In 1920, a group of men in Chicago felt the need for an organization where they could meet and discuss common problems relating to paint and varnish products. John R. MacGregor was selected as the most suitable person to make initial contacts among the local industry people. As a result of his efforts, a meeting was held on December 17, 1920, ant the Hamilton Club in Chicago, which saw the founding of the Paint and Varnish Superintendents' Club of Chicago. This new club, which prospered and grew from the outset, subsequently became known as the Chicago Society for Paint Technology. The Society continued to flourish and in 1973, in keeping with the modern role of the industry, the name was again changed to the Chicago Society for Coatings Technology.
Today, the Chicago Society is among the two largest of the 26 societies that are affiliated with the Federation throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Among those present at the founding were John R. MacGregor, Ralph Darner, Truman Dahlberg, George Sutherland, J.D. Barker, Robert J. Knox, L.E. Morgan, Paul D. Buckminster (Federation President -- 1928-29), Charles Seitz, Fred Thoyer, Roy Ayers, L.B. Logan, O. McG. Howard, Henry Wheeler, Gay R. Harrington, Clark Bennet, Otto Wold, Jack Shilvock, William Fenton, Bill Ware, and W.H. MacKenzie. Ralph Darner was elected President, Truman Dahlberg as Secretary, and O. McG. Howard as Publicity Chairman.
The official gavel was presented to the Chicago Society in 1938 by Fred L. Brooke. In 1949 the gavel box was a gift from Emory F. Schneider. The name of each president is engraved on a plate on the gavel box. In 1949, The Nuodex Company established the precedent of presenting a gavel as a symbol of office to be retained by each President.
Past President's Night, when the past presidents are entertained as guests of the Society, came into being in 1937, at the suggestion of Thomas E. O'Connor. This night eventually evolved into the annual gala affair honoring the recipient(s) of the Outstanding Service Award (1955), and the Ladies (1958). The first program listing of the officers, the past presidents, and awards was issued in 1955.
Changes in the By-Laws in 1957, terminated firm memberships in favor of individual memberships (1965 nationally). Locally, all interested persons such as raw material suppliers (formerly not qualified for membership) were invited to become associate members in 1967.
The Executive Committee was expanded in 1959 to include the Alternate Federation Council Representative (an elective office). The June meeting was eliminated at the same time.
A change in the By-Laws in 1971 affected the operational year of the Chicago Society for Coatings Technology. The old fiscal year of November 1st to October 31st was changed to May 1st to April 30th, and finally to July 1 to June 30.
Starting in 1978, the By-Laws were amended to include two Executive Board associate members, who will serve for a two year term.
The initial dues for active members of the Chicago Society for Coatings Technology were $5 ($3 of which was sent to the Federation), until 1957 when the dues were changed to $10. The dues increased to $15 in 19968. In 1977 dues were again increased to $25 then to $30 beginning with the 1980-81 season.
Education was and is the hallmark of the Chicago Society and the Federation. Through the 1980s and 1990s and into the 2000s the Society has continued to produce programming of an exceptional quality. Beginning in the 1960s, a variety of cooperative programs were established with local colleges and universities that produced certificates and degrees in coatings sciences. It was recognized in the early 1950s that a joint effort in education between the Society and the Association had far greater strength than either alone, hence the Joint Education Committee. this strength is still evident after 45 years of cooperation and will be even more viable in the future. Throughout the years, various lecture series and seminars have been produced as the needs dictated. Subject matter included Management Development, Color Science, Production Technology, as well as Coatings Science. SYMCO (SYMposium for COatings) has been an award winning example of this effort that we expect to be active well into the next century. In the 1960s, a lecture series was outlined by N.D.S.U. and given under the auspices of Roosevelt University. Funds generated by this and other education activities since that time have supported scholarships and grants in aid for students within and from outside of the coatings industry.
The Associate Class Membership, that was available in Chicago in the 1950s, was adopted by the Federation in 1967 and resulted in considerable increase in total membership. This Associate Class of Members has added strength to the Society, it's programs and activities and will be even more important in the future.
—Warren C. Ashley, Clifford Schwahn, and Victor M. Willis