From the early to mid 1800’s, the power of the Industrial Revolution began to present itself among all aspects of American life. Larger brick towers belched smoke, while tons of iron and steel roared across the open plains and valleys of the United States, all the while vast ships powered by steam scoured the oceans in search of trade and treasure. However, this new relationship between man and machine came at a cost.
The boilers and pressure vessels responsible for this innovative motive force was prone to failure. Some were just a curiosity and others were catastrophic failures resulting in significant loss of life. It was among the cries of the public, that four individuals took it upon themselves to create the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1880, four well known industrialists, Alexander Holley, Henry Worthington, John Sweet, and Matthias Forney, came together to forge a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting technical and engineering standards across the country, through voluntary membership and technical publication.
Over the following years, the ASME grew substantially to cover more and more aspects of engineering and thus more industries became part of the ASME regime of standards and practices. This expansion and the commitment to engineering excellence eventually led states, and eventually whole countries, to codify some of the standards set forth by the organization into law.
Now, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has grown to a presence in over 150 countries with a membership in excess of over 150,000. Still, the commitment to engineering excellence and to the development of technical and engineering stands continue to provide a pathway to even more advancements in feats of engineering and to the continued improvement of engineering as a whole.
The ASME stands as the premier organization for engineering standards and as innovations come to light, it will expand further to help ensure the future is bright and safe for all.