At the beginning of the twentieth century, Cincinnati was over a century old and already had a well-established industrial base. It was also home to the eighty-year-old University of Cincinnati, an institution that was grounded in the classics and liberal arts but was moving towards the rapidly developing field of engineering.
In 1900, the first University catalog with a separate College of Engineering was published. Shortly thereafter, Herman Schneider was named dean in 1906. The concept of Cooperative Education was conceived and implemented by Herman Schneider as a format of higher education in which the student alternates periods of academic study with periods of employment for the purposes of integrating classroom theory with work experience.1 This combination of academic and practical education is designed to expand, enhance, and enrich the participating students' skills, abilities, and understanding of his/her chosen field at graduation. His resume was brief: he had graduated from Lehigh University as a civil engineer, practiced architecture, built bridges for the Oregon Short Line Railroad, and returned to Lehigh as a faculty member.
As an engineering professor at Lehigh University, Herman Schneider grew increasing concerned over what he perceived to be a gap between theory and practice in the subjects he taught. In 1901, he conceived the idea of incorporating the experience many of his engineering students received in the local mills immediately upon graduation and often over summer vacation into the curriculum of the college.2 He had even found sponsors for his system among industries in Pittsburgh. Then the Carnegie Institute of Technology opened its doors and the co-operative education plan was no longer needed there.
Cincinnati, however, was an ideal place to begin such an experiment in education: among its industries were a variety of machine tool companies which needed skilled labor to grow and prosper. At the time of his appointment in 1903, over thirty machine-tool factories were in operation and the city was in the process of constructing a new filtration plant and waterworks system which was being followed closely by engineers and municipal authorities across the nation. There were, as well, industrial leaders who were willing to lend their support, including Fred A. Geier, of Cincinnati Milling Machine, who was already a member of the university's Board of Directors.
In his work, Schneider had observed that students who had work experience were able to learn engineering theory better and more easily. He envisioned a military kind of school, with free tuition, in which students would spend mornings in the classroom and afternoons working in the factory. The program would emphasize developing their "business and social parts." Herman Schneider wanted to produce not only good engineers but well-rounded citizens.
Schneider wasted no time in making his case for a new model of Engineering Education. In 1904, he was invited to write an article outlining his plan for Cooperative Education in the University News. The new president of the university, Dr. Charles Dabney, was favorably impressed with the concept. In October of 1905, Schneider presented his concept to the Cincinnati Society of Mechanical Engineers3. His presentation was well received and media coverage caught the attention of John Manley, secretary of the Cincinnati Metal Trades Association.
Over the course of the next year, Manley and Schneider made the rounds of local factories, garnering support for their "cooperative plan." Prominent among the industrialists who gave support to Schneider's proposal were Frederick A. Geier, president of Cincinnati Milling Machine Company, and Ernest Du Brul, president of the Miller, Du Brul, Peters Company. Both were members of the University of Cincinnati's Board of Directors, with Du Brul also serving as chairman of the Board's Committee on the Engineering College.
By 1906, Schneider's efforts had resulted in a draft proposal implementing a six-year degree program employing his ideas. The proposal was passed by the university's Board of Directors on an experimental basis by a 5-4 vote. However, co-operative education was nothing short of a revolutionary concept to which the Board gave its grudging support. They issued a statement: "We hereby grant the right to Dean Schneider to try, for one year, this cooperative idea of education at the University of Cincinnati, for the failure of which we will not assume responsibility." And so was born the College of Engineering's trademark, co-operative education.
The first incarnation of Cooperative Education manifested itself on the University of Cincinnati's campus in September 1906 with the arrival of twenty-seven "co-ops." This group of students was made up of twelve Mechanical, twelve Electrical, and three Chemical Engineering freshmen, who almost immediately dispelled the fears of some manufacturers that they would be "rah-rah" boys and some faculty that they would be a "gang of boilermakers" invading the campus.
