2008: John Janning

Joseph Raymond Desch InnoVention Award
for
Applied Innovation

In recognition of demonstrated excellent in innovative problem solving and the follow-on invention of practical applied solutions, the Engineers Club of Dayton, Ohio, proudly presents this prestigious award, the Joseph Raymond Desch InnoVention Award for Applied Innovation, for 2008, to John Louis Janning.

This award honors both the spirit and accomplishments of one of America’s most distinguished problem-solvers, Joseph R. (“Joe”) Desch, and this year’s recipient, John Janning.

Joe Desch’s life was spent in the pursuit of “game changing” innovation and technical advances many of which significantly contributed to the victory of the United States in World War II. Mr. Desch’s development of electronic high speed counters capable of accurately counting impulses at the rate of one million or more per second contributed to the success of the Manhattan Project and victory in the Pacific. He then designed and manufactured here in Dayton more than 120 fast, complex American “Bombes”, machines to analyze the German Naval Enigma cipher, contributing to victory in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean campaigns and the Normandy landing. In 1947 Mr. Desch received the Medal of Merit from President Harry Truman. His nomination for that award, written by Admiral D. C. Ramsey in 1947, read in part:

There is no case on record in which such advanced techniques were incorporated into equipment of such complexity under such pressure. The succesful operation of this equipment for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the critical period of the battle of the Atlantic is witness to the consummate sklll of Mr. Desch.

As a result of an application initiated in March of 1940 for a patent on an electronic calculatorhe and Robert Mumma designedhe was awarded a patent which gave him the distinction of being a pioneer of the modern digital computer. His later adhievements include the NCR 304 computer, the NEAM class computer, the Post-Tronic class calculator, NCR check-sorting equipment, magnetic character printing equipment, computer peripherals including magnetic tape units, high speed printers, and numerous types of equipment for the government while he was head of the NCR Military Division.

Joe Desch spent his life serving his country and the world from his home in Dayton, Ohio. During his life, Joe exemplified the spirit of the Engineers Club of Dayton. Therefore, it is only right and fitting that this high award, recognizing both innovative thought and its application via practical inventions, honors two of Dayton’s most creative minds, Joseph Raymond Desch and John Louis Janning.