Alexander Zeitlin

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Alexander Zeitlin (28 August 1900 in Russia – 19 April 1998) was a Russian-American military leader. He was prominent in the US Air Force major hydraulic press design program following the Second World War and Korean War years. He and his colleagues worked on "The Heavy Press Program of the U.S.A.F." that began in earnest in 1950.


Heavy Press Program[edit]

The Heavy (Forging) Press Program were installed at Alcoa Cleveland, Ohio and Wyman Gordon, North Grafton, Massachusetts. The two Forging Press manufacturers were Loewy Hydropress Inc. (Loewy) and Mesta Machine of Pittsburgh, PA. At Loewy, Zietlin was involved in the design and construction of the 35,000 ton press code-named "MINOR" and the 50,000 ton code-named "MAJOR" forging presses.

For strategic reasons, two other "Minor" and "Major" forging presses and were built by Mesta Machine and were commissioned at Alcoa Cleveland, Ohio, during the same time period. Both had a 50,000-ton forge capacity and were powered by hydraulic systems with forging flows of 12,000 Gallons per Minute (45,000 Liters/min.) at 4,500 (PSI 310 bar), Loewy Presses were a pull-down design using columnar plate design while the Mesta design used moving platens with round columns. Both the 50,000-ton presses are listed as National Historic Engineering Landmarks.

The Loewy forging press made the Boeing 747 main wing beams and all the B2b Stealth Bomber forgings at Wyman-Gordon.

Bliss Barrogenics[edit]

In the 1960s Zeitlin continued his work as Vice President of Bliss Barrogenics of Mount Vernon, NY continually focused on the heavy press industry. During that period the Soviets had built two 65,000 Metric Ton (72,000-US Ton) presses and were rumored to be building larger presses.

Press Technology Corporation[edit]

He formed Press Technology Corporation (PTC) of White Plains, NY. With his 'right hand man', Adam Zandel (of Forest Hills, NY) the company led proposals for larger presses. In the 1980s and into the 90's PTC, Zietlin and Zandel were central in promoting and supporting the strategic U. S. need for construction for 100,000-ton and 200,000-ton "Super Presses". PTC developed complete detailed plans and proposals for all project phases. Suppliers for all major components and systems had been identified and bids were ready for Air Force approval. Several ex-Loewy senior designers and engineers including engineers who had worked on the original presses at Alcoa and Wyman Gordon were available.

As the political scene changed, aircraft frame development progressed moved to use composites, which delayed and possibly eliminated the need for these larger presses.

Zeitlin's work included several key US government and classified military projects. Zeitlin alone and PTC worked on several other military projects and developed several patents. For example, PTC patented a press frame concept for an enormous 500,000-ton forging press and also patented press designs incorporating composite materials.

Personal life[edit]

Alexander Zeitlin was born in Russia 28 August 1900 in Russia and died April 19, 1998, in White Plains, Westchester, NY.


  • Linderman Library, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA Call No.: SC MS 078
  • American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers Library of Congress Catalog Card # 68-23024
  • US Patents Office # 4,787,654; 4,706,490; 4,694,678 & 4,566,372.
  • ASME (American Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Dedication Ceremony; 50,000 Ton Closed Die Forging Press, Cleveland, Ohio, 24 September 1981, publication
  • Business contact information and references of Charles N. Johnson of Wisconsin
  • Also see Lehigh Engineers and for a photograph of the 50,000 Ton Forging press at Wyman Gordon,