During the eighteenth century, many textile manufacturing and finishing centres were developed in many places in Europe, leading to a new generation of skilled workers (colourists, bleachers and dyers).
Of course, this resulted in a need for an exchange of specialist knowledge and further training. As a consequence, in 1826 colourist associations sprang up in loose form, for example in Mulhouse and Alsace. The first and largest association, organized on a broad basis, was established in England in 1884 as the “Society of Dyers”. Since the beginning, it has been extremely active, promoting the textile chemistry science. Also in the context of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the textile production was high, particularly concentrated in the north-eastern region of Bohemia, with many cotton fabric printing factories in the Dvůr Králové nad Labem (Czech Republic). Therefore, it is clear that colourists from many European countries founded the first association of colour chemists in the European continent in 1908 in this location.
The “Verein der Chemiker-Coloristen” (VCC, “Chemists-Colorists Association”, 1908-1913) was established in Koniginhof on December 22th 1908, in the “Deutsches Haus” Hotel, where the local colourists met almost every day to discuss about their professional problems.
Immediately, the exchange of specialist knowledge and the development of friendly relations became profitable and branches were founded in Austria, Germany, Italy and Poland.
Afterwards, a member committee was set up, which organized a group of experienced colourists to prepare the proposal of the statute for a new association of colourist technicians. Their names were: Felix Richter, Ernst Adler, Ludwig Lichtenstein, Paul Zaeslé, Louis Paulus and Maxim Schwarz.
In June 1908, the draft of the statute was sent to Prague State Authority, which approved it in November of the same year . It was named Association of Colour Chemists, with its provisional seat in Königinhof.
As early as December 1st 1908, the Berlin magazine for the colour industry brought this announcement with the call for the recruitment of members. On December 22nd 1908, the constituent meeting was held in Königinhof. During the meeting, the first regular committee was elected: Felix Richter (President), Emil Lustig (Vice-President), Dr. Ludwig Lichtenstein (Managing Director), Dr. J. Klein (Treasurer). The members of the Management Board were: Ernst Adler, Dr. W.G. Clairmont, N. Pastuchof, Dr. Giovanni Tagliani and Dr. J. Zerner. The magazine of the colour industry was called “The Association of Arts”.
The first VCC general meeting took place in October 1909 in Dresden (Germany). At that time this Association had 173 members in many countries around the world and 80 of them attended the meeting. On that occasion, Dr. Karl Grossner was elected as new President and the participants heard five lectures during this scientific meeting which was then named the 1st Colouristic Congress.
In 1910 important events took place:
- The “Association des Chimistes de l’Industrie Textile” (ACIT) was formed in France, rapidly developing into a very large and active organization which also included Belgian colleagues;
- The “Associazione Italiana di Chimica Tessile e Coloristica” (AICTC) in Italy grew and developed into a flourishing and active association;
- The VCC association headquarters were moved to Vienna;
- The 2nd Congress in Frankfurt was attended by 120 members (compared to the 300 total members) under the direction of President Dr. W. G. Clairmont.
The name was changed into “Internationaler Verein der Chemiker-Coloristen” (IVCC, 1014-1948) in 1914 in order to demonstrate the strong desire for co-operation. It included six countries: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Holland, Hungary and Switzerland.
Unfortunately, the 1914-1918 First World War left deep wounds and the association could not be reorganized until 1921. In fact, after a 7-year break, the congresses were organized by IVCC from 1921 until 1939, yearly.
In the meantime, the demand for extensive co-operation on a European scale had grown to such an extent that, on the suggestion of Dr. Masera (AICTC, Italy), supported by both Chanoine Pinte (ACIT, French) and Dr. Lauterbach (IVCC, Germany), the “International Federation of Associations of Textile Chemists and Colourists” was formed during the Colourists Congress in Milan on May 14th 1930. The first members were Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany and Italy. The first President of the new Federation was Dr. G. Tagliani and first Managing Director was Prof. Dr. R. Haller.
The first IFATCC Congress took place in 1931 in co-operation with the ACIT (President: Mr. Chanoine Pinte) simultaneously with the 16th IVCC Congress (Paris, 1931),
Because of the world-wide economic reasons it was decided to organize further conferences of the Federation only after two years.
The IFATCC second congress took place in Stuttgart in 1936 chaired by Prof. Robert Haller, simultaneously with the IVCC conference.
During the 1939-1945 war period, the activities of the Federation ceased entirely.
Only thanks to the great efforts made by Prof. Haller, who had retained his role of IFATCC President, supported by E. Sack (President of ACIT), it was possible to restart the Federation activities. The first meeting of the Delegate Council after the war was in Basel on March 29th 1952. Delegates came from Austria, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Switzerland. The Society of Dyers and Colourists was represented by an observer.
IFATCC President, Prof. Dr. R. Haller, invited the Presidents of the Federation members to Basel in March 1952. The representatives of the six countries (G. Rivat, France; E. Elöd, Germany; L.A. Driessen, Holland; H. Perndanner, Austria; L. Sessa, Italy; H. Ris, Switzerland) expressed their general wish to renew the Federation. For this purpose, they discussed and updated the statute. The new statute of the Federation was accepted unanimously in Basel on January 23rd 1953. In that occasion Dr. Heinrich Ris was elected President, the first President after the Second World War. By this time the associations of the following countries belonged to the Federation: Austria (VOeC), France (ACIT), Germany (VTCC), Holland (NVTC), Italy (AICTC), Spain (AEQCT), Sweden (SFR), Switzerland (SVCC), UK (SDC).
In 1964 the “Asociaciòn Argentina de Quimicos Coloristas y Textiles”, which has since renounced membership, became an affiliate member. The same year, the Federation established scholarships to foster the international exchange of scientists from university and research institutes and lecturers from schools of textile engineering, engaged in work connected with textile or colour chemistry. Consequently, the statute was updated again. During the first ten years of its existence, the committee of the “Scholarship Fund for Textile Chemical Research”, which was established in 1964, was chaired by Prof. Heinrich Zollinger (SVCC). The chairmanship then passed to Prof. Walter Jenny (SVCC), and since 1981 their committee has been headed by Prof. Manfred Buhler (Federal Republic of Germany).
The “Asociaciòn Colombiana de Tecnicos de Acabados Textiles” (ACOLTEX) became an affiliate member in 1967.
The “Hungarian Society of Textile Technology and Science” was admitted as a full member in 1968.
In 1972, in order to extend the Federation activities, two new bodies were created in addition to the Delegate Council: the Management Committee (comprising the President, two vice Presidents, the Treasurer and the Secretary) and the Board, composed of the Management Committee with the Presidents of all full member associations. In the same year, in appreciation of his great services rendered to IFATCC during his 20 years’ activities as Secretary, Mr. Max Peter was appointed first Honorary Member of the Federation.
In 1975, on the initiative and under the leadership of Mr. P.G. Noble (SDC), a new commission came into being which devotes itself to training and diplomas in the areas of textile dyeing, textile chemistry and dyestuff chemistry. Most unfortunately, however, Mr. Noble died shortly after presiding over the first meeting of the commission in Paris. The work was continued by the new chairman, Dr. J.K. Skelly (SDC).
The “Asociaciòn Colombiana de Tecnicos de Acabados Textiles” (ACOLTEX) withdrew from IFATCC in 1978. On the other hand, there were three new admissions in these years:
- The “Textile Chemists Section” of the “Textile Chemical Association in Finland” (STTL) became a full member in 1975;
- The “American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists” (AATCC) joined the Federation in 1976 as a full member. Its status was changed into an affiliate member in 