SME Logo


About SME


 SME History Header

A rich history of supporting manufacturing.
Continued contributions to the future of the industry.

SME was created as a membership organization, but has grown beyond that to serve the manufacturing industry even more broadly with events, workforce development and media products.

   1930s        1940s        1950s        1960s        1970s        1980s        1990s        2000s        2010s                           


HonoraryAmerican Society of Tool Engineers is born

Amid the Great Depression, the American Society of Tool Engineers is founded by 33 tool engineers in Detroit on March 31, 1932. Joseph A. Siegel serves as the Society’s first president.


First Female MemberFirst female becomes a member

In 1936, the Society receives its first female member, Margaret Irene Cecil, who served as secretary of the first student chapter at the Detroit College of Applied Science.

First ToolshowFirst tool show held

ASTE holds its first tool show – the ASTE Machine Tool and Progressive Exhibition – at Convention Hall in Detroit in 1938.


First Technical BookFirst technical book published

“The Tool Engineers Handbook” is the first book published by the Society in 1948; by 1955, more than 65,000 copies of the book were sold. In 1976, it transitioned to the all-encompassing “Tool and Manufacturing Engineering Handbook.”


Honor AwardsSociety establishes honor awards

The SME International Honor Awards were established in 1954. On March 14, 1955, in Los Angeles, the awards were presented to the first set of honorees at the Society’s Annual Meeting. Then and now, these awards recognize individuals for their manufacturing career achievements in and service to the Society.


Western ShowFirst Western Metal and Tool Exposition Conference is held

March 16-20, 1964, in Los Angeles, the first Western Metal and Tool Exposition and Conference is held. There were more than 25,000 attendees at the conference.



Society of Manufacturing EngineersSociety changes its name

Effective September 4, 1969, the American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers (1960-69) legally became known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.





CertificationSME launches new certification program

In January 1972, the SME Board of Directors approved in initiation of a new certification. At the time, over 1,500 manufacturing engineers were approved and certified as certified manufacturing engineers (CMfgE).

Manufacturing EngineeringManufacturing Engineering® magazine makes its debut

In January 1976, Manufacturing Engineering magazine made its official debut. The magazine was previously published under the following titles: “ASTE Journal” (1932-35), “The Tool Engineer” (1936-60), “The Tool and Manufacturing Engineer” (1961-69) and “Manufacturing Engineering and Management” (1970-75).

Foundation IntroducedSME creates education foundation

In April 1979, the SME Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation was formed to act as a catalyst in providing financial and technical support to a broad range of educational institutions. It’s now known as the SME Education Foundation.


FABTECHFABTECH International introduced

FABTECH International, a new conference and expo for the metal fabrication industry, makes its debut Feb. 14, 1981, in Cleveland with 161 exhibitors. SME and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association were FABTECH’s original co-sponsors.

FellowsCharter class of SME Fellows inducted

The charter class of SME Fellows were inducted on May 19, 1986. The 97 new fellows are a distinguished group made up of all previous International Honor Award recipients.


RP&M ConferenceRP&M Conference & Exposition unveiled

In 1990, this three-day conference and trade show was designed to bring together all rapid prototyping vendors, suppliers, service bureaus and end-users under one roof to provide advanced product development solutions for groundbreaking technology. Event is now known as RAPID Conference & Exposition focusing on 3D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing.


SME CanadaSME’s Canadian office is formed

SME acquires the Reed Exhibitions’ Industrial Group of Trade Shows on January 19, 2007, forming its Canadian office. Included in the transaction are the Montreal Plant Maintenance & Design Engineering Show, Western Manufacturing Technology Show, Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show, Advanced Manufacturing Expo, Montreal Manufacturing Technology Show, Southwestern Ontario Industrial Show and Canadian Manufacturing Week.


ToolingU-SMESME acquires Tooling U to expand training outreach

On October 14, 2010, SME attained Tooling University LLC. Following the acquisition, Tooling University became Tooling U-SME. It continues its operations in Cleveland.

PRIMESME Education Foundation prepares for the future

On Oct. 24, 2011, the Foundation established its Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME®) program. PRIME provides a comprehensive, community-based approach to manufacturing education with a strong partnerships among organizations, businesses and exemplary schools.

SMENew brand repositions SME as all things manufacturing

On June 3, 2013, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers discontinued the use of its full, legal name and became known solely as SME. This organizational shift connects SME to an even wider group of people in manufacturing, as well as allows the continuation of addressing critical needs, such as the shortage of engineers, technologists and technicians already impacting most manufacturing industries today, and preparing the current and next-generation workforce for the advanced technologies of tomorrow.