Franklin H. Allison (1954 & 1955)

Franklin H. Allison Jr., sixth President of the Highland Park Community Club, was a brilliant metallurgist known worldwide for his innovations in cold rolling mills. He served as president of the Carnegie Tech Alumni Association, had a sharp sense of humor and knew five-hundred limericks by heart. He listened to his favorite opera music with the doors of his house flung wide for everybody on Winterton street to hear. Allison was born in 1902 in Oakland, went to Schenley High and received a degree in metallurgy from Carnegie Tech. He then went to Sheffield University in England, for his PhD in Metallurgy. At that time it was an uncommon field of study; in the United States, only the Massachussetts Institute of Technology offered a metalurgy Ph.D. Allison went to work for Crucible Steel in 1927. When the depression came along in 1929, he got married, lost his job and had a son. He got a job at United Engineering and Foundry in Vandergrift, stayed through World War II and became chief metallurgist. Rolled metal was on the frontiers of science, and Allison created heating methods and alloys that prevent cracking as an inch-thick slab of steel is processed through five stages of rolling, emerging as a thin sheet to be used for things like vehicle doors and hoods. The depression and war strongly influenced Allison and many other Americans in his situation. As one of three children in a wealthy family, they had everything in the twenties; in the thirties, they had nothing. By the 1940s, they were old enough to miss the draft. During the war, they were busy again, working very hard on production for the war. United Engineering, like most mills, was running full tilt producing machinery for the navy. Emerging from the war, the Allisons were very sociable and loved to throw parties, have picnics and use any excuse for a get-together.