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Engineering Economy A Historical Perspective

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.232.1 - 4.232.8

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Paper Authors

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Gerald J. Thuesen

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William G. Sullivan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1639

ENGINEERING ECONOMY - A Historical Perspective

Gerald J. Thuesen, William G. Sullivan Georgia Institute of Technology/Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint the reader with the accomplishments and contributions made by four individuals in the field of engineering economics. These “pioneers” of the profession enabled the field to develop from its infancy in the 1870's to become a critical component of engineering practice and education. Their introduction of fundamental ideas, the development of methodologies of analysis, the organizing of the body of knowledge and their writings to disseminate this knowledge were the formative forces necessary to create and support the field of engineering economy.

The four pioneers considered here are Arthur Mellen Wellington, H.G. Thuesen, E. Paul DeGarmo and Arthur Lesser, Jr. For each individual their contributions are presented in chronological order with important milestones described.

I. Arthur Mellen Wellington1

December 20, 1847 Born: Waltham, Massachusetts Son of Oliver Wellington, a physician and his wife Charlotte Wellington. Arthur was a descendant of Roger Wellington, who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 and Benjamin Wellington, who founded Lexington.

1863-1866 Graduated from the Boston Latin School and began an apprenticeship in civil engineering in the office of John B. Hande.

1868 Began work in railway engineering with the Blue Ridge Railroad in South Carolina.

1873-1876 When the depression of 1873 temporarily halted railway building, he turned to research and published Methods for the Computation from Diagrams of Preliminary and Final Estimates of Railway Earthwork.

1876 He expanded some short articles he had published into “Justification Expenditure for Improving the Alignment of Railways,” Railroad Gazett, Sept. 1-Dec. 29, 1876.

Thuesen, G. J., & Sullivan, W. G. (1999, June), Engineering Economy A Historical Perspective Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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