J. Elmer Housley

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J. Elmer Housley
John E. Housley with W. E. Wickenden
Knoxville, TN, USA
Death date
Associated organizations
Aluminum Company of America

1946 -1947

J. Elmer Housley, AIEE President, 1946 - 1947, was in charge of engineering at the Aluminum Company of America, and supervised the operation and maintenance of the company’s hydro-electric power system.


Housley was AIEE president from 1946 to 1947.

Mr. Housley, who was born on January 9, 1893, in Knoxville, Tennessee, was graduated from the University of, Tennessee with a bachelor-of-science degree in electrical engineering in 1915.

Since 1915, Mr. Housley has been associated with the Aluminum Company of American and subsidiary companies. From 1915 to 1922 he was with the Aluminum Ore Company, East St. Louis, Illinois, as apprentice engineer, electric shop foreman, electrical engineer and assistant power superintendent. The year 1922 was spent as sales engineer in the Kansas City, Missouri office of Aluminum Company of America. During part of 1923 he was engaged in extensive rehabilitation of 1200 electric motor drives and the industrial electric distribution system at the East St. Louis Works of the Aluminum Ore Company. During the years at this location, he was instrumental in persuading the electric motor industry to change motor designs to withstand severe duty in chemical plants. Silver-soldering of squirrel cage rotors was introduced in the field on a large scale in 1917. Other improvements in insulation and design of distribution circuits, substation design, and motor control insulation were introduced and were described in the technical press.

Early in 1924 he became assistant district electrical superintendent, Aluminium Company of America, Alcoa, Tennessee. In 1927 he became district electrical superintendent and in turn superintendent of power and district power manager, the position now held. Since 1927 Mr. Housley has been in charge of engineering, operation and maintenance of the hydro-electric power system of the company in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. This system is inter-connected with other power systems in the central area. He has been actively identified with the problems of interconnected power system operation, load and frequency control, telemetering and carrier current relaying and communications. A large expansion of industrial facilities in the Alcoa area presented many interesting problems. Some of the technical problems covering lightning, oil maintenance, mercury-arc rectifier installation and maintenance have been covered by papers presented at engineering society meetings. About 125 technical articles have been published on industrial plant and power subjects. The idea of preventive maintenance and modernization has been stressed in his work.

Mr. Housley joined the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1919, and was transferred to the grade of Member in 1939 and to the grade of Fellow in 1943. He was AIEE vice-president for the Southern District (#4) (1941-43) and has served on the following committees: national membership, nominating, industrial power applications, working group standards No. 20, subcommittee on standardization of electric arc furnace transformers. He served as chairman of the committee on electrochemistry and electrometallurgy (1944-46). He has been active in the work of the East, Tennessee Section and the Knoxville Technical Society for many years.

Further Reading

Papers of J.E. Housley