Herbert Spencer was The Asphalt Institute’s first full-time President. Appointed in 1941, he was a logical choice for the position because of his past association with the Institute and his many highway engineering contributions to the asphalt industry.
He had been a director of the infant organization, then called The Asphalt Association, when it was formed in 1919. As such he played an important role in formulating policies that have helped the Institute attain its present position of world-wide prominence.
After his tenure as President, Mr. Spencer served as Secretary of the Institute for many years and then as a Division Engineer until his retirement in 1956.
His adult career, covering well over half a century, was devoted entirely to the petroleum asphalt industry. He did much important work in developing specifications and sound engineering practices for the use of asphalt as a paving material.
Mr. Spencer was born January 15, 1879. After graduating from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute, he worked on various engineering projects in and around New York. In 1906 he was appointed a resident engineer of the New York State Highway Department for the construction of roads on Long Island.
Due to the rapidly increasing number of vehicles, the dust nuisance by that time had become acute. He remedied this in his area by studying and successfully adopting the practice of road oiling, then being used on a trial basis in California. This technique was soon in use in many other states.
During an early period with the Standard Oil Company of New York and later with the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, Mr. Spencer worked with other notable highway-engineering pioneers on the development of penetration-type macadam pavements.