Dr. Arthur Brace is known as the “Father of Anodizing” for his extensive knowledge about the craft and his numerous writings on the subject. Now 90, he first began working with aluminum in 1939 when he was a laboratory assistant at a foundry that made gun turrets during World War II in his native England. He eventually went to work for the industry group Aluminum Development Association, and has been a featured speaker at many anodizing conferences over the years. He was recently honored by the Aluminum Anodizing Council at their annual meeting in Seattle, with an award honoring his career work.
Q: You recently received the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Aluminum Anodizing Council. What were your thoughts when you heard you were to be honored?
AB: I did not know of the award until after I had given my lecture to the conference on Wednesday morning. I was surprised and very pleased at this honor.
Q: That must have been some trip from the UK to Seattle. How much traveling do you do?
AB: At the age of 90, I do only a modest amount of traveling these days.
Q: You are called the “Father of Anodizing.” Tell us how you first became involved in anodizing.
AB: One day in 1953, I was "volunteered" into the job when the technical director said, "you are now the Anodizing King." My knowledge was simply that of reading a chapter in a book entitled Anodizing and Finishing.
Q: How much are you still active in the finishing profession, either reading journals or staying in contact with those in the industry?
AB: I try to keep in contact with personal friends in the industry and attending an occasional conference.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you were given, either personally or professionally, and who gave it to you?
AB: My technical director at the company I first worked for advised me to talk to people on the shop floor before investigating a problem.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
AB: I had some vague aspiration that it might be interesting to work in a laboratory.
Q: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
AB: My first job was as a metallurgical assistant in a foundry making aluminum and magnesium castings. My experience showed that solving problems on the factory floor needed more than textbooks.
Q: What was your first car, and what is your dream car?
AB: My first car was a Ford Anglia. I never had a dream car other than the next one in the BMW range that I couldn't afford.
Family: Married with two sons, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Favorite hobby: I am fond of classical music, including Italian opera. Beethoven is my favorite composer.
Favorite movie: Casablanca.
Favorite book: My favorite book is Cabbages and Kings written by O.Henry, whose main fame was in writing short stories. Declining eyesight has limited my activities in recent years.