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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
RALPH CROSS 1910–2003
Elected in 1968
“For development and application of automation principles as related tomachine tools and manufacturing processes.”
BY DENNIS CROSS
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
RALPH E. CROSS, a pioneer in the field of manufacturing engineering and father of automation, died peacefully in his home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, on Thursday, June 26. He was 93. He was a resident of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Grosse Pointe.
Ralph Cross was born in 1910 in Detroit, Michigan where the Cross family had settled in the mid-1800s. His father, Milton Osgood Cross Sr., known as the Skipper for his love of boats, had started a small machine shop in Detroit in 1898, taking in his father, Charles, a cabinetmaker by trade, as partner. The company, Milton O. Cross & Co. Brass Goods, manufactured a variety of metal products, primarily brass goods and marine hardware. As the years passed and the company added to its product line, the Skipper’s love for boats influenced his decision to start offering marine engines. In this early period of automotive history the company soon became established in the fields of marine and stationery engines. It also became known for its expertise in the making of gears. By 1910, the year Ralph was born, the company was building engines, transmissions,