Pressure Vessels – The ASME Code Simplified

Pressure Vessels – The ASME Code Simplified

History of the ASME Code
On March 20, 1905, a disastrous boiler explosion occurred in a shoe factory
in Brockton, Massachusetts, killing 58 persons, injuring 117 others,
and causing a quarter of a million dollars in property damage. For years
prior to 1905, boiler explosions had been regarded as either an inevitable
evil or “an act of God” (see Figs. 1.1 and 1.2). But this catastrophic accident
had the effect of making the people of Massachusetts see the necessity
and desirability of legislating rules and regulations for the
construction of steam boilers in order to secure their maximum safety.
After much debate and discussion, the state enacted the first legal code
of rules for the construction of steam boilers in 1907. In 1908, the state
of Ohio passed similar legislation, the Ohio Board of Boiler Rules adopting,
with a few changes, the rules of the Massachusetts Board.
Therefore, other states and cities in which explosions had taken
place began to realize that accidents could be prevented by the proper
design, construction, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels and
began to formulate rules and regulations for this purpose. As regulations
differed from state to state and often conflicted with one another,
manufacturers began to find it difficult to construct vessels for use in
one state that would be accepted in another. Because of this lack of uniformity,
both manufacturers and users made an appeal in 1911 to the
Council of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to correct the
situation. The Council answered the appeal by appointing a committee
“to formulate standard specifications for the construction of steam boilers
and other pressure vessels and for their care in service.”

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