For administrative purposes, the co-ops were divided into two sections. Specifically, there were six pairs of mechanical engineering students, six pairs of electrical engineering students, and one pair of chemical engineering students, with the remaining chemical engineering student having no "alternate". These students were scheduled to attend college every other week while their "shop partners" were at work at one of twelve participating companies. In each workplace there was a structured sequence of training, a gradation from simple to complex tasks, with consistently increasing responsibility. There was also rotation of duties to ensure a variety of experience. Continuity and smooth alternation of shop-work was made possible by personal supervision by Schneider and by conferences on Saturday morning between paired students.
The initial reviews of this experiment, labeled "the Cincinnati Plan" in numerous articles, were so favorable that the University Board of Directors immediately set out to make the program a permanent addition to the University. Seventy students, out of an applicant pool of over 400, were selected for the second year of the program. By 1912, the University's co-op program consisted of nearly 300 students with a total of fifty-five companies participating in the program. By the time the United States entered the First World War the number of students enrolled was nearly 500 with eighty-five companies participating. In 1919 enrollment reached almost 800 students and 135 companies. By contrast, the number of traditional engineering students had dropped from 107 in 1906 to forty in 1912, and then twenty-five in 1917. The traditional program was scrapped entirely in 1920.
By 1929, the year the Aeronautical Engineering Department was formed, the co-op program had evolved substantially from its first incarnations. Approximately 1800 undergraduates and over 300 companies participated in the program. Students alternated work and classes on a two-week cycle throughout the five years necessary to achieve a Bachelors' Degree.
Bradley Jones and the Department of Aeronautical Engineering
The College of Engineering had been considering courses relating to aeronautics for some years, and with the interest in cross-country and transatlantic flight and the mounting realization that aeronautics was an important technology of the future, it was decided to offer a dedicated program of instruction. In 1927, using funds provided by an arrangement with the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Educational Fund, a Chair of Aeronautical Engineering was established and a search for a suitable candidate was underway.
One of the chief candidates under consideration from the beginning of the year long search was Major Bradley O. Jones, then employed at McCook Field in Dayton as a navigator and inventor. Bradley Jones had made national headlines, and certainly local ones, with the record nonstop flight in February 1926, from McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio to East Boston Airport in Massachusetts. This flight was the first nonstop flight to navigate solely by instrumentation - developed by Bradley Jones.
Bradley Jones was born in Boston in 1889; he entered MIT at the age of sixteen and graduated with a B.S. in Physics in 1910. He then embarked as first mate and navigator on a three-year cruise on the "Carnegie," a sailing ship built solely of wood and brass, with no iroon or steel that might affect a compass, funded by the Carnegie Institute. The maps Bradley Jones charted of True vs. Magnetic North variations were published and made available to mariners and aviators worldwide following the end of the voyage in 1913.
Bradley Jones then returned to teaching, moving from the University of Pittsburgh to Lehigh University to Norwich University. In the course of these activities he found time to finish his M.S. in Physics in 1914 at Norwich University. He was drafted in 1917, but military records are sparse and there is no record as to his activities. Judging from later statements he made to students, friends, and faculty, it is likely that he may have instructed new pilots in the fundamentals of navigation and may have participated in balloon experiments. All that is known for sure is that when Bradley Jones entered the Reserves following the Armistice, it was with the rank of major.
Following the war, Bradley Jones taught Merchant Marine officer candidates and spent his summers barnstorming across America. According to him, in 1922 his commanding officer during the war, General Billy Mitchell, tracked him down and hired him as a civilian technical expert at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio, where he was to lead navigation and instrumentation development.
Mitchell was especially interested in developing instruments that would allow pilots to fly at night or in heavy cloud cover: At this time, all flights had to take place at low altitudes so that pilots could visually identify landmarks. They had to use sextants in order to provide a position fix, but the maritime sextant was quickly outdistanced by the speed at which aeroplanes could fly. Bradley Jones developed an aviation sextant that used a two-minute fix instead of a twenty to thirty minute one. It became the offical Air Service navigation technique and was still in use by the Army Air Corps in World War II.
