Kokomo legend Elwood Haynes joins a list of world-renowned scientists such as Thomas Edison and Nickola Tesla as the newest inductee into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame.
Haynes, who designed one of the nation’s first automobiles and created the extremely versatile metallic Stellite in his Kokomo lab, is a member of the new class of inductees at the Dayton, IA-based nonprofit. Ohio.
The Engineering and Science Hall of Fame is an international organization established to honor engineers and scientists who, using scientific and engineering principles, have made significant contributions to human welfare.
The band members traveled to Kokomo on Friday to visit the Elwood Haynes Museum for a tour and to discuss the best person to receive a signature medallion in Haynes’ name at an official induction ceremony Nov. 9.
Hall of Fame President Jim Mattice was at the museum on Friday and said the nonprofit’s 20-member board voted unanimously to induct Haynes, which has rarely happened since the band’s inception.
“With his accomplishments and contributions to the benefit of humanity, we voted unanimously to have him as one of our nominees,” Mattice said.
Montelle DuChane, marketing and communications specialist for Haynes International who was at the museum, said the company was honored to have its founder recognized for his metallurgical achievements.
“It’s a big deal,” she said. “He’s also been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, but it’s good to see him recognized for things other than the car.”
Haynes was born in Portland, Indiana, in 1857. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1881, where he discovered tungsten chrome steel. In 1884, he attended Johns Hopkins University for graduate studies.
Haynes helped establish the state’s natural gas industry. In 1888 he invented the steam thermostat, and in 1890 he moved to Greentown as superintendent of the Indiana Natural Gas Company.
Haynes conceived the idea of a “horseless carriage” in Portland in 1891. He moved to Kokomo, completed the plans, and hired Elmer and Edgar Apperson to build the first automobile in 1893.
After discovering an alloy consisting of pure chromium and pure nickel, he began commercially producing automobiles under the Haynes Apperson logo in 1898, according to the Elwood Haynes Museum.
The following year, Haynes also discovered an alloy to make a durable spark plug electrode, which led to the formation of the Haynes Stellite Company.
These cobalt-based alloys found immediate use as lathe tools during World War I, tripling machining output. Since then, many new nickel and cobalt alloys have been invented and have found uses ranging from prosthetics to space shuttles, jet engines, nuclear power plants and submarines.
Mattice said those credentials made it a no-brainer to induct Haynes into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame.
“Our people were impressed that they were not only a pioneer in automobiles, but also in stainless steels, which virtually everyone in the world has benefited from,” he said. “So it turned out to be quite easy.”