In 1980 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrates the centenary of its founding. The occasion has provided an opportunity for the Society to look back and survey its accomplishments, its distinguished members, and its constant dialogue -- among its members and with the American people -- concerning the role of engineering in a technological society. The dynamic tensions within the ASME make a fascinating background to this centennial history. The central role of the Society's headquarters in New York is examined the light of various movements for regional and professional sections within (and occasionally outside) the Society. The technical question of standards is shown to be a constant and creative problem for members -- reflecting their attitudes towards their role in a political system often reluctant to enforce nation-wide standars in business and industry. From the Progressive Era, and its attempts to reform city government and check the power of private utilities, to the 1970s and its renewed concern with ecology and business ethnics, the Society has provided a microcosm of informed debate about technical engineering problems which -- as this book makes clear -- concerns us all.