TEES was established on August 25, 1914, by the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas’ board of directors to conduct engineering research to help build a better society. Its mission was to undertake research that would produce answers to urban difficulties, thus enhancing the quality of life in Texas.
With millions of automobiles now in use and only 10% of the nation's 2.6 million miles of road surfaced, TEES responded to the cries for better roads by creating a series of printed bulletins on the best ways to build highways, culverts and bridges. These were widely used by the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation.
Staffed only with volunteers, TEES continued its highway research and investigations into rural electricity needs and urban sewage disposal. It wasn't until 1921 that TEES received state funding, taking in $6,000 for 1921-1922.
By the close of the 1930s, TEES was stronger than ever before. With a budget now of $40,000, the agency played an integral role in every major capital improvement undertaken by Texas A&M University. The 1930s also saw the creation of a fully equipped Cotton Fiber Testing Lab, the Fan Testing Lab and the Energy Systems Lab.
TEES, along with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, began developing a crop dusting, spraying, seeding and fertilizing aircraft which later went into production and is still used for crop dusting planes.
The 1950s were a pivotal time for TEES as the agency became more involved in cutting-edge technology. TEES' acquisition of computers was soon followed by the creation of the Data Processing Center, which brought the age of computerization to Texas A&M and allowed data processing courses to be offered for the first time.
In response to the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, TEES established the Space Technology Division in 1962. TEES research contributed to the technological success of Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin's walk on the moon in 1969.
The 1970s saw an increase in bioengineering studies. TEES researchers studied prosthetics, bone grafts and modified vehicles for quadriplegics. In 1973, TEES researchers developed a voice and breath-controlled wheelchair.
With a budget of $36 million and the addition of five new divisions and 11 new centers, TEES expanded its scope to worldwide engineering research problems while still keeping an eye on regional needs. In 1989, TEES was formally recognized as a statewide research and technology agency by the 71st Texas Legislature.
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