Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Recognizing 125 Years of ASME Codes and Standards Development

June 10, 2010

Mr. President, I rise today to congratulate the American Society of Mechanical Engineers on the 125th anniversary of their Codes and Standards.
As the only serving Senator who has worked as an engineer – indeed I have a degree in engineering and worked as a mechanical engineer – I was proud to sponsor a resolution acknowledging the lasting impact ASME codes and standards have had on our nation and on other parts of the world.

Now, to you non-engineers, codes and standards developed by and for mechanical engineers may sound like a lot of jargon and, candidly, like pretty boring stuff.  

But as an engineer, I am proud to say that I believe that the nuts and bolts of how to build things, how to create, how to standardize and grow equipment and industries have been at the very heart of the American economic growth-engine for more than a century.  

That kind of nuts and bolts thinking and creativity will be what leads America out of this recession and toward sustained economic growth once again.  

So I’m pleased that the Senate has joined me in celebrating a success story of American engineering.

This story begins when ASME was founded in 1880.  ASME currently includes more than 127,000 members worldwide.  

It is a professional organization which promotes the art, science, and practice of mechanical and multi-disciplinary engineering and allied sciences.  

One of its chief functions since its founding has been the development of tool and machine part standards, along with uniform work practices to ensure mechanical reliability.

This week, ASME will celebrate its 125th anniversary of codes and standards development.  

This is a tribute to the dedicated service of technical experts and engineers, whose efforts resulted in internationally accepted standards—standards that not only enhance public safety but also promote global trade.  

Its first published performance test code was entitled:  “Code for the Conduct of Trials of Steam Boilers.”  

Since then, ASME has developed more than five hundred technical standards for pressure vessel technology, electric and nuclear power facilities, elevators and escalators, gas pipelines, engineering drawing practices, and numerous other technical and engineered products and processes.
At present, ASME codes and standards, as well as conformity assessment programs, are used in more than one hundred countries.

Does engineering sound boring to you?  Let’s hope America’s youth don’t think so.  

We need to excite the young minds of thousands and thousands of young Americans about the possibilities of being an engineer, because engineers have always been the world’s problem solvers.

It is impossible to ignore the effect ASME’s codes and standards have had on global development.  

During the period of rising industrialization, as machines were expanding in use and complexity on farms and in factories, ASME standards helped to ensure the safety of engineers and workers using these machines.  

Today, in our global economy, these codes and standards are continually revised and updated to reflect changes in technology.  As a result, ASME’s codes and standards are accepted across the globe and help to advance international commerce.  

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has adapted to meet the changes and challenges in the engineering profession.  

I commend their accomplishments and contributions to the health, safety, and economic well-being of our nation.  

I am pleased that the Senate yesterday approved Senate Resolution 179.

I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, in part because after Sputnik, the United States was supporting science and engineering on an unprecedented level.

America’s competitive spirit helped us meet the challenges of those times.  Thousands of innovations created myriad new opportunities for growth and development.   

We can do this again.

The financial crisis should lead to a cultural shift back to the strong foundations of innovation and know-how that have always been the American way.  

I am glad that the federal government is again investing strongly in supporting the basic scientific, medical, and engineering research that will spur the discovery and innovations to create millions of new jobs and shape a bright American future.  

I want to thank my fellow Senators for joining with me in celebrating one small chapter in the American economic success story, with hope that we can inspire similar successes in the coming years.

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