AIME celebrates its 150th anniversary in Wilkes-Barre, PA

May 17, 2021

The American Institute of Mining, Metallurigical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), the founding Society that SME is part of, celebrated its 150th anniversary on May 16 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, the city where AIME was founded.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, numerous representatives from both the AIME and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) gathered on Public Square on to unveil a plaque commemorating the AIME’s 150th birthday, reported the Times Leader.

What made the plaque unveiling’s location special was its proximity to the original birthplace of the AIME: the old Wyoming Valley Hotel, located on South River Street.

“One hundred and fifty years ago, six men walked into a bar, had a couple of drinks and essentially invented your society,” Cartwright joked before the unveiling of the plaque, located just underneath a similar plaque denoting AIME’s 125th anniversary in 1996.

The ceremony was kicked off by John Voigt, the chair of SME’s Pennsylvania Anthracite Section.

“We are here to celebrate the founding of the AIME, 150 years ago in a hotel here in Wilkes-Barre,” Voigt said.

Other speakers included George Luxbacher, the president of AIME; Mark J. Riccetti, Jr. from the Luzerne County Historical Society and SME president Bill Edgerton.

When the time came, Voigt came back to the microphone to call two AIME members to do the honor of unveiling the plaque, Mike Korb and John Ackerman.

With the plaque gives a sense of the importance of Wilkes-Barre to the mining industry and the history of AIME, which now has more than 200,000 members in its four member societies.

Riccetti, the Director of Operations and Programs for the Luzerne County Historical Society, wasn’t surprised by that fact.

“Of course, it makes complete sense that AIME was founded here, in Wilkes-Barre,” Riccetti said. “In 1871, there was no more precious mineral than anthracite — period.”


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