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ASTM - User's Guide to ASTM Specification C 94 on Ready-Mixed Concrete

Organization: ASTM
Publication Date: 1 January 2005
Page Count: 146


To FULLY UNDERSTAND ASTM C 94/C 94M, Specification on Ready-Mixed Concrete, it is necessary to understand ASTM and the consensus process for developing standards such as ASTM C 94/C 94M. Getting a view of ASTM from its conception takes us back more than a century. The time period involved is between the American Civil War, which ended in 1865, and World War I, which began in 1914. The true beginning of ASTM coincided with the Spanish-American War fought in 1898.

The world and, more specifically, the United States was in the midst of the second phase of the Industrial Revolution. Major advances in communication and transportation were taking place in a country that in the late 1890s consisted of 45 states. The diesel engine, electrical power, and the steel industry were all coming into prominence. The U.S. was a growing, developing, and prosperous nation with some industrial corporations growing into giants that remain today. William McKinley was elected President in 1896, re-elected in 1900, and assassinated in 1901.

This growth period and the industrial revolution were the backdrop that fostered ASTM. The North American railroad network was expanding in all directions less than 30 years after the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Charles Dudley, holder of a Ph.D. from Yale University, was a chemist for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Mr, Dudley's degree preceded by two years Custer's last stand at the battle of the Little Big Horn in the hills of Montana. A portion of his duties included research to develop more durable steel for use as rails and then to write a specification conveying those specifics to the rail manufacturers. Mr. Dudley's ideas did not always coincide with those of the steel manufacturers or other railroads who were also buying steel rails. These problems and differing view points led to the first meetings of manufacturers, chemists, engineers, and others in the steel and railroad or bridge business to develop some standards everyone could tolerate. The idea that emerged was that good material standards require the input of manufacturers, designers, builders, and users. This was the idea in June of 1898 when ASTM was first formed under another name, American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials. From the first meeting, the goal was to develop consensus standards.

The first committee dealing with cement, C-I, was formed in 1902, and the concrete and concrete aggregates committee, C9, formed in 1914.

The scope of ASTM has continued to expand, and its name has continued to change. The name today is ASTM International, reflecting both its wide use and its broad international membership. From the original 70 members, ASTM International (ASTM) has grown to more than 30,000 members. For the 100 plus years of its existence, the committee work has remained in the hands of volunteers.