On 15 September 1904, delegates to the International Electrical Congress, being held in St. Louis, USA, adopted a report that included the following words:
“…steps should be taken to secure the co-operation of the technical societies of the world, by the appointment of a representative Commission to consider the question of the standardization of the nomenclature and ratings of electrical apparatus and machinery.”
As a result, the IEC was officially founded in June 1906, in London, England, where its Central Office was set up.
1st Technical Committees
By 1914 the IEC had formed four technical committees to deal with Nomenclature, Symbols, Rating of Electrical Machinery, and Prime Movers. The Commission had also issued a first list of terms and definitions covering electrical machinery and apparatus, a list of international letter symbols for quantities and signs for names of units, an international standard for resistance for copper, a list of definitions in connection with hydraulic turbines, and a number of definitions and recommendations relating to rotating machines and transformers.
The First World War interrupted IEC work, which resumed in 1919 and by 1923 the number of technical committees had increased to 10. IEC Council decided to create the Committee of Action “to assist in giving effect to the decisions of the Council, to second the efforts of the Central Office and to co-ordinate the work of the National Committees and of the Advisory Committees.”
In 1930 the IEC established the following electrical units:
- Hertz, for the unit of frequency
- Oersted for the unit of magnetic field strength
- Gauss for the unit of magnetic flux density
- Maxwell of the unit of magnetic flux
- Gilbert for the unit of magnetomotive force
- Var for designating the unit of reactive power
- Weber for the practical unit of magnetic flux
It was decided to extend the existing series of practical units into a comprehensive system of physical units, which became the “Giorgi system”, named after Giovanni Giorgi (1871-1950) – an Italian scientist and engineer. This system has been elaborated further and is now commonly known as the “Système international”, or SI for short.