The IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology)
The IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers)
In the United Kingdom, the Institution of Civil Engineers was founded in 1818 and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847. However, by 1870, technical employees of the rapidly expanding British telegraph companies felt that their profession-- owing to their knowledge of electricity-- was not served by these other learned societies. As a result, in 1871, Major Frank Bolton, Charles William Siemens and other notable "electricians" formed the Society of Telegraph Engineers (STE).
The early focus of the STE was on telegraphy. However, this was a time of a great expansion of the use of electricity-- particularly into lighting and traction-- and other practitioners applied for membership. It was decided to broaden the scope of the STE to specifically include electrical science, since this was a concern of every telegraph engineer and was not already represented by other organizations. This led to further growth of the STE, and in 1880 it was renamed The Society of Telegraph Engineers and of Electricians. The profession and technology of electricity continued to evolve, in step with this organization that continued to grow in membership, prominence and importance.
Finally, on 10 November 1877 the name was changed again, to the Institution of Electrical Engineers. This is the name that persisted for 118 years. Over time, the IEE merged with The Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers (IERE) and the Institution of Production Engineers (IProdE, later the IMfgE), analogous to AIEE's merger with the IRE to form IEEE, but it is only with the latest merger with IIE that IEE finally gave up its venerable identity.
For more information on the history of IEE, readers are invited to visit the site of the IET Library & Archives (www.iee.org/theiee/research/libsvc/).