Mechanism and Machine Science is concerned with the theory and practice of the geometry, motion, dynamics and control of:

  • machines
  • mechanisms
  • and elements and systems thereof,

together with their application in industry and other contexts, e.g. in biomechanics and the environment. Related processes, such as the conversion and transfer of energy and information, also pertain to this field.

The first World Congress on Mechanisms and Machines was held in September 1965 in Varna, Bulgaria. During that Congress the Bulgarian delegation proposed the founding of an International Federation for the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms. This idea was warmly welcomed by all the delegations, and an International Coordinating Committee for Machines and Mechanisms was created with representatives of twenty countries.

As a result of the four years of work of this Committee, an Inaugural Assembly was held on  September 27th, 1969 in Zakopane, Poland, during the Second World Congress for [sic] the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms. At this meeting the International Federation for the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms was legally founded, and its Constitution formally adopted.

The following countries were represented at the Inaugural Assembly: Australia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, UK, USA, USSR, and Yugoslavia. To date (2011), IFToMM has forty‐six Member Organizations from all over the world; thirteen World Congresses in Mechanism and Machine Sciences have been held (the 13th World Congress was held in Guanajuato, Mexico, June 19–25, 2011).

In the 1996-1999 period, a comprehensive review of the role of IFToMM in light of the technological developments of  information technology was conducted. This review is still in progress, but has already led to a few recommendations reached through a quite inclusive consultation process. One recommendation has concerned the name of the Federation. An overwhelming majority recommended the adoption of IFToMM, acronym of the original name of the Federation, as the name itself, if followed by a description whenever needed. Since 2000, the name of the Federation is IFToMM, the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science.