The American Foundry Society (AFS) is a North American based metalcasting society that assists member companies and individuals to effectively manage all production operations, profitably market their products and services and to equitably manage their employees. AFS also promotes the interests of the metalcasting industry before the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. With the direction of its volunteer committee structure, the professional staff of AFS provides support in the areas of technology, management and education to further activities that will enhance the economic progress of the metalcasting industry.
In 1945 a BC Chapter steering committee was formed with Norman Terry and Lovick Young heading up the committee. Through 1945 and 1946 several meetings were held with American Foundrymen’s Association’s Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Bill Maloney. On January 20th, 1947, an organizational meeting was called by the steering committee. This meeting was at the Pacific Athletic Club in the City of Vancouver and final arrangements were made for a petitioning meeting to be helped March 21st, 1947.
A Constitution–By-Law Committee with Fred Done (Reliance Foundry); Fred Coltart (Maple Leaf Pattern Works); and Norm Shewing (Balfour Guthrie) presented a draft Constitution and By-Laws to A.F. S. headquarters in August of 1947.
The formation of the British Columbia Chapter of the American Foundrymen’s Association was formally approved by headquarters on March 22nd, 1948.
The first Chairman was Norman Terry (Canadian Summer Iron Works) with Tom Cowden (William McPhail &Son) as Vice-Chairman and Lovic Young (Vancouver Iron and Engineering Works) as Secretary-Treasurer.
Original Directors included Howard A. Sturrock (Associated Foundry); Fred Bay (Vivian Engineering Works); Fred Done (Reliance Foundry); John Hughes (Vancouver Engineering Works) and Bill Armstrong (University of British Columbia).
In 1957 then Chapter Chairman, Dick Bird (Bird Foundry) and the Directors requested the Bill Maloney come from headquarters to sponsor a luncheon meeting to be attended by the owners and operators of the foundries in B.C. Bill Maloney’s purpose was to sell the idea of Company Membership. The foundrymen had show their desire for advancing the industry and it was time for the owners and operators to give financial support to the American Foundrymen’s Society and the local B.C. Chapter.
The Chapter Company members included Fred Done, Reliance Foundry; Howard Sturrock, Associated Foundry; Mel East, John East Foundry (Saskatchewan); Oscar Olson, Terminal City Iron Works Ltd. and Tom Ianson, A-1 Steel.
The problems that face most technical societies, operating in the Northwest section of North America, also are those faced by the BC Chapter of the A.F.S. A relatively sparse population, well spread out, all being served by a variety of foundries covering Bronze, Aluminum, Grey Iron, Ductile Iron and Steel, along with Pattern shops, both jobbing and captive.
The BC Chapter was originally asked to cover a distance of 1400 miles. This took in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Today the B.C. Chapter covers over 1000 miles, with the Provinces of B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
For many years little was done to create a “belonging-to-A.F.S.” feeling with the Prairie Section. Most of the foundries are in greater Vancouver and this was the active area. In 1965 then the B.C, Chapter Chairman, Ziggy Upitis (Esco) convinced the Chapter Directors and Officers that a technical dinner meeting should be held in the City of Calgary, Alberta with members and guests from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to be invited. Local arrangements were looked after by Glyn Harris (Sovereign Castings) in providing a panel of speakers from B.C. foundries to talk for 15 minutes each on a specific problem from their plant. Speakers were: Charles Smith (Mainland Foundry) and Alex Patterson (Terminal City Iron Works Ltd.). Once the panel speakers finished and the question period began, the meeting with strangers magically changed into the fellowship of foundrymen with common problems. The evening proved the true value of A.F.S. to foundrymen operating in the Prairie provinces.
This was the start of annual one-day “mini-conferences” within the B.C. Chapter, Prairie Section. Which had much to do with the success of A.F.S. in the Prairie Provinces of Canada
In 1972-73, under the B.C. Chapter Chairman, Gus Panz (Inproheat Industries Ltd.), the foundrymen in the Province of Manitoba were encouraged to form their own Chapter with their own directorate and organization. Today they are no longer a part of the BC Chapter and the BC Chapter now services Alberta and Saskatchewan-some 1000 miles distance from Vancouver.
The British Columbia Chapter belongs to Region 5 of the American Foundrymen’s Society. Those privileged to represent the BC Chapter as international Directors for Region 5 were: Herb Heaton –1956-59 (Letson Burpee Foundry/Mainland Foundry); Charles Smith – 1965-68 (General Hear Engineering); Gus Panz – 1947-77 (Inproheat Industries); Dennis Spence 1983-86 (OCL Industrial Materials); Roy Merrit 1991-94 (Rypac General). All of these men have served the British Columbia Chapter on the directorate throughout the Officers chairs, as well as taken on the responsibilities of an International Director.
The British Columbia Chapter along with the Washington and Oregon Chapter have been very active in the growth of Regional Conferences. Early Regional Conferences in BC were held in the “Field House” at the University of British Columbia. The quality of both the technical papers and the facilities for these conferences have improved through the years with the last regional Conference in BC being held at the Hotel Vancouver in 2001. Attendance of foundry delegates at these technical conferences has now reached the 300 mark.
Education was the original incentive for the formation of the B.C. Chapter and has remained the main thrust throughout the years. For most of the membership the continuing technological changes in the industry are gained through the monthly technical meetings, along with the Regional Conferences.
The B.C. Chapter as an active Education program, conducts an Apprenticeship contest with an Apprenticeship Night, has complete set of the A.F.S technical books and videos available to the members.
Present membership in the BC Chapter stands at about 125 and is a credit to the quality of speakers, technical information and service provided both by headquarters and local people. The present meeting facilities, the Westminster Club in New Westminster being centrally located in the area where the majority of BC foundries exist, have contributed to the regular attendance of the monthly technical program.
The value of the American Foundry Society to the foundry industry in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan is well appreciated and the continuing growth of the BC Chapter is evidence of the foresight of those served on the original steering committees and early directorates.
Originally Prepared by:
Bryan Simmonds and Donna Police with Assistance from the Past-Chairmen’s Committee.