In case you'd like to run out and get a card, the Society of Automotive Engineers International is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. To fine-tune your engineering acumen, here are 50 things worth knowing about SAE.
1. SAE officially turned 100 on Jan. 1.
2. SAE Brazil became the group's first international affiliate in 1992.
3. SAE's president this year is Ted Robertson, vice chairman of product development for ASC Inc.
4. SAE has had 98 presidents.
5. Eight former SAE presidents are in the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich. They are: Henry Leland, 1914 president, founder of Cadillac Motor Car Co.; Charles Kettering, 1918 president, General Motors' vice president of research; Jesse Vincent, 1920 president, vice president of engineering for Packard Motor Car; Vincent Bendix, 1931 president, founder of Bendix Corp.; William Stout, 1935 president, developer of the first all-metal airplane in America, the Ford Tri-motor airplane, and the Scarab car of 1936; Ralph Teetor, 1936 president, president of the Perfect Circle Piston Ring Co.; Clarence Spicer, 1938 president, founder of what is now Dana Corp.; and Archie Colwell, 1941 president, chief engineer of Thompson Products, which later became TRW.
6. The first SAE logo was designed in 1909.
7. In 1980, SAE was renamed SAE International to reflect its global presence.
8. SAE launched its Web site, sae.org, in 1996.
9. At its annual meeting in 1908 in Cleveland, SAE collected $250 to be used for "propaganda" and "job information," according to meeting notes.
10. An SAE membership renewal fee today is $100 a year, or $90 for online applications.
11. SAE members pay a 20 percent discounted rate for technical papers: $9.60, compared with the regular price of $12.
12. In 2004, SAE published 2,592 papers from authors in 52 countries.
13. A book has been published to commemorate SAE's 100th anniversary. The SAE Story: One Hundred Years of Mobility details the rise of the auto industry as much as it does SAE history.
14. SAE has 89,605 members in more than 80 countries.
15. Between 1978 and 1979, the number of SAE groups involved in international projects doubled.
Aviator Amelia Earhart attended early SAE meetings.
16. SAE added international coverage to its publications in 1966.
17. SAE's slogan is "Leading our world in motion."
18. SAE world headquarters was in New York until 1974. Today it's in Warrendale, Pa.
19. Detroit is home to SAE's Automotive headquarters.
20. The first SAE student chapter sprang up in 1915 with 87 members.
21. E-commerce functions were added to SAE's Web site in 2000.
22. SAE India became the second international affiliate in 2002.
23. By 2000, more than 12,000 members lived outside North America.
24. President George W. Bush signed the official SAE happy birthday letter on Dec. 14, 2004, a little early.
25. SAE publishes three magazines: Automotive Engineering International, Aerospace Engineering and SAE Off-highway Engineering. It also publishes a member newspaper called SAE UPdate.
26. In 1960, SAE President Harry Chesebrough said, "Automotive engineering knows no national boundaries."
27. In 1989, SAE funded project CAESAR (for Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource) to scan and measure 5,000 participants digitally for 3-D data on the human body.
28. Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart attended early SAE meetings.
29. By 1916, SAE membership had grown to 1,800.
30. Rodica Baranescu, then the chief engineer in the engine division of International Truck and Engine Co., became SAE's first female president in 2000.
31. SAE published its first standard in 1912. There were 224 sets of standards by 1921.
32. Henry Ford was SAE's first vice president.
33. Annual dues in 1905 were $10.
Henry Ford was an SAE founder and its first vice president.
34. SAE member Elmer Sperry created the term "automotive." It's from the Greek autos (self) and the Latin motivus (of motion).
35. SAE's Web site gets about 302,000 hits a month.
36. SAE today is leaner than it was in 2002, when there were 400 staffers. Now there are 255 employees, with about 15 serving the Detroit auto community.
37. Ray Morris, SAE's COO, has attended 31 SAE world congresses as an SAE officer.
38. Andrew Riker was the first president of SAE. He was known as a mechanical genius and innovator and created the first electric vehicle. He promoted his two- and four-cylinder internal combustion engines for vehicle use.
39. Riker was one of SAE's founders. Others included Orville Wright, Henry Ford, Charles Kettering and Elmer Sperry.
40. SAE's first female member was Nellie Scott, treasurer of Bantam Ball Bearing Co. in Bantam, Conn.
41. SAE has pushed for common standards across the industry: In 1909, SAE noted: "Standardization and interchangeability of parts will have the effect of a higher grade of motor car at a lower price. This is dependent upon the production of one model in great numbers and elimination of extensive annual changes."
42. In 1924, the Wright Brothers Medal became the first SAE award ever presented.
43. By the 1930s, engineers embraced standards for basic engineering practices and efficiencies, replacing details such as standards for door hinges, generator brushes, seamless steel tubing and lock washer variants.
44. In its early days, SAE board members argued about whether membership should be limited to professional engineers or broadened to include industry "persons of prominence." SAE opened its doors to include those in purchasing as well as sales in 1911.
45. In 1914, SAE compiled its first book of standards in the SAE Handbook.
An SAE medal was named after the Wright brothers. It was first awarded in 1924.
46. "SAE" originally stood for the Society of Automobile Engineers. That changed in 1916, when SAE became the Society of Automotive Engineers.
47. The SAE Foundation was established in 1986 to promote an interest in math and science at all grade levels.
48. Today SAE has 400 student college chapters that build and test small specialty vehicles for the Society's Mini Baja and Formula SAE student competitions.
49. Motors, transmissions, suspensions and brakes, in that order, got the most attention in engineers' technical papers in the early 1900s.
50. About 3.5 million copies of SAE's aeronautical standards and specifications were printed during World War II.