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In Memory

Edgar (Tiny) von Rosenburg

Edgar von Rosenberg
June 8, 1928 - March 11, 2006

Edgar (Tiny) Von Rosenbery, Professional Engineer, was born in Temple TX, June 8, 1928 and passed away in Houston, TX. on March 11, 2006 from complications surrounding a hip injury.

He is survived by his wife, Jean, of almost 58 years, his son and daughter in law Kirk and Stephanie Von Rosenberg of Atlanta GA. and grandchildren Tom and Emily. His brother Ray resides in Temple, Texas.

A member of Houston's First United Methodist Church (Westchase) Ed was a 1948 graduate of Texas A&M and a member of the Corps of Cadets. He had an illustrious career in the oil industry originally in manufacturing and service companies and later at Exxon Production and Research Company as Senior Research Scientist. Still later he formed his own well regarded consulting practice.

He held 9 US patents and was nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in pipelines and welding. He was active in ASTM, AWS, ASM, API, ISO and other Technical and Professional organizations. He served for many years chairman of the AGA Pipeline Research Committee NG 18 and as Chairman Emeritus of API 1104. Ed founded a scholarship foundation, Von Rosenberg Scholarship Foundation, to support college students based on merit.

In lieu of flowers, donations for the foundation is requested in care of the family (at 8502 Dashwood, Houston Texas 77036.) Funeral services will be held Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 10:00 A.M. in the Chapel at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 6-8 pm Tuesday at the funeral home.

Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 13, 2006

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12/26/20 05:17 PM #1    

Bill Howitt

For me, as an engineer on the pipeline, Tiny von Rosenburg was a legend and a giant in the development of the pipeline design and construction.  When I was first going to meet him I have to say that I was quite intimidated.  I shouldn't have been.  Tiny was gracious, friendly, humble, easy to work with and get to know, and free with sharing of information.  What a wonderful person. 

12/27/20 08:26 AM #2    

Elden Johnson

Yes a Giant in many ways.  When you met him you knew why thay called him "Tiny".  But a gentle giant, and kind person. Not to mention a highly knowlegable metalurgist. 

When TAPS pipe was purchased in 1969, it was thought to be a 100% buried pipeline. The specs called for relativly low toughness based on expected exposure to only buried conditions.  But alas, by the early 1970's and before construction, the design was changed to be 60% above ground with exposure to -60 degree ambiant temperatures.  It needed to be much tougher than specified in the purchase order to avoid "brittle fracture" at the lower temperatures.  Tony, a senior scientist, representing Exxon, led an owner technical committee visiting pipe manufactures in Japan, and going through test data, to assure the purchased pipe could withstand the lower temps.  Tony's expertise was pivitol in the resolution of this problem and assureing that Alyeska could begin consturction as planned.   

12/27/20 08:39 AM #3    

Joe Riordan

Thanks Bill Howitt for that tribute to Tiny.  Here's my memory: Joe Willing introduced me to his buddies including "Tiny" who Joe described as being the one responsible for the welding and materials associated with TAPS.  Back then material properties at -50 weren't as well understood.  In addition ANSI, ASME or API didn't have standards for 48" valves or flanges etc... so manufacturers had to create one called manufacturer specified standard (MSS) and according to Joe Willing, Tiny was a leader in that space.  The fact that the welding and material properties have withstood the test of time and stress is a testimony of Tiny's work.  I'm sure Roy Fowler and Lee Gabrielson or Wes Tonkins or Benton could add more to the above.

Does anyone know of another of Joe Willing's buddies from the early days of TAPS- Holly Childress?  He was a great guy too and although I can't recall his specific contributions but he was a frequent visitor to Joe's office and they shared early design stories and I was more than happy to be a fly on the wall during those discussions and soaking it all in.  There were many others too and my memory is fading but I welcome those with better memories than mine to weigh-in.



12/27/20 12:54 PM #4    

Don Knight

Both Tiny and Joe Willing were a wealth of infomation when it came to pipeline and welding standards and procedures. My memories of Tiny included following him from Isabel to Delta camp one night. It's an understatement to say he could be a challange to keep up with! 

12/27/20 10:03 PM #5    

Pat McDevitt

We brought Tiny in to write/review the new purchase specifications for the pipe purchased for the Atigun pipe replacement project.  I think it was about 15 miles of new 48inch pipe.  The capabilities had changed since the original pipe purchase and we were able to procure a higher strenght pipe.  He really saved our bacon by making us aware of potential problems with slivers in the exterior of the pipe.  While it didn;t effect the properties or strenght of the pipe it was very problematic in the application of an exterior coating.  Thanks to Tiny we had a provision in the specification that the slivers needed to be removed at the responsibility of the pipe manufacturer.  We purchased the pipe from a mill in Italy and I think there were many millions of dollars spent to hand grind out the slivers before a FBE coating was applied in Saudi Arabia. 

I remember what a really nice person he was in addition to his impeccable technical expertise 

12/28/20 04:29 PM #6    

Wes Tonkins

I can vouch for Pat McDevitt's comments about Tiny on the pipe purchase for the Atigun Re-route project. Tiny saved Alyeska millions of dollars on that purchase. 

In another remembrance, I was writing structural steel specifications for another client using the Alyeska specifications as a template. The client asked why I was limiting tensile stresses to 5000 psi for non-low temp steel when Arco allowed tensile stresses up to 7500 psi. I contacted Tiny who explained that the information he used in developing Alyeska's specifications came from the Naval Research Labs investigation of the brittle fracture failures of the Liberty ships during World War II. He also said that no additional similar research had occurred since then. I obtained copies of these research papers and found the following for non-low temp steels. At stresses below 5000 psi, brittle fracture did not occur. The fractures were all ductile. At stresses above 7500 psi, almost all fractures were brittle. For stresses between 5000 and 7500 psi, the data was mixed. Most fractures were ductile but a few were brittle. The purpose of the specifications is to avoid brittle fracture in low temperatures. I contacted Tiny again and asked why he had used 5000 psi instead of 7500 psi as had Arco. He said that either number was equally valid. Which one you picked depended on how well you wanted to sleep at night. When I explained that to my client, they decided to stay with 5000 psi. Some may argue that Tiny was overly conservative, but history shows us that Tiny's approach has served Alyeska very well. His knowledge of metallurgy and welding was unequalled.

12/29/20 07:59 AM #7    

Joe Riordan

Wow guys, you are so right!  Thanks Wes and Pat.  I can still recall the author from that article- Pelini from the US Naval Observatory.  It's crazy the things you remember once prompted.

Ok, now that brigns up a funny story about the orgininal holy men errr I mean greats. I was contacted by the Owners in about 1989 with a unique request related to a legal case worth many tens of millions of dollars; Did I know if TAPS included the topping units when it was being designed and prior to 1972?  Obviously that was before my time and the only person I could think of that might know was Joe Willing who had been retired for about 5 years or more.  Nevertheless I checked on him periodically so that prompted me to call him again.  So I asked him the question and without hesitatation he said "Yes, it can be found in the TAPS Feasibility Study published December 21, 1968."  I laughed and said "Seriously Joe, about when was it published?"  Again he answered without hesitation "I told you December 21, 1968 in the TAPS Feasibility Study Report."  I laughed again and reminded him that he'd been retired for years and asked how he remembered the date and the source so accurately and he dead panned- "Well it was an important date."  To finish the story I received the copy from the archives in some salt mine in Utah of the 1968 TAPS Feasibiluty Report and sure enough it was all there.  It made fascinating reading and Joe Wiling explained more of it to me but that's for another time.


Joe Riordan

12/29/20 08:37 AM #8    

Bill Howitt

I'm really enjoying these stories Guys.  A lot of very good memories.  It's a shame that it takes someone dying, but I guess that just part of the human condition.


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