a group of men having an interest
in mechanics and mechanical engineering and its relation to the technology of the day met
in what was the old Providence Y.M.C.A. building. Present at that meeting in 1894 were
such prominent representatives as William W. Chase of Cleveland Twist Drill and George E.
Merryweather, director of machine tool production for the War Industries Board. Since the
organization was to appeal to the interests of intelligent and progressive mechanics, the
name Rhode Island Association of Mechanicians was adopted. However, this name was
short-lived as it did not seem to fit the ambitions of the new organization's leadership.
The name was changed shortly thereafter to the Providence Association of Mechanical
Engineers. The organization was to carry the name for the next 20 years. The first
president of this new Association was Arthur H. Fuller who served from 1895 to 1897.
Today, the Providence Engineering Society is
the parent organization to the local chapters of eight different professional societies
that include the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Heating,
Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, Association for Facilities Engineering,
Rhode Island Society of Professional Land Surveyors, Rhode Island Society of Professional
Engineers, Structural Engineering Society of Rhode Island, Safety Association of Rhode
Island, and Illuminating Engineers Society.
The Providence Engineering Society is a multi-disciplinary
engineering organization dedicated to education and the exchange of information among the
various engineering organizations servicing the Rhode Island area.
The Providence Engineering Society offers opportunities to bring
professionals together for recognition, fellowship, and the exchange of information. These
opportunities for the social and educational enrichment of the membership will be provided
through printed page, electronic media, and live presentations.
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