Alumni Hall of Fame
Robert Woolston Hunt
Class of 1916 H
Metallurgist, Metallurgist, Trustee
A pioneer in American steel manufacturing, Robert Woolston Hunt established the first analytical laboratory for iron works in the country, at Cambria Iron Co. in Johnstown, Pa., and was instrumental in introducing the Bessemer process to the steel industry, in Troy.
He was a co-inventor of automatic rail mills and held patents in steel and iron processes and machinery. In 1888 he founded the Robert W. Hunt Co. to apply demanding standards of inspection and testing throughout industry; the company still operates today.
Hunt was the recipient of prestigious engineering awards, including the John Fritz Medal in 1912 and the Washington Award in 1923. Elected a trustee of Rensselaer in 1886, he persuaded his friend Andrew Carnegie to give the Institute $125,000 for a new building after the 1904 fire destroyed Rensselaers Main Building.
Hunt was the first individual in modern history to be awarded a Rensselaer honorary degree. Through his estate, he endowed the Hunt Professorship in Metallurgical Engineering at Rensselaer.