An Unsuspected Link Between Rice Engineering and Beer

One of the things I’m always on the lookout for is material related to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. It started with my attempts to figure out when the bent moved from one place to another but I’ve since developed an interest in the enterprise itself.

Engineophyte cover 1940

Earlier this summer Big John Laxen from FE&P gave me a box of materials he had found, which turned out to be papers that had belonged to Jim Sims, ’41. (If you look closely you can see his name written at the top left.) Going through them I  came upon this little booklet prepared by a group called the Rice Engineophytes, petitioning Tau Beta Pi for a chapter. Their description of their activities is a nice snapshot of how they worked to establish Rice’s qualifications:

Engineophyte 1

Engineophyte 2

There’s a good deal more material about the founding of the Rice chapter, which I will get to eventually. But there’s something in this booklet that’s even more interesting than that. Take a look at this list of prominent Rice engineering alumni. I’m familiar with most of these names and there are several I’ve written about here: Herb Allen from Mechanical, Donald Norgaard from Electrical, Elmer Shutts from Civil.

Engineophyte Tau Beta Pi petition 1941 alumni

I was caught by surprise, though, by a name I’d never seen before: “Franz Brogniez, Brewmaster and Chief Chemist, Gulf Brewing Company, Houston.” This was absolutely news to me. A quick check turns up this fascinating article about his father, the master brewer responsible for Southern Select, in whose footsteps he followed. Here’s the younger Brogniez in the 1923 Campanile:

Frantz P Brogniez 1922




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7 Responses to An Unsuspected Link Between Rice Engineering and Beer

  1. Keith Cooper says:

    Bonus: roof of Abercrombie

  2. Richard A. Schafer says:

    I’m just shocked to find a connection between Rice engineers and beer.

  3. almadenmike says:

    T.V. Moore later had a small role in the Manhattan Project, mentioned in these two articles about an MIT grad he recruited to move from Humble Oil to Fermi’s lab in Chicago: &

  4. almadenmike says:

    Several sources say T.V. Moore was head of Humble’s production research department. If Rice has site access, this article may have the more detailed description of his role:

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