The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Automotive Laboratory

Automotive and internal combustion engineering courses. — The first automotive engineering courses were offered in the fall of 1913, although Gas Engines and Gas Producers had been taught since 1907, and Machine Design (Gas Engines) was offered in 1912. These courses were reorganized and renamed by Anton Friedrich Greiner (Dipl. Ing. Munich '09), who came to the University as Instructor in 1912 and served as Assistant Professor from 1913 until 1921, when he resigned to take up professional work. In 1913 thirty-seven students were enrolled in the first automotive course, Gasoline Automobiles, given by Walter Turner Fishleigh ('02, '06e [C.E.]), and seventeen students in Automobile Testing, also taught by Fishleigh. He was transferred to the Department of Engineering Mechanics from the Drawing Department in 1912, appointed Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1915, and Associate Professor of Automobile Engineering in 1916. To him is due the credit for the establishment of the automotive division of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He resigned in 1919 to join the Ford Motor Company. In 1914 Fishleigh also Page  1269initiated an automotive research course of which Lay took charge in 1919. Walter Edwin Lay ('15e [M.E.]) was appointed Instructor in 1916, and became Professor in 1930. He has been responsible for the later development of the Automotive Laboratory. Charles Winfred Good ('18e [M.E.]) was appointed Instructor in 1918 and was promoted to a professorship in 1943. He has divided his time between the department and Engineering Research.

A feature of the first laboratory course was a full day's road test of a motor vehicle. It soon became the rule to photograph the test crew, thus producing a tangible record of both the student and the equipment, which consisted of a single cylinder Oldsmobile engine, a 1910 Krit, a 1907 air-cooled Franklin, and a 1911 Franklin engine.

The program was expanded to include Automobile Motor Theory and Design and Automobile Chassis Design in 1914, both taught by Fishleigh. Lay took over the first course from 1917 to 1921, and John Minert Nickelsen (Illinois '14e [M.E.]) succeeded him. He became Instructor in Drawing in 1916 and was made Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1941. The work in automobile research was given by Lay in 1919 and by Nickelsen after 1920. Internal Combustion Engines and Gas Producers, introduced by Greiner in 1913, formed the main internal combustion engine course, with special topics as an advanced course. These courses and a design course initiated in the same year still provide the basic internal combustion engine instruction. After Greiner, Good took over the work with Lay, Vincent, and Schwartz succeeding him. Frank Leroy Schwartz (M.E. Lehigh '28, Ph.D. Michigan '40), who was appointed Assistant Professor in 1941, was advanced to Professor in 1949. Other instruction included a short course for highway engineers given by Lay from 1920 to 1927 and an automotive engineering seminar by Nickelsen. Aircraft Power Plants and a laboratory course were first given in 1934 by Lay and Kohler. Henry Lebrecht Kohler (Illinois '29, M.S. Yale '30, M.E. ibid. '31) joined the department as Instructor in 1931 and in 1933 was promoted to Assistant Professor. He resigned in 1946.

Much of the test equipment for the Automotive Laboratory was built in the small laboratory shop. Instruments were improved and adapted to laboratory needs. The greater part of the operating equipment, vehicle engines and other components, has been most generously furnished by the automotive industry. Only special research equipment and instruments have been purchased or built. By 1937 operating equipment consisted of motor vehicles, engines, transmissions, axles, superchargers, carburetors, mufflers, and, in fact, all of the major units which are used on aircraft, motor vehicles, tractors, and some marine applications of internal combustion engine power. Testing equipment included electric dynamometers, water brakes, air meters, fuel meters, tachometers, potentiometers, and all the small instruments needed in determining power, speed, temperatures, pressures, and air, fuel, oil, and water flow. Automotive engines and parts, including a 1913 Ford T and a Hudson 6-54 were used for instruction; many of these pieces are now in the automotive museum. Aircraft power-plant equipment included everything from a 1919 Liberty engine to a Wright Cyclone and Pratt and Whitney Hornets.

When the United States entered World War I the University offered its facilities and staff for training Army personnel. The first group of four detachments of enlisted men arrived in April, 1918, for an eight-week course in automotive engine repair. A total of one thousand and eighty-one men were Page  1270trained in the succeeding six months. Old vehicles and equipment were purchased and borrowed. Temporary buildings with some 6,000 square feet of floor space were constructed, and a teaching staff was recruited from the faculty of the College and from trade schools, factories, and garages.

In 1919, shortly after the Armistice, the laboratory equipment was moved to one of the temporary wooden buildings, which had a floor area of 10,800 square feet. Here began the research that formed the basis for limiting the grades on federal aid highways in Michigan. In 1922, when the space occupied by this building was needed for the new Physics Building, the laboratory was moved to a hastily constructed lean-to shed, which had an area of 3,200 square feet, on the west side of the foundry. Shortly afterward, additional space was acquired in the old shops until 11,000 square feet were in use for classrooms and laboratories.

In 1933 the laboratory was raided by a mob of seventy-five law students who broke down the doors and captured a graduate student who was just completing an endurance test on some piston rings. This seemed to establish the nuisance value of an automotive laboratory situated in a flimsy wooden building on the campus. A fire destroyed the south half of the wooden lean-to shed in 1937 and ruined much of the equipment. The shed was quickly rebuilt, however, and the equipment replaced.

An aircraft engine test house was set up at the Ann Arbor airport in 1936 and equipped with a reaction test stand built by the laboratory shops.

When World War II began, the laboratory facilities and staff services were again offered for training personnel engaged in the war effort. Civilian aircraft engine inspectors were trained in the laboratory. All enlisted men in mechanical engineering were required to take a classroom and a laboratory course in automotive engineering. While revising the content of these courses, it was learned that the University had not only the best program of automotive laboratory instruction, but also by far the most complete laboratory facilities of any of the colleges engaged in the education of enlisted men. In the spring of 1946 Vincent offered the first course in Gas Turbines.

In 1948, for the first time, a course in internal combustion engines was required for mechanical engineering students. A limited sum was made available for the purchase of additional equipment including a small dynamometer, two C.F.R. variable compression research engines, two high-speed pressure indicators, and a city bus. A gas turbine test cell was constructed.