The History of ASME

ASME was founded in 1880 by prominent mechanical engineers, led by Alexander Lyman Holley (1832-1882), Henry Rossiter Worthington (1817-1880), and John Edson Sweet (1832-1916). Holley chaired the first meeting, which was held in the New York editorial offices of the American Machinist on February 16 with thirty in attendance. On April 7 a formal organizational meeting was held at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, with about eighty engineers--industrialists, educators, technical journalists, designers, shipbuilders, military engineers, and inventors. The first annual meeting was held in early November 1880. Robert H. Thurston, professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute and later Cornell, was the first president. Thurston had established the first model mechanical engineering curriculum and laboratory.

ASME formed its research activities in 1909, in areas such as steam tables, the properties of gases, the properties of metals, the effect of temperature on strength of materials, fluid meters, orifice coefficients, etc.

By 1930, fifty years after ASME was founded, the Society had grown to 20,000 members, though its influence on American workers is far greater. Twentieth-century ASME leaders, such as Henry Robinson Towne, Fredrick W. Taylor, Frederick Halsey, Henry L. Gantt, James M. Dodge, and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, pioneered management practices that brought worldwide reform and innovation to labor-management relations.

Today, ASME is a worldwide engineering society focused on technical, educational and research issues. It has 125,000 members and conducts one of the world's largest technical publishing operations, holds some 30 technical conferences and 200 professional development courses each year, and sets many industrial and manufacturing standards.