IFToMM was founded in 1969 and today is active as a third generation of IFToMMists, who can be named as those working within the IFToMM community. Knowing the History of IFToMM and how we arrived at today’s modus operandi can give a greater awareness of community identity and significance.

IFToMM was founded as the International Federation for the Theory of Mechanisms and Machines in Zakopane, Poland on September 29, 1969 during the Second World Congress on TMM (Theory of Mechanisms and Machines). The main promoters of the IFToMM World Federation were Academician Ivan I. Artobolevski (USSR) and Prof. Erskine F.R. Crossley (USA), whose principal aim was to bypass the obstacles of the time of the Cold War in developing international collaboration in TMM science for the benefit of the world society. IFToMM started as a family of TMM scientists among whom we may identify the IFToMM founding fathers, who signed or contributed to the foundation act with the initial 13 Member Organizations, in the persons: Academician Ivan I. Artobolevski (USSR), Prof. Erskine F.R. Crossley (USA), Prof. Michael S. Konstantinov (Bulgaria), Dr. Werner Thomas (GFR), Prof. B.M. Belgaumkar (India), Prof. Kenneth H. Hunt (Australia), Prof. J. Oderfeld (Poland), Prof. Jack Phillips (Australia), Prof. George Rusanov (Bulgaria), Prof. Wolfgang Rössner (GDR), Prof. Zènò Terplàn (Hungary), Prof. Jammi S. Rao (India), Prof. Giovanni Bianchi (Italy), Prof. Adam Morecki (Poland), Nicolae I. Manolescu (Rumania), Leonard Maunder (UK), Douglas Muster (USA), Ilic Branisky (Yugoslavia).

The foundation of IFToMM was the result of an intense activity for stimulating and promoting international collaboration, more than had been done previously, and the process started in the late 1950s’, as documented by several letters that are stored in the IFToMM Archive.

A first World Congress was held in 1965 in Varna, Bulgaria during which the foundation of IFToMM was planned as later it was agreed during the Second World Congress on TMM in Zakopane, Poland. The Congress series was immediately recognized as the IFToMM World Congress and today in 2007 we are celebrating the 12th event with a participation of 48 Member Organizations.

The IFToMM community has grown continually over time and the TMM has evolved to encompass large engineering science, including even new disciplines. This led in the year 2000 to an update of the name of the IFToMM Federation as IFToMM International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science and a change of the name of TMM to MMS (Mechanism and Machine Science), in order to emphasize the modernity and broader mission of the IFToMM community.

IFToMM activity has grown in many aspects, as for example concerning the number of member organizations (from the 13 founder members to the current 48 members), the size and scale of conference events (with many other conferences, even on specific topics, at national and international levels, in addition to the MMS World Congress), and the number and focus of technical committees working on specific discipline areas of MMS (currently 13, with 2 more just established).

The IFToMM community evolved in character from that of a family of a few beginners and founders into a scientific worldwide community through the following generations:

  • 1950’s –’79 First generation: founding fathers and their friendly colleagues up to the 4-th IFToMM World Congress in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1975 with Prof Maunder as Congress Chair
  • 1980-95 Second Generation: students and people educated by founding fathers and their friendly colleagues; up to the 9-th World Congress in Milan in 1995 with Prof Rovetta as Congress Chair
  • 1996-today Third Generation: educated people in the frame of IFToMM and within IFToMM activity with 48 organizations as IFToMM members.

IFToMM officers (who are the Chairs of IFToMM Member Organizations, the Chairs of Permanent Commissions and Technical Committees, and the members of the Executive Council) have contributed and still contribute as leaders to the mission of IFToMM, which is stated in the 1-st article of the Constitution as ‘The mission of IFToMM is the promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science’. A complete list of IFToMM officers over time is available in the Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on History of Machines and Mechanisms HMM2004 that has been published by Kluwer.

In particular, Presidents and Secretaries General have had significant roles in guiding the growth and success of IFToMM. Their personalities are also representative of the IFToMM community in terms of reputation and visibility worldwide. The Presidents were Ivan I. Artobolevskii (USSR), Leonard Maunder (United Kingdom), Bernard Roth (USA), Giovanni Bianchi (Italy), Adam Morecki (Poland), Jorge Angeles (Canada), Kenneth J. Waldron (USA). The Secretaries General were M.S. Konstantinov (Bulgaria), Emil Stanchev (Bulgaria), Adam Morecki (Poland), Adam Morecki (Poland), Elizabeth Filemon (Hungary), L. Pust (CSSR), Tatu Leinonen (Finland).

More information on IFToMM and its activity can be found in the website: www.iftomm.net.