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An international standard is a
technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and product ...
developed by one or more international
standards organizations A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpre ...
. International standards are available for consideration and use worldwide. The most prominent such organization is the
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide p ...
(ISO). Other prominent international standards organizations include the
International Telecommunication Union 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the ...

International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) and the
International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or st ...
(IEC). Together, these three organizations have formed the World Standards Cooperation alliance.


Purpose

International standards may be used either by direct application or by a process of modifying an international standard to suit local conditions. Adopting international standards results in creating national standards that are equivalent, or substantially the same as international standards in technical content, but may have (i) editorial differences as to appearance, use of symbols and measurement units, substitution of a point for a comma as the decimal marker, and (ii) differences resulting from conflicts in government
regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For ...

regulation
s or industry-specific requirements caused by fundamental climatic, geographic, technologic, or infrastructure factors, or the stringency of safety requirements that a given standard authority considers appropriate. International standards are one way to overcome technical barriers in international commerce caused by differences among technical regulations and standards developed independently and separately by each nation, national standards organization, or business. Technical barriers arise when different groups come together, each with a large user base, doing some well established thing that between them is mutually incompatible. Establishing international standards is one way of preventing or overcoming this problem. To support this, the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
(WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee published the "Six Principles" guiding members in the development of international standards.


History


Standardization

The implementation of standards in industry and commerce became highly important with the onset of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from craft production, hand production ...
and the need for high-precision
machine tool A machine tool is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be driven by animals and people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural ...
s and
interchangeable parts Interchangeable parts are parts ( components) that are, for practical purposes, identical. They are made to specifications that ensure that they are so nearly identical that they will fit into any assembly of the same type. One such part can freely ...

interchangeable parts
.
Henry Maudslay Henry Maudslay ( pronunciation and spelling) (22 August 1771 – 14 February 1831) was an English machine tool A machine tool is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform ...

Henry Maudslay
developed the first industrially practical
screw-cutting lathe A screw-cutting lathe is a machine (specifically, a lathe A watchmaker using a lathe to prepare a component cut from copper for a watch A lathe () is a machine tool that rotates a workpiece about an axis of rotation to perform various operati ...
in 1800, which allowed for the standardisation of
screw thread A screw thread, often shortened to thread, is a helix, helical structure used to convert between rotational and linear movement or force. A screw thread is a ridge wrapped around a cylinder (geometry), cylinder or cone (geometry), cone in the form ...
sizes for the first time. Maudslay's work, as well as the contributions of other engineers, accomplished a modest amount of industry standardization; some companies' in-house standards spread a bit within their industries.
Joseph Whitworth Sir Joseph Whitworth, 1st Baronet (21 December 1803 – 22 January 1887) was an English engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machi ...

Joseph Whitworth
's screw thread measurements were adopted as the first (unofficial) national standard by companies around the country in . It came to be known as the
British Standard Whitworth British Standard Whitworth (BSW) is an imperial-unit-based screw thread A screw thread, often shortened to thread, is a helical structure used to convert between rotational and linear movement or force. A screw thread is a ridge wrapped around a ...
, and was widely adopted in other countries. By differences in standards between companies were making trade increasingly difficult and strained. The Engineering Standards Committee was established in
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...

London
in as the world's first national standards body.Robert C McWilliam. BSI: The first hundred years. 2001. Thanet Press. London After the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war that began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. It involved much of Europe, as well as Russia, the Unite ...
, similar national bodies were established in other countries. The
Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English, the German Institute for Standardisation) is the German national organization for standardization Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard i ...
was set up in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...

Germany
in , followed by its counterparts, the American National Standard Institute and the French Commission Permanente de Standardisation, both in . There are not many books that cover standards in general but a book written in 2019 by Nicholas Rich and Tegwen Malik gives a very comprehensive overview of the history of standards, how ISO standards are drafted along with key ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. A paper has been published explaining the differences between international standards and private standards.


International organizations

One of the most well established international standardization organizations is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a
Specialized Agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, d ...
of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
which was founded on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Union. The ITU was initially focused on the standardization of telegraph signals, and later evolved to include
telephony Telephony ( ) is the field of technology involving the development, application, and deployment of telecommunication services for the purpose of electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data, between distant parties. The history of telephony is in ...
, radio and satellite communications, and other
information and communication technology Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty Uncertainty refers to Epistemology, epistemic situations involving imperfect or unknown information. It applies to predictions of future events, to physical measurements that ...
. By , efforts were being made to standardize electrical measurement. An important figure was R. E. B. Crompton, who became concerned by the large range of different standards and systems used by electrical engineering companies and scientists in . Many companies had entered the market in and all chose their own settings for
volt The volt (symbol: V) is the SI derived unit, derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force. It is named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827). Definition One volt is ...

volt
age,
frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and angular frequency. Frequency is measured in Hertz (unit), hertz ( ...

frequency
,
current Currents or The Current may refer to: Science and technology * Current (fluid) A current in a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. ...
and even the symbols used on circuit diagrams. Adjacent buildings would have totally incompatible electrical systems simply because they had been fitted out by different companies. Crompton could see the lack of efficiency in this system and began to consider proposals for an international standard for electric engineering. In , Crompton represented Britain at the
Louisiana Purchase Exposition The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri Missouri is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the Unite ...
in
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. With more than six million residents, it is the List of U.S. states and territor ...

St. Louis
as part of a delegation by the
Institute of Electrical Engineers An institute is an organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing a ...
. He presented a paper on standardisation, which was so well received that he was asked to look into the formation of a commission to oversee the process. By his work was complete and he drew up a permanent constitution for the first international standards organization, the
International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or st ...
. The body held its first meeting that year in
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...

London
, with representatives from 14 countries. In honour of his contribution to electrical standardisation, Lord Kelvin was elected as the body's first President. The International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA) was founded in with a broader remit to enhance international cooperation for all technical standards and specifications. The body was suspended in during World . After the war, ISA was approached by the recently formed United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) with a proposal to form a new global standards body. In , ISA and UNSCC delegates from 25 countries met in
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...

London
and agreed to join forces to create the new
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide p ...
(ISO); the new organization officially began operations in .


See also

*
International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or st ...
*
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide p ...
*
International Telecommunication Union 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the ...

International Telecommunication Union
* List of international common standards *
List of technical standard organisations This is a list of technical standardization organizations. International standards organizations * 3GPP – 3rd Generation Partnership Project * 3GPP2 – 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 * ABYC – The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC is ...
*
Standardization Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard is an established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task. It is usually a formal document that establishes un ...
*
Standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpre ...
*
Technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and product ...
* World Standards Cooperation * World Standards Day (14 October annually)


References


External links

* {{Authority control