Department History (Crocker)

2 Crocker was the perfect choice to bring Columbia's department into the practical work of electrical industry. Prior to coming to Columbia, he had founded the Crocker-Wheeler Electric Motor Company, an early leader in electric machinery. Once at Columbia, he became a prominent figure in electrical engineering professional organizations, including a predecessor to today's Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. He was among the AIEE's first presidents. Because of his industrial experience he understood keenly the role of standards in the growing use of electrical equipment and chaired the first industrial standards committee. He was a Columbia graduate; the wide-ranging education he received broadened his professional outlook. After retirement, he contributed greatly to the U.S. defense effort, and was co-inventor and test pilot of the first helicopter. When Crocker died, Edison reportedly said, "His death removes one of the outstanding pioneers of the electrical industry."

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