Bernard N. Ames

Pioneer Foundryman

Inducted in 2000

A former national president of the American Foundrymen’s Society, Bernard N. Ames faithfully represents many years of metalcasting tradition. Mr. Ames holds a bachelor of science degree (1938) and a master of science degree (1939) in metallurgy, chemistry, and ceramics. In 1981, The University of Alabama bestowed upon Mr. Ames an honorary doctor of science degree, in tribute to a distinguished career that has been characterized by tech-nological acumen, executive skill, and multifaceted leadership. On the occasion of its 150th anniversary of formal engineering education in Alabama, the UA College of Engineering named Mr. Ames one of its Distinguished Engineering Fellows, recognizing the great honor he has brought to his alma mater. Over the course of 58 illustrious years in his profession, Mr. Ames has become known to many as the “godfather of the modern foundry industry.”

A native of New York City, Mr. Ames embarked upon his career as a scientist-engineer in 1941, when he was appointed head of the Cast Metals Division of the U.S. Navy’s Material Laboratory. At this New York facility, he made his first mark in the field of marine castings. In 1954, upon leaving the navy, Mr. Ames began a 38-year tenure with Columbian Bronze Corporation, for which he served as chairman of the board and president. Discovering a talent for business that rivaled his knowledge of the foundry, in 1960 Mr. Ames accepted the chairmanship of the board of Ferguson Propeller Inc. (affiliate of Columbian Bronze), the company he continues to direct today. Among other achievements, the company produced the propellers for the famed USS Nautilus nuclear submarine, whose commander attributed the sub’s successful trip under the North Pole to the company’s metalcasting engineers.

Mr. Ames’s business interests broadened to include eight years as chairman of United States Lines Inc., the country’s leading shipping line, and the vice-chairmanship of Kidde Inc., a Fortune 500 company. From 1972 to 1988, Mr. Ames was a director of Hayes-Albion Corporation of Michigan, and, from 1974 to 1982, he was also a director at Wollaston Alloys in Massachusetts.

Mr. Ames’s association with his companies has been long and meaningful, but perhaps no more so than his association with the American Foundrymen’s Society (AFS). In 1962 the group honored Mr. Ames with its coveted Scientific Award of Merit. A long-running series of commitments to the society culminated in Mr. Ames’s election as national president of the group in 1968. Ten years later, the society again singled out Mr. Ames as the recipient of the Peter L. Simpson Gold Medal for the “sharing of his managerial and technical accomplishments with all segments of industry… and especially for his dedication to the foundry industry and the Society.”

Expressing similar sentiments, FOUNDRY Management & Technology magazine in 1996 selected Mr. Ames to join the elite group of entrepreneurs, engineers, and executives constituting its Hall of Honor. The 100-plus-year-old international publication featured Mr. Ames in its pages, noting that he is one of just two foundrymen ever to preside over three top industry groups: the AFS (1968–69), the International Committee of Foundry Technical Associations (1971), and the Foundry Educational Foundation (1981).

Mr. Ames and his wife, Frances, reside in Freeport on Long Island, NY. He is very active in local civic concerns and has served as chairman of the Freeport Economic Development Council, as a member of the Economic Development Board of the State of New York, as a director of South Nassau Community Hospital, and as a member of the Executive Council of the Nassau County Boy Scouts. He was honored in 1976 with the Community Service Award of the Woodward Mental Health Center in Freeport. In the 1970s he was chosen to serve on the New York city mayor’s Oceanographic Advisory Committee. He is a prolific author of technical papers and speaks often to technical groups and university communities about current industry issues.

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