Bradley Jones, however, was not finished. He spent the next year developing what the press called an "Earth Inductor Compass" as well as a flight indicator. Both of these were used in a 1923 flight to Boston. They flew at an altitude of 10,000 feet and were unable to see the ground during the flight. Despite this and strong winds, they were only five miles off course when they were able to verify their position visually.
It is worth noting that Charles Lindbergh insisted on having an earth inductance compass installed for his record-breaking flight from New York to Paris. He flew from San Diego to New York by following railroad tracks; when he reached New York, Pioneer Instruments installed the compass. His biography attributes his reaching the Irish coast just three miles off his planned route to the compass - developed by Bradley Jones.
Clearly he was a far-seeing visionary with an extremely practical side: in his own words, "The engineer must be a far greater romanticist than the poet; for while the poet has no bounds for his whimsies, the scientist must always tie together his visions with clear reasons."
This, then, was the candidate chosen by the University Board of Directors to head the first co-operative education program in Aeronautical Engineering in the country (and the second Aeronautical Engineering department). Bradley Jones was enthusiastic about this opportunity and threw himself, with characteristic energy, into developing a comprehensive program. He contacted Orville Wright: in a meeting, they developed the curriculum together, and were of the opinion that it would be much better than any taught at other colleges because of their combined practical experience with the mechanics and realities of flight navigation and aeroplane design. Bradley Jones went on to write and publish two books following his appointment: Avigation in 1931, and a textbook, Elements of Practical Aerodynamics in 1936, both published by John Wiley & Sons.
The Early YearsIn 1929, the first curriculum for the new Aeronautical Engineering Department was created. In keeping with the UC tradition, it combined a rigorous academic program interspersed with cooperative work experience into a five-year program of study. The new curriculum, as created by Bradley Jones with the additional consultation of Orville Wright, was heavy on hands-on experience, but included the new key technical developments in the aeronautical field. All was not technical however. Bradley Jones knew that in spite of the fact that aviation started just fifty miles up the road in Dayton, Ohio, much of the current technical achievement had moved to Europe, in particular Germany. Consequently a rigorous program in the German language was required of all the aeronautical students so that in the words of Jones, "students may avail themselves of books and reports in that language." (citation?)
The first two years of the five-year co-operative aeronautical curriculum were identical to the mechanical engineering program. Starting with the third year, however, courses in aerodynamics, aircraft structures, and, of course, German, replaced steam engineering and other more mundane mechanical courses of the time. By the end of the fifth year, students had covered most of the topics needed for a comprehensive aeronautical program, including propeller theory, materials, meteorology, instruments and equipment, air transportation (performance), and engine and aircraft design. Because students also participated in the co-op program (at the time requiring alternating eight weeks of work and seven weeks of school) students were employed in aeronautical concerns in the Cincinnati-Dayton area, as well as growing aeronautical industry around the country. The first Aeronautical Engineering class to be graduated, in 1932, consisted of five newly-minted engineers: Grant Clarence Adams, Edwin Hale, Daniel Loomis Pellet, Owen Cowley Stevens, and Philip Harold Stevenson.
While records are scarce, companies where early aeronautical students spent their work assignments include the Glenn L. Martin Company and the Watson Airport Company11 as well as the Aeronautical Corporation of America and the All-Metal Aircraft Corporation, both aircraft manufacturers, and the Crosley Aircraft and LeBlond Aircraft Engine Companies, makers of aircraft engines. Commercial aircraft companies operating out of Lunken Airport in Cincinnati were also good locations for co-op placement. These companies included Embry-Riddle, Universal Aviation, and Main Airlines. In his 1929 article on the new Aeronautical Engineering program, Bradley Jones himself commented that two fourth-year students were already working in the aeronautical field and that placement of future students was unlikely to be difficult.