Engineer of the Week No.28. Today we remember American mechanical engineer, Ethel H. Bailey
Ethel Bailey was an American mechanical engineer working from about 1917 to some time in the 1950s. As well as her active membership of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES was the only such society worldwide during most of her working life) she is understood to have been one of the first women to be admitted as a full member of the American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and was also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers, and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Her dates, background and education are unknown but she had some training through the Michigan State Automobile School (1918) and at George Washington University in 1920. During the First World War she worked for the Lowe, Willard, Fowler Engineering Company in Queens, New York. They were contractors to the U.S. Army and Navy Air Services, and she worked as an aeronautical material engineer, overseeing the testing of the materials and parts for the T -3 Army Transport planes and Type XII bombing planes built for the army, and the Davis-Douglas torpedo planes constructed for the navy.
In 1924 she was an engineer in the Research Department of the Society of Automotive Engineers, New York, working on various problems in connection with automotive research, on the basis of which she gave a paper at the International Conference of Women in Science, Industry and Commerce organised by WES during the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1925. Unfortunately her paper is a general survey of the range of SAE’s research work, so we get no clue as to her own research work there. In 1929 she moved to a new post, at General Electric Co.’s Bloomfield works.
During World War 2 she initially worked in radar procurement for the Signal Corps Radar Laboratory and in 1943 went to Raytheon Manufacturing Co., Waltham, Mass., as a mechanical engineer, where she helped organise production of radar equipment for USNavy. After the war she spent a while as director of the technical publications division of a printing company in Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a research assistant in the Department of Biology, developing spectroscopic equipment. The last record for her still working at MIT is in 1967, when she was involved in professional education and guidance.