Chapter Information

2022-2023 Officers:
Chair: Nicholas Lessnau
Vice Chair: Mark Harper
Secretary: Rajan Bhambroo
Treasurer: Daniel Baker

Contact Information:

ASM Detroit Chapter
PO Box 1398
Warren, MI 48090

Chapter History and Woodside Lecture:
The Woodside Lecture is named after William P. Woodside, who founded ASM in Detroit in 1913.  William Park Woodside was born in Bruce County, Ontario, on March 4, 1877. Apprenticed to the blacksmith trade as a young man, he learned metalworking and the usefulness of heat-treatment in the creation of everyday products. After emigrating to Detroit, he realized the industrial need for quenching oils and heat-treatment salts; in 1911, he founded Park Chemical to supply the automotive industry. 

After forming Park Chemical, he found that the industrial base lacked consistency and standardization in the use of heat treatment. Two years later, in October 13, 1913, he invited a select group of 13 men to a meeting at the Fellow Craft Club on Washington Street in downtown Detroit (the site is now the Madison Building). The group was composed of the leading heat treaters in the Detroit area; one invitee, Anthony Hoensheid, had formed the first official heat treating company, Hoensheid Heat Treating, in 1916 (as Commercial Steel Treating Company, it is still in operation as the oldest commercial heat-treater in North America).

From this group, the Steel Treaters Club was organized and began meeting on a regular basis with the aim of “furthering the concepts of sharing metallurgical and technological advances.” In 1915, the Club began to expand as its first technical members were admitted. Three years later, the name was changed to the Steel Treaters Research Society of Detroit; its activities included the “setting and publication of standards that described the proper heat treatment practice necessary to produce the desired physical properties in steels.” 

Throughout the succeeding decades, the name changed from the Steel Treaters Research Society of Detroit to the American Society for Steel Treating and finally to the American Society for Metals. Membership grew (locally and nationally), and the dinner meeting with the technical talk as well as the annual Golf Outing became the staples of our local chapter.

William Woodside went on from founding Park Chemical to hold executive positions with Cadillac, Studebaker, and Crucible Steel, all while remaining chairman of Park Chemical’s Board; he eventually retired from Climax Molybdenum as its vice-president in 1943. That year, to honor him and his service to ASM, the Detroit Chapter Executive board designated the final meeting to be the Woodside Lecture. The inaugural speaker was Charles Kettering, a founder of Delco and (then) vice-president of GM Research; his presentation was entitled “Research and the Future.”

William Woodside and his wife moved to Arizona in 1949, where they lived until his death on December 5, 1956.  He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, alongside such notables as the Dodge Brothers, Edsel and William Clay Ford, Albert Cobo, and a host of Motown stars. The society he founded now has chapters throughout the United States and the world.