Harold W. Jackman

1901 to 1979
Minerals Engineering

Harold Jackman was born in Martinsville, Indiana. He earned his B.S.E. (1923) and M.S.E. (1924) in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He first worked for the Battle Creek (Michigan) Gas Company for 16 years in coke synthesis. Coke is used as a fuel and as a reducing agent in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace. Jackman joined the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1942. He was recruited by Frank Reed to lead a program on using Illinois coals for coking at the then new Applied Research Laboratory. Prior to this time, Illinois coal was not used for coking.

Together, Reed, Jackman, P.W. Henline, and others carried out a very successful effort to blend Illinois coal with eastern coals for coking to make steel in the Midwest. Not only did they develop a new market for Illinois coal, but the freight requirements for transporting eastern coal to Illinois were also reduced by more than 2 million freight-car miles during World War II. This reduction in freight car need made many freight cars available to move materials in support of the war effort.

With time, Jackman became a recognized authority on the carbonization and preheating of coal. He was well-known to people at various coking plants such as those that were in Chicago at that time. He authored or coauthored more than 30 publications on coal use and other subjects. Nicknamed the "Pioneer of Illinois Coke," he was a member of the board of directors of the Western States Blast Furnace and Coke Plant Association (1957 to 1966) before becoming Vice President (1966 to 1967) and, eventually, President (1967 to 1968). In Toronto, Canada, in 1969, the Iron Making Committee of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Engineers presented the Joseph Becker Award to Jackman for “distinguished contribution on the field of coal carbonization and coal technology, including improvements in methods of selecting and preparation of coal of use in the manufacture of coke in iron-making blast furnaces.” He retired in 1970 after 39 years of service to the Illinois State Geological Survey. He is remembered by Roy Helfinstine, former Head of the Minerals Engineering Section, as being very studious and "a gentleman of the first order."

Honored by: 
Roy J. Helfinstine
Citation Contributed by: 
William R. Roy