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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 produc ...
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 An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
(ISO). Other prominent international standards organizations include the
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

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 s ...
(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 A complex system is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way e ...

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 An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
(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 Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
and the need for high-precision
machine tool A machine tool is a machine for handling or machining metal or other rigid materials, usually by cutting, Boring (manufacturing), boring, grinding (abrasive cutting), grinding, shearing, or other forms of deformations. Machine tools employ some s ...
s and
interchangeable parts Interchangeable parts are parts (components Component may refer to: In engineering, science, and technology Generic systems *System A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to ...

interchangeable parts
.
Henry Maudslay Henry Maudslay (pronunciation and spellingPronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...

Henry Maudslay
developed the first industrially practical
screw-cutting lathe A screw-cutting lathe is a machine (specifically, a lathe A lathe () is a 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 ca ...
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 for ...
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, entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist. In 1841, he devised the British Standard Whitworth system, which created an accepted standard for screw ...

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 The imperial system of units, imperial system or imperial units (also known as British Imperial or Exchequer Standards of 1826) is the system of units first defined in the British Weights an ...
, 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 Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

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 A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
, similar national bodies were established in other countries. The
Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
was set up in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

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 Tegwen Malik (born 21 January 1975, in London) is a professional squash (sport), squash player who represented Wales. At 17, she was the youngest ever winner of the Welsh Senior Closed. She reached a career-high world ranking of World No. 16 in J ...
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 and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through t ...
of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

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 i ...
, radio and satellite communications, and other
information and communication technology Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communicationsUnified communications (UC) is a business and marketing Marketing refers to activities a c ...
. 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 is the derived unit for electric potential The electric potential (also called the ''electric field potential'', potential drop, the electrostatic potential) is defined as the amount of work (physics), work energy needed to move a ...

volt
age,
frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparen ...

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 St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: ...
in
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...

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 s ...
. The body held its first meeting that year in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

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 Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
and agreed to join forces to create the new
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
(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 s ...
*
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic discipline ...
*
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

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 standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organizations and governments. Standardization ...
*
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, interpr ...
*
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 produc ...
* World Standards Cooperation * World Standards Day (14 October annually)


References


External links

* {{Authority control