• Foster high ideals in the engineering profession
  • Stimulate and support departmental activities
  • Promote professional welfare
  • Develop leadership and responsibility


The Story of Pi Tau Sigma is placed in the hands of each member when initiated to set forth the objectives and create a closer bond of fellowship among those who are striving and achieving in the highest ideals of our profession.

The history and activities of each chapter are especially interesting to the members of each respective chapter and to everyone who recognizes the contribution which honor societies make toward to the coordination of education and cooperation between faculty and students preparing for a profession.

Occasionally in the individual histories are allusions to the motives for sacrifices of an individual member. In 70 years of harmonious development from two chapters to 153, our fraternity has enjoyed the cooperation of each member. Your chapter of Pi Tau Sigma is strong because each year the active members accepted their responsibility in selecting new members and in performing the duties of their generation.

This booklet may seem to be a disconnected story, but it was written by various chapters to impart to you some of the spirit of Pi Tau Sigma so that you will go on and do greater things than those accomplished in the past.

Selection of Members

The proper selection of members for Pi Tau Sigma is the determining factor in the fraternity’s success and in its continued high rating. The following factors should be considered in order to insure the selection of worth members: Scholastic Standing, Faculty Rating, and Members’ Opinions.

A good scholastic record is required to make a student eligible for Pi Tau Sigma but otherwise it may afford little help in determining fitness for membership. One must rank in the top 35 percent scholastically.

The opinion of faculty members is valuable because of their contact with prospective pledges and also because of their experience in judging and rating students. The list submitted to them should be alphabetical and contain no scholastic records. A list of qualities to be rated might include: leadership, personality, trustworthiness, industry, dependability, and probable future success in Mechanical Engineering.

Members personally acquainted with a candidate should give opinions on the candidate’s fitness for membership and the likelihood of the candidate being a worthy member of Pi Tau Sigma. Some qualities on which members may rate candidates are: soundness of principles and morals, honesty, personal cleanliness and neatness, loyalty, and social adaptability,

For details for Membership refer to Article 3 of the Constitution of Pi Tau Sigma.

History of Pi Tau Sigma

With the twentieth century came the realization that honor societies made a definite contribution to the department and that. membership required active participation. Pi Tau Sigma came into being on March 16, 1915, at the University of Illinois. A similar organization embarked November 15, 1915, at Wisconsin, and other local organizations (such as the Carzeuran of Purdue) were soon to become active.

The early leaders: Professors C. R. Richards, A. C. Willard, and 0. A. Leutwiler of the University of Illinois; G. L. Larson of the University of Wisconsin; G. A. Young of Purdue University; and J. V. Martenis of the University of Minnesota, stand out for their early contributions.

In ten years Pi Tau Sigma grew to six chapters in the middlewest (Illinois Alpha, Wisconsin Alpha, Purdue Beta, Minnesota Gamma, Illinois Delta, and Missouri Epsilon). In 1925 the expansion continued to the east with the Penn State Zeta Chapter being installed. Six years later the Texas Kappa Chapter, and the follow-ing year the Colorado Mu Chapter established chapters in the south and west. Also in 1932 the expansion continued southeast to Georgia Tech Nu Chapter. It was not until nine years later that the first chapter was installed on the Pacific coast (Oregon State Omega). In twenty-six years Pi Tau Sigma became truly a national honorary mechanical engineering fraternity with a total of twenty-five chapters. During the succeeding four years nine additional chapters were in-stalled.

From 1947 to 1958 forty new chapters were installed. The Chapter-At-Large was established in 1954. The installations completed through the spring of 1993 bring the total established chapters to one hundred and fifty-three. Two chapters have become inactive, one due to the discontinuance of the mechanical engineering program. Earlier, two established chapters in New York merged into one. At this printing, 150 chapters remain active at different universities.


The Condenser

The Condenser was conceived at the eighth annual Pi Tau Sigma convention held at Illinois Alpha Chapter in Urbana, Illinois, in 1925 when National Secretary-Treasurer John V. Martenis was instructed to issue an annual publication for the fraternity. The issue was dedicated to serve as a common medium of exchange of ideas between chapters. In compliance with instructions, Volume 1, No. I of The Condenser was published in Minneapolis as of June 1926. It consisted of eight, 8 in. x 11 in. pages with white cover and included editorial notes and comments, the welcoming speech of President A. C. Willard to the preceding convention, and news from the Chapters.

Editor Martenis continued the publication each year through Volume VI. During this early period the Condenser grew from eight to sixteen pages as the number of chapters increased and contributions to copy increased. It served its purpose to the growing fraternity.

Because of the established policy of having National Secretary act as editor of The Condenser, National Secretary-Treasurer H. E. Degler took over with Volume VII. At this time the date of issue was established for March of each year. Volume VII, issued from Austin, Texas, was expanded in size to 9 in. x 12 in. and to 14 pages to accommodate increased growth. Pictures of college buildings, detailed convention minutes, and a cover plate of a halftone Condenser appeared for the first time. Again, fulfilling the requests of the convention, Volume VII contained a complete membership roll of the fraternity.

To assist in the work of the National Secretary-Treasurer, the National Vice President twice edited the Condenser. Volume X was edited by E. S. Gray from Columbia, Missouri, in 1936 and V. L. Maleev edited Volume XII in 1938 from Stillwater, Oklahoma. With these exceptions, H. E. Degler continued the editorship through Volume XIV, the Silver Anniversary Issue.

Notable among the issues of The Condenser was the Silver Anniversary Issue, commemorating the twenty- fifth anniversary of the founding of Pi Tau Sigma. It consisted of 52 pages with a cover of aluminum foil. The feature article was the history of 25 years in Pi Tau Sigma.

A revision of the Constitution was made at this time increasing the number of National officers by including two Vice Presidents. The duty of the First Vice President was to edit The Condenser. The first issue under this plan, Volume XV of 1941, was edited by T. G. Estep, Carnegie Iota, from Pittsburg, Pa.

Volume XVI (1942) through Volume XX (1947) were edited by F. V. Larkin, Bethlehem, Pa., with assistance from the active members of Lehigh Theta Chapter.

Volumes XXI and XXII were edited by C. H. Kent, New York, NY, with assistance from the active members of C.C.N.Y. Pi Beta Chapter.

Volumes XXIII through XVI were edited by M. S. Gjesdahl, State College, Pa., with the assistance of active members of the Penn State Zeta Chapter and the Purdue Beta Chapter.

Volumes XXVII through XXXII were edited by M. J. Goglia, Atlanta, Ga., with the assistance of active members of the Georgia Tech Nu and the Purdue Beta Chapters.

Volume XXXIII was edited by D. S. Clark, Lafayette, Indiana, G. B. Thom, Newark, NJ. J. W. Bayne, Urbana, Illinois edited the issued through 1971. H. C. Hewitt, Cookeville, Tennessee, edited issues from 1972 through 1983. E. I. Griggs, Cookeville, Tennessee, has edited issues since 1983.

The Condenser grew from an eight page pamphlet dedicated to an exchange of ideas to a magazine of sixty-eight pages (Vol. XXII) incorporating editorials and articles as well as the minutes and pictures of the preceding national convention, the biographies and picture of the recipients of the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal and Pi Tau Sigma Richards’ Memorial Awards, the pictures and records of all honorary members, a story and picture of the Host University or College for the succeeding convention, and a resume of the activities of all chapters including the pictures of the mechanical engineering building.

With the increased cost of publications, all of which are paid by the national chapter out of the dues received from members, it became necessary to retrench so that effective with Volume XXIII the articles were omitted and effective with Volume XXV the pictures of the buildings were not repeated, as they appear in The Story of Pi Tau Sigma.

At the Thirty-first Annual Convention in 1951 recommendations were made to the editors of The Condenser and The Story of Pi Tau Sigma to avoid duplication.

A special 50th anniversary issue of The Condenser was published in 1965. The issue, edited by J. W. Bayne included several items of historical interest plus greetings from five past National Presidents.

The Condenser is sent to each chapter in sufficient quantity that all new initiates receive a copy at the time of initiation.

One copy of each issue is on file with the National Secretary-Treasurer and this copy constitutes a permanent and valuable history of our fraternity.

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National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society