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American Society for Testing Materials records


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The American Society for Testing and Materials, now known as ASTM International, was founded in 1898 by a group of engineers and scientists to tackle the problem of frequent break in railroad tracks. From their work grew industry-wide standards for the steel used in rail construction. Among the society’s founders was Charles B. Dudley, who worked as a chemist for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The society once shared offices with the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia at 1315 Spruce Street. Today, ASTM International’s headquarters are in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

This small collection of records of the American Society for Testing Materials specifically pertains to one of the society’s committees--Committee A-8, cold drawn steel--that appears to have been headquartered in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are incoming and outgoing letters between East Pittsburgh and ASTM’s Philadelphia office, as well as letters between the committee’s chair, C. E. Skinner, and numerous firms that used, bought, and sold the steel, such as Remington Arms Company, General Electric, American Steel & Wire Company, National Cash Register, and Union Drawn Steel Company, among others. While the majority of the correspondence concerns setting up meetings and letting in new members, some of the letters, to varying degrees of detail, discuss test results and new steel-making machinery and processes, such as the Bessemer process, which was invented by Henry Bessemer in 1851 and introduced a cheaper way of mass producing steel. There are numerous blueprints/schematics, forms, and test result sheets mixed among the letters. Additionally, there are a few printed items, including an undated work called "A List of Alloys," which contains documentation on the composition of numerous metal alloys.

According to the records, in mid 1916 a recommendation was made to merge Committee A-8 on cold drawn steel with Committee A-1 on steel (currently titled "Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys"). Though this collection of records does not cover the merger, it likely occurred based on the fact that today the ASTM no longer maintains a committee designated A-8.

Gift of GLBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center, 2010.

Accession number 2010.055.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2014
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Carol Ingald in memory of her father, George A. Ingald.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

"Extract from report on testing of cold-rolled steel", 18 November 1902.
Box 1 Folder 1
Letters concerning cold drawn and cold rolled steel, March-April 1907.
Box 1 Folder 2
Correspondence (including data sheets), January-May 1909.
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence (including data sheets), July-December 1909.
Box 1 Folder 4
Data sheets and tests, 1909-1910.
Box 1 Folder 5
Correspondence, 1910.
Box 1 Folder 6
Correspondence, 1911.
Box 1 Folder 7
Correspondence, 1912.
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence, 1913.
Box 1 Folder 9
Correspondence, February-March 1914.
Box 2 Folder 1
Correspondence, March-August 1914.
Box 2 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1915-1916.
Box 2 Folder 3
Correspondence and reports: Subcommittee VI -- forging, 1915-1916.
Box 2 Folder 4
Miscellaneous forms and specification sheets, 1910, 1911, undated.
Box 2 Folder 5
Publications: "A List of Alloys;" "Regulations governing technical committees", 1922, undated.
Box 2 Folder 6

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