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History of IEEE – 135 Years and going strong!

History of IEEE - Vancouver 2019I was at the IEEE PCIC Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia last week where I had the privilege of being part of the first presentation with three great colleagues (actually thee great friends) The topic was the new IEEE 1584 standard.

During the presentation while I was looking out into the 1000 plus faces, it occurred to me, “I wonder how many people know how IEEE began?”  So, in case that very important question has been keeping you up at night, here is the short history from IEEE’s website.

History of IEEE

In the spring of 1884, a small group of individuals in the electrical professions met in New York, USA. They formed a new organization to support professionals in their nascent field and to aid them in their efforts to apply innovation for the betterment of humanity—the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, or AIEE for short. That October, the AIEE held its first technical meeting in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Many early leaders, such as founding President Norvin Green of Western Union, came from telegraphy.

Others, such as Thomas Edison, came from power, while Alexander Graham Bell represented the telephone industry. Electric power spread rapidly, enhanced by innovations such as AC induction motors, long-distance AC transmission, and larger power plants. Companies such as AEG, General Electric, Siemens & Halske, and Westinghouse underwrote its commercialization. The AIEE became increasingly focused on electrical power and its ability to change people’s lives through the unprecedented products and services it could deliver. There was a secondary focus on wired communication, both the telegraph and the telephone. Through technical meetings, publications, and promotion of standards, the AIEE led the growth of the electrical engineering profession, while through local sections and student branches, it brought its benefits to engineers in widespread places.

Through the help of leadership from the two societies, and with the applications of its members’ innovations to industry, electricity wove its way more deeply into every corner of life, through television, radar, transistors, and computers. Increasingly, the interests of the societies overlapped.

Membership in both societies grew, but beginning in the 1940s, the IRE grew faster and in 1957 became the larger group. On 1 January 1963, the AIEE and the IRE merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE. At its formation, IEEE had 150,000 members, 140,000 of whom resided in the United States.

Today IEEE has more than 420,000 members from over 160 countries and continues to grow.  For more information about IEEE, visit:

Now that you know this important information, I hope you sleep better tonight!