Charles B. Dudley, Ph.D., a chemist with the Pennsylvania Railroad, was the driving force behind the formation of ASTM in 1898. For the Pennsylvania, Dudley investigated the materials that the railroad bought in large quantities. He soon recognized the need for standard material specifications for the railroad's suppliers. Dudley founded ASTM as a place where standards for industrial materials could be developed. Dudley's consensus principle -- bringing together the main parties involved in using a standard into one forum to develop a standard-- was the very foundation of ASTM. Dudley became the first president of the Society, then headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. ASTM's first standard, "Structural Steel for Bridges" was written in 1901 by ASTM's first technical committee on Steel.
Engineers Create ASTM
After the turn of the century, ASTM formed several new committees that expanded the organization's scope beyond the steel industry and responded to the growing need for standards in many areas. For example, Committee C-1 on Cement, Lime and Clay Products, today simply referred to as C-1 on Cement, was founded in 1902.
Over the course of the century, ASTM evolved into a truly national organization whose more than 100 technical committees formed an integral part of America's maturing economic base, contributing to the rise of new industries in strategic areas such as highway transportation, petrochemicals, electronics, and aerospace technology to name only a few. ASTM's development from the 1920s to the 1960s helped facilitate the nation's rise to economic and military superpower status. Committees in new technical areas such as those on consumer products, occupational health and safety, hazardous substances and oil spill response were formed.
During the 1980s and 1990s ASTM introduced initiatives that resulted in the increased timely development and delivery of standards. Today, ASTM is international, with its standards accepted and used around the world because of their high technical quality. ASTM's system of standards development, which is open to all interested parties, draws participation and use from around the globe.
ASTM has over 10,000 standards in 129 different technical areas. Standards are available online from the ASTM Website, in print, and on CD. ASTM also has professional training courses that deal with its standards. These courses are offered throughout the U.S. and also abroad. ASTM also publishes a monthly magazine, Standardization News, which provides information on ASTM standards-writing committees as well as general standards information. ASTM holds symposia, which give state of the art technical information in various technical areas. Papers from these symposia are compiled in ASTM's Special Technical Publications.
ASTM standards are used in all phases of manufacturing: design, production, testing, product quality, and marketing. ASTM Headquarters is located at 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 U.S.A, with additional offices in Washington DC and in the U.K. For general information on ASTM, visit Frequently Asked Questions.