2017 is ISO’s 70th anniversary! The ISO story began in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries gathered in London to discuss the future of standardization. A year later, on 23 February 1947, ISO officially came into existence. In this post-war era, the founding members saw International Standards as a key to the world’s reconstruction efforts.
Back in 1947, the purpose of the fledgling organization was to facilitate the coordination and unification of standards developed by its member bodies, all of which were national standardization entities in their respective countries. The founders decided that the organization would be open to every country wanting to collaborate – with equal rights and equal duties.
These founding principles still hold true today and the ISO family has blossomed to include 163 members from almost every country in the world. Standardization has come a long way and ISO International Standards, which now cover almost all aspects of technology and business, will continue to ensure positive change in an evolving world.
The first steps
Following the creation of the organization, 67 groups of experts (called technical committees) were set up in specific technical fields such as screw threads, marine technology, food, textiles, paints and laboratory equipment with a mandate to develop International Standards. This led to the birth, in 1951, of the first ISO standard (called “Recommendations” at the time) –ISO/R 1:1951, Standard reference temperature for industrial length measurements. Since then, the ISO portfolio has expanded to include over 22 000 standards supporting all the important technological, environmental and social changes that have taken place in the world.