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ACTION OF THE IRON AND STEEL INSTITUTE OF
At the annual meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute, held at London, May 10, 1882, the General Secretary read the thirteenth annual report of the Council, in which the following passage occurs :
"In Mr. Holley's recent decease we have to deplore the loss of a member who occupied a most conspicuous place in connection with the iron and steel industry of the United States, and whose active interest in the affairs of this Institute was shown on many occasions during his membership, which extended from 1873 to the time of his death.
“In recognition of Mr. Holley's great services, the Council have decided to forward to his family the Bessemer medal for 1882."
Upon the presentation of the report of the Council, the President, Josiah T. Smith, Esq., spoke in part as follows:
“ The report unfortunately indicates the death of a very large number of members; but it would not be wise or desirable on these periodical occasions to harrow the feelings of friends by alluding at length to the losses they have sustained. At the same time, there are names amongst those who have gone to which it would be highly improper not to allude before adopting the report. Amongst these, I refer more especially to the death of the distinguished American, Mr. Holley. That gentleman gave himself an infinite amount of trouble to attend our meetings; and the clear and straightforward manner in which he always explained to us the development of the trade of his own country, at the same time modestly keeping in the background his own efforts, elicited our admiration and thanks. Those efforts were so highly appreciated that the Council felt that the Bessemer medal was due to Mr. Holley, and hoped to have the pleasure of presenting it to him at this meeting. They have now, however, to hand it to his representatives.”
On the same day, the Bessemer medal was delivered by a deputation of the Council to Hon. J. Russell Lowell, the American Ambassador, and was subsequently transmitted, through the Department of State at Washington, to the family of Mr. Holley.
The Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute (No. II., 1882) contains an extended obituary notice of Mr. Holley, which concludes (after biographical and professional details which need not be repeated here, since they are contained in greater fulness elsewhere in this volume) with the following words :
“Of Mr. Holley's many-sided character, apart from his career as an engineer and metallurgist, the scope of this too brief sketch does not allow of much being said. The universal esteem in which he was held has been sufficiently evidenced by the manifold tributes of sorrow and regard which have been paid to his memory, since his decease, by the leading men of the iron trade on the two continents, between which his genius and his amiability tended so greatly to establish an entente cordiale,"
THE PITTSBURGH TESTIMONIAL.
REPEATED reference having been made in the foregoing pages to this testimonial, it is deemed proper to insert here a brief account of it, and a report of the remarks made on the occasion, taken from a volume printed at the time for private distribution.
The “testimonial” itself consisted in a handsome silver pitcher and salver, presented in token of appreciation and regard to Alexander Lyman Holley from his friends,
William R. Jones,
Daniel J. Morrell,
James Park, Jr.,
The occasion selected for the presentation was a social reception given to the American Institute of Mining Engineers, during its Pittsburgh meeting, at Home Lawn, the residence of Mr. William P. Shinn, East End, Pittsburgh, on the evening of Thursday, May 15th, 1879. The affair was kept secret from Mr. Holley until the last moment; and indeed, there was a narrow escape from disappointment through his absence; since, exhausted by the labors of the meeting, he had decided not to attend the reception, unconscious that so much depended upon his presence. Being persuaded at last to change his determination, he left his bed to join his assembled friends.
Mr. Shinn, in making the presentation, spoke in behalf of the donors as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen : Allow me to claim your attention for a few moments. A once prominent railroad official was known to define an engineer as a “man who knew what he wanted to do and how
to do it,” and he added, by way of illustration, that he was an engineer in that sense. The definition is not so wide of the mark as the application. This gentleman was well known as never knowing either what he wanted to do or how to do it. It must, therefore, be evident that a “mining engineer” is one who wants to mine, and knows how. In this sense, I fear that many of us are in the same category with the railroad official referred to. Some of us sport the title of “ civil engineer.” It is presumably a reasonable requirement of all engineers to be civil, yet some of us find even that task difficult. There are yet others who masquerade under the designation of“ mechanical engineers," and there is one of our number who has imposed upon a too credulous and confiding public with this title and sundry others, to which I will refer, until “ forbearance has ceased to be a virtue," and it has fallen upon me to expose him before this intelligent audience.
This gentleman appeared in this vicinity some years ago and his theme was “blowing Bessemer steel.” His ambition appeared to be to blow about something, and his greatest desire was to “blow a heat.” This gentleman was always descanting upon converting things—and people. He made some converts and some converters, but such a failure was he in this direction, that those who came in contact with his converters found themselves consigned to a hotter place than they had ever reached before. The most remarkable characteristic of the converts of this gentleman's converters, is that they are always inclined to steel. This gentleman also indulges in the title of“ consulting engineer,” and frequently favors his victims -whom he is pleased to call his “ clients ” - with a visit for consultation. This visit results in his finding out all we know, and in return he confidentially tells all that he don't know; and there is so much of the latter, that he seems to doubt whether what he gets from us is a full equivalent !
He occasionally goes abroad, to England and the Continent, and favors our foreign friends by “consulting” them in like manner. Anon, he talks of " basic linings," as if his ordinary schemes were not base enough; and you have heard him, at this very meeting, hold forth upon “economical gas-producers," as if such articles were
” valuable anywhere outside of Congress and our State Legislatures. But his propositions are so plausible, his manner so winning, his countenance so frank and “open-hearth ” like, and his gas so overpowering, that he has admirers who still insist upon doing him honor; and it is because of this that I have sought to place before you
facts in regard to this gentleman's true characteristics, lest you might be misled into that confidence, the burden of which these misguided persons have laid upon me this evening.
This gentleman's name you perhaps have heard, for it has a habit of getting into print—it is Alexander Lyman Holley. After all, Mr. Holley's blowing has been for Bessemer, for Siemens, for Tessie du Motay, for anybody and everybody except Holley, and that victimized few, as whose representative I appear here to-night, have resolved that one blow at least shall be struck for Alexander Lyman Holley.
Mr. Holley! In behalf of a few of those whose lives you have made a burden by teaching them the pathway to success in making Bessemer steel, and then leaving them to the mercy of the mathematician and the chemists-with their "analyses” and their “formulæ," their “moments” of this and their "units” of that-I present you this testimonial, which I find characterized in the official catalogue as a "pitcher upon a plateau.” Which is the "pitcher,” you can doubtless perceive; which is the “plateau,” I leave for your patient and careful investigation, believing that, as in other cases which you have undertaken, science will finally triumph and the“ plateau ” will be discovered. The catalogue further states that the figures on the pitcher are a symbolical representation of "art chasing nature.” It is an undoubted fact that nature needs chasing, as witness the too plentiful phosphorus in the convenient pig-iron; and as the art of Thomas and Gilchrist has now succeeded in chasing it out, so has your art chased nature out of many of her strongholds and forced her to deliver
her secrets to science. In behalf of those whose names are recorded herein, I beg that you will accept this testimonial as but a slight evidence of their appreciation of your great professional ability, your high moral worth, and as an indication of their steadfast friendship.
The gift was uncovered, and after a moment of embarrassed silence, Mr. Holley, with tremulous voice, responded as follows:
I thank you for the kind and elegant manner in which you have presented this lovely gift; it is not only a surprise but an astonishment, so much so that I am utterly unprepared to properly respond.
My kind friends have intended this delightful presentation as a recognition of my contribution to the development of our Bessemer manufacture. I am disposed to be a modest man; but there is one