George Meade Bond (Class of 1880): Game-Changer in the Machine-Building Industry
Stevens undergraduate George M. Bond (Class of 1880) proved himself as a successful inventor even before graduating from the university. His innovative work in gauges and measurements would prove critical in the machine-building industry.
In 1879, comparators — devices that compare two voltages or currents — lacked efficiency, were expensive, and were highly sensitive to human error. Those shortcomings often resulted in nuts that failed to fit their corresponding bolts. Accurate physical standards needed to be achieved to resolve this problem.
Enter William A Rogers, a physicist, mathematician and astronomer at the Harvard Observatory. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences tasked Rogers with solving the problem. While seeking out a mechanical engineer to design an “optical calipering” comparator, Rogers found Bond, who was not only an exceptional student but also a professional machinist.
As a research student in the university's Mechanical Laboratory, Bond prepared design drawings for what would eventually become the Rogers–Bond Universal Comparator. The aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney asked Bond to oversee production of the new comparator.
Later, seeing Bond's leadership talent in action, the firm appointed him its engineering executive for gauges and tests; representative to professional societies; and main lecturer on product design.
Rogers' and Bond’s measuring machine would go on to greatly enhance the production of interchangeable parts and become immensely popular with manufacturers, helping to power the Industrial Revolution.
Today Bond's legacy lives on in other ways, as well, including in the two Stevens professorships in the School of Engineering & Science that bear his name.