Historical Articles

December, 1952 issue of Plating


Electroplaters Honor William Phillips

On Friday, October 3, over 225 members and guests of the Detroit Branch paid tribute to William M. (Bill) Phillips, Research Consultant, General Motors Laboratories, for his 40 years of service to the electroplating industry. Mr. Phillips was made a member of the “Order of The Pot”, a group consisting of past National Presidents of the Society, and also was presented with a 21-inch television set donated by members of the branch.

Mr. Frank Clifton, who has been a coworker with Mr. Phillips for many years, pointed out some of Phillips’ background and accomplishments during his many years in the industry. He reported that “Bill” Phillips attained his B.S. degree from the University - of Pennsylvania. After graduating he was employed for 8 years at the Inland Manufacturing Company where he eventually became General Manager. In 1921, Phillips joined the General Motors Corporation and has remained there ever since. He served as advisor on electroplating, painting, and enameling and also was Head of the Electrochemistry Department at General Motors Research Laboratories for many years. At present in addition to being Research Consultant for the General Motors Corporation, he is connected with the National Production Authority serving on committees studying controls on metals used in electroplating. Almost half his time is spent with the National Production Authority in Washington.

Mr. Clifton said further that Mr. Phillips is both a past National President and an Honorary Member of the American Electroplaters’ Society. He is also a member of many other technical organizations including the American Society for Testing Materials, Society of Automotive Engineers, Engineering Society of Detroit, Society of the Plastics Industry, American Ordnance Society, Society of Plastics Engineers, and American Society for the Advancement of Science. He has obtained patents on electroplating and rubber application processes and also has written many technical articles. Clifton described Phillips as “a true dean of electroplating who has contributed more than his share to the industry”.

Mr. Walter Pinner of the Houdaille-Hershey Corporation then brought to light a number of Phillips’ other activities including hobbies and interesting anecdotes about his public life in the plating industry.

“Bill” Phillips himself addressed the branch discussing Metal Shortages Viewed from Washington. He predicted that controls on metal, particularly nickel, will be eased considerably in the second quarter of 1953. He said that improved manufacturing methods in the jet engine manufacturing program should result in a considerable saving of high nickel alloys. Also, nickel production itself is to be substantially stepped up in 1953. About 20 million pounds per year more are to be produced than at present. Seventy per cent of the total world nickel supply is now being used by the United States.

The Atomic Energy program requires about 5 to 7 per cent of the United States consumption but Mr. Phillips expressed the opinion that once Atomic Energy equipment is constructed, no vast quantities of nickel would be required. This also would help release nickel for electroplating uses.

The National Production Authority considers electroplating important to the economy of the United States and acknowledges that brightly plated parts are essential to sell automobiles to the American public. The automotive industry is said to represent one-eighth of this country’s economy.

Bill Phillips said that eventually all controls on metals would be revoked as the military program becomes stabilized. The NPA is making good progress toward getting enough nickel to plate all civilian goods without interfering with a reasonable military program.

Bill Phillips (left) is presented with the "Pot" by Walter Pinner. From left: H.E. Head, President, Detroit Branch, AES; Bill Phillips, Fred Wagner, Educational Chairman, Detroit Branch; F.L. Clifton.



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