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The Naval Consulting Board, also known as the Naval Advisory Board (a name used in the 1880s for two previous committees), [1] was a US Navy organization established in 1915 by Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy at the suggestion of Thomas Alva Edison. [2] Daniels created the Board with membership drawn from eleven engineering and scientific organizations two years before the United States entered World War I to provide the country with the "machinery and facilities for utilizing the natural inventive genius of Americans to meet the new conditions of warfare." [3] Daniels was concerned that the U.S. was unprepared for the new conditions of warfare and that they needed access to the newest technology. [4] History[edit] Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
gave a speech in which he proposed a group of scientists should be involved with the World War I
World War I
effort. In a statement issued in the New York Times
New York Times
on September 13, 1915, Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy
Secretary of the Navy
asked Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
to be president of an advisory board. Miller Reese Hutchison
Miller Reese Hutchison
who was Edison's chief engineer also became part of the Board. [5] [2] [6] Secretary Daniels "approached eleven engineering and scientific societies to nominate two members to present their society on the Board." [6] There were 24 original members, including the following:[6] [7][8]

American Chemical Society

Willis Rodney Whitney Leo Baekeland

American Institute of Electrical Engineers

Frank Julian Sprague Benjamin Garver Lamme

American Mathematical Society

Robert Simpson Woodward, a civil engineer, physicist and mathematician. Arthur Gordon Webster

American Society of Civil Engineers

Andrew Murray Hunt Alfred Wingate Craven, Chief Engineer of the New York city Rapid Transit commission.

American Aeronautical Society

Matthew Bacon Sellers II Hudson Maxim

The Inventor's Guild

Peter Cooper Hewitt Thomas Robins

American Society of Automotive Engineers

Andrew J. Riker Howard E. Coffin

American Institute of Mining Engineers

William Lawrence Saunders Benjamin Bowditch Thayer

American ElectroChemical Society

Joseph William Richards Lawrence Addicks

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

William Le Roy Emmet Spencer Miller

American Society of Aeronautic Engineers, merged into Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 1916.

Henry Alexander Wise Wood Elmer Sperry

Later, the physicists Arthur Compton, Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
and Lee De Forest, inventor of the radio tube and William Lawrence Saunders later replaced Edison as chairman. Initially the board had no legal status, budget or staff, and its mission was unclear. Not until August 1916 did the United States Congress appropriate $25,000 for its operation. The initial publicity surrounding its creation resulted in a flood of suggestions about how to improve the US Navy's ships, totaling 110,000 during the war. The Board's members decided that they could be most effective if they divided into technical committees to utilize their specialist expertise, including the Committee on Aeronautics and Aeronautical Motors. They provided consultants and arranged for research to be carried out in established civilian laboratories. During World War I, the board was responsible for approving camouflage schemes for civilian ships, including one invented by William MacKay. One of the most significant committees was that on Industrial Preparedness, which drew up an inventory of manufacturing capacity and sought to develop common manufacturing standards. On 10 February 1917 the Board established a Special
Special
Problems Committee with a Subcommittee on Submarine Detection by Sound. This led to the collaboration of the Submarine Signalling Company, the General Electric Co and Western Electric Co in experiments on the problem. An experimental station was established at Nahant, Massachusetts.[9] On May 11, 1917 the United States Secretary of the Navy
Secretary of the Navy
created a Special
Special
Board on Antisubmarine Detection "for the purpose of procuring either through original research, experiment and manufacture, or through development of ideas and devices submitted by inventors at large, suitable apparatus for both offensive and defensive operations against submarines". Dr. Millikan of the United States National Research Council, Dr. Whitney of the General Electric Co., Dr. Jewett of the Western Electric Co., and Mr. Fay of the Submarine Signal Co. were appointed as advisory members. References[edit]

^ "On This Day: June 20, 1885". New York Times. 2001. Retrieved 2011-01-05.  ^ a b "Thomas Edison's Vision". United States Navy. Retrieved 2013-12-18. Secretary of the Navy
Secretary of the Navy
Josephus Daniels
Josephus Daniels
seized the opportunity created by Edison's public comments to enlist Edison's support. He agreed to serve as the head of a new body of civilian experts - the Naval Consulting Board
Naval Consulting Board
- to advise the Navy on science and technology. ...  ^ Pearson, Lee, Developing the Flying Bomb, Naval Air Systems Command ^ L. N. Scott, Naval Consulting Board
Naval Consulting Board
of the United States (Washington, 1920), 286 ^ Venzon, Anne Cipriano, ed. The United States in the first world war: An Encyclopedia. Routledge, 2013. Accessed at [1] ^ a b c "Daniels Names Naval Advisors. Announces Makeup of Board of Inventors Headed by Thomas A. Edison. Cooper Hewitt A Member. Hudson Maxim, Henry A. Wise Wood, Alfred Craven, and F.J. Sprague Other New Yorkers. Noted Engineers To Serve. Chemists, Aeronautical Experts, Inventors, and Authorities on Explosives Also Picked". New York Times. September 13, 1915. Retrieved 2013-12-19. The makeup of the Naval Advisory Board of Inventions, the organization of experts, who will contribute their inventive genius to the navy, of which Thomas A. Edison is to be the Chairman, was announced by Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy, tonight.  ^ Information Annual, 1915, A Continuous Cyclopedia and Digest of Current Events, R.R. Bowker Company (New York ,1916), 615 ^ "Daniels Names Naval Advisors. Announces Makeup of Board of Inventors Headed by Thomas A. Edison. Cooper Hewitt A Member. Hudson Maxim, Henry A. Wise Wood, Alfred Craven, and F.J. Sprague Other New Yorkers. Noted Engineers To Serve. Chemists, Aeronautical Experts, Inventors, and Authorities on Explosives Also Picked". New York Times. September 13, 1915. Retrieved 2013-12-19. The makeup of the Naval Advisory Board of Inventions, the organization of experts, who will contribute their inventive genius to the navy, of which Thomas A. Edison is to be the Chairman, was announced by Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy, tonight.  ^ The Submarine Signalling Company, H J Fay, November 1944

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

External links[edit]

Naval Consulting Board
Naval Consulting Board
of the United States by L.N. Scott [incomplete] Joseph William

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