Year 103 – 1963: Explosive Working of Metals by John S. Rinehart and John Pearson

Published: New York, 1963

Welding of metals is a process crucial to technology and industry, but certain metals defy conventional welding. Explosive welding was developed as a solution to this problem, allowing such welded pairings as titanium with steel, and copper with steel. The research partnership of Rinehart and Pearson was among the first to develop this now widely-applied technology.

Rinehart and Pearson met while both were working at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, California. As they state in the preface to Explosive Working of Metals, each author wrote the section of the book with which he was most familiar: Reinhart’s portion is on the “physical basis of explosive metal working” while Pearson covers “engineering fundamentals and practices of explosive metal working.”

This book was once at the forefront of explosive metalworking research. The preface notes that “a treatise of this type, being the first in this field, will be especially useful to aircraft and missiles producers … as well as the thousands of small and large companies supplying parts to these major industries.”

We know that at least one major company found the book useful enough to be worth purchasing: ownership stamps at the front of MIT’s copy indicate that it was originally in the Advanced Research Department of the E.G. & G. Library in Bedford, Mass.

E.G. & G. (now a part of URS Corporation) was a company formed after World War II by MIT engineers Harold “Doc” Edgerton, Kenneth Germeshausen, and Herbert Grier (Germeshausen and Grier, as graduate students, had both studied with Edgerton at MIT).  E.G. & G. did defense contract work in nuclear weaponry for the United States government, and helped to develop the hydrogen bomb.

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