The Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with a series of events and activities that highlight the valve industry’s legacy and future.

“Valve manufacturing is an industry that dates back centuries, but the industrial age spurred its growth and importance and led to VMA’s formation. As a voice for this multi-billion industry, we are proud of our 75-year partnership that has helped keep this flagship industry growing and competitive,” said VMA President William Sandler, in a prepared statement. “We are using our anniversary to showcase our industry, which is the backbone for many others.”

VMA is marking its anniversary in several ways to capture and tell its important story, including by planning a gala during its Annual Meeting (Oct. 3-5) and inviting retired past chairmen and recipients of its Person-of-the-Year Award. During the conference, VMA will release new data to help quantify the industry’s economic footprint. In addition, VMA has developed a special section of its website, www.VMA.org, to capture the association’s history, a video tribute that features members talking about VMA and its relevance to the industry, as well as a commemorative program.

According to VMA, valve history provides insights into the evolution of modern society. The Romans—with their comparatively sophisticated water systems—are credited with evolving the technology and setting the course for the modern-day valve industry. Leonardo daVinci also played a role, designing canals, irrigation projects and other large hydraulic systems, which included valves. Another major milestone for the valve industry was the Industrial Revolution, started by the invention of the first industrial steam engine, which required valve technology to operate.

Several early associations were born to address issues facing the valve industry, including standardization. Among them were the National Association of Fittings Manufacturers and the Valve Institute—both founded in the early 1900s—that later merged in 1933, creating the Valve and Fittings Institute (VFI). As valves and actuators became increasingly specialized, they became viewed as products within the product and were manufactured separately. In response to this trend, 14 valve companies broke away from VFI in 1938 and formed VMA to better represent this growing and increasingly specialized industry.

VMA exclusively represents nearly 100 North American manufacturers of valves, actuators and controls, which account for about 80 percent of total industrial valve shipments out of U.S. and Canadian facilities, as well as suppliers to the industry and distributors/channel partners.