Edward Orton, Jr.

Edward Orton, Jr. (October 8 1863, Chester, New YorkFebruary 10 1932, Columbus, Ohio) was a prominent Columbus philanthropist and businessman.

Early years

Orton, Jr. is the son of Dr. Edward Orton, Sr., a Harvard educated geologist, and Mary Jennings Orton. Shortly after his birth, in 1865, his family relocated to Yellow Springs, Ohio when his father became principal of the preparatory school of Antioch College. In 1873, he began attending public school in Columbus after his father relocated the family when he was appointed first President of The Ohio State Agricultural and Mechanical College.

The Ohio State University

Orton, Jr. graduated from Ohio State University with an Engineer of Mines degree in 1884. In 1894, Orton was appointed the first Chairman of Ceramic Engineering at Ohio State University, the first ceramic engineering school in the United States. Orton also served as the Dean of the College of Engineering from 1902 to 1906 and again from 1910 to 1915.

Orton honored his father with the Orton Memorial Library of Geology, inside Orton Hall at Ohio State University, for perusing the theories and records of earthly change. Orton Hall would later house the Orton Geology Museum


In 1916, Orton aided in the drafting of the National Defense Act. Later that year, during World War I, Orton entered the United States military service. In 1917 he was commissioned a Major in the Officer's Reserve Corps. By 1919 he became a Brigadier General in the Quartermaster's Officers Reserve Corp. On June 2, 1919, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal by the United States Congress.


Following in his father's footsteps, Orton became the State Geologist of Ohio in 1899 until 1906. He was also Columbus philanthropist. He purchased, created, and donated Camp Mary Orton (named for his first wife) to the Goodman Guild of Columbus. He was elected President of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce in 1921 and was re-elected for a second term in 1922 (become only the second citizen to succeed himself). He became a loyal supporter of the Columbus Art Museum.

In 1922 he received a Doctor os Science from Rutgers College. In 1931 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Alfred University. Later in 1931, he received the professional degree of Ceramic Engineer from The Ohio State University.

American Ceramic Society

In 1898, Orton Jr. founded the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) in Pittsburgh. He then served as the first Secretary from 1899 to 1917 and later as president in 1930-1931.

tandard Pyrometric Cone Company

Dr. Orton recognized the ceramic industry’s need to have a calibrated visual device to measure the amount of heat work delivered to ceramic products during the firing process to insure the products were mature. To meet this need he developed a series of pyrometric cones and established the "Standard Pyrometric Cone Company" to manufacture the cones. Even with the subsequent development of thermocouples and electronic temperature controllers, Orton’s pyrometric products continue to be used.

At his death in 1932, Dr. Orton provided in his Will for creation of the Edward Orton, Jr. Ceramic Foundation to operate as a charitable trust to continue the operation of the "Standard Pyrometric Cone Company" for the benefit of the ceramic arts industry.


Orton married twice, first to Mary Princess Anderson (1888 until her death in 1927) and later to Mina Althea Orton (1928 until his death in 1932).


"Clays of Ohio", published by The Ohio State University in 1884.
"Limestone Resources & the Lime Industry" ISBN 1-114-50912-4

External links

* [http://www.geology.ohio-state.edu/modules.php?op=modload&name=Dept_Info&file=Orton Department of Geological Sciences, OSU]
* [http://www.ortonceramic.com/ Orton Ceramic Foundation]

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