History of ASME Standards


Standards Are Global

ASME is constantly seeking to expand standards on a global level. Since 1971 ASME grew from certifying manufacturers in 2 nations (The United States and Canada), to certifying manufacturers in 75 nations. By recruiting more international members at both the student and professional levels to participate in standards development, and holding numerous conferences outside the US, ASME has strived to build a global community.

Having one global standard becomes increasingly important as industrialization reaches the developing world, and as companies merge across international boundaries. ASME standards have been translated into Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.


Who makes Standards?

ASME’s Council on Standards and Certification oversees 6 supervisory boards and 4 advisory boards, which manage more than 700 committees and over 4,500 volunteer members—most of who are working engineers.

ASME Standards Development Committees strive for a balance of varied interests and perspectives. Discussion and debate are crucial to this consensus-based process, making diversity an indispensable asset, but the common thread of committee members is technical expertise. Some of the best technical minds in the world volunteer their time and acumen to develop standards that enhance public safety and promote global trade.


Why Standardize?

In 1884 ASME launched its first published standard, for the uniformity for testing methods of boilers. After that, the society turned its attention to pipes and pipe thread. Non-standardized pipe thread contributed to the Great Chicago Fire, the great Baltimore fire and others, as fire companies found their hose couplings wouldn’t fit hydrants outside their specific location.

Computers, hand tools, medical devices, elevators, and boilers—virtually all modern mechanical devices involve one or more engineering standards in their manufacture. ASME is the premier organization working to maintain the machinery of the modern world. The fact that the general public is unaware of their work is the best tribute to the success of their achievement—bringing stability to the systems of daily life.