Louis F. Polk
1904 - 1991
Louis F. Polk was an internationally recognized leader in the field of measurement science or metrology. His early career was with City Machine & Tool Works in Dayton, where he began as a messenger and following college graduation had become a designer and manager. When City Machine merged with Sheffield Machine and Tool he became president of the new company. Sheffield gauges and measuring systems were critical in creating standardized machine parts during World War II. Mass production of machine parts and replacement parts would have been impossible without exact measurements, and Polk’s many inventions in this field helped move the nation from hand-tooled, unique machine parts into the world of interchangeable parts and quick repairs. His work in standards development led to being named a delegate to the 1960 conference that replaced the meter bar with an isotopic wavelength of light. He served on many standards boards and committees, and was named Chairman of the U.S. Metric Board by President Carter in 1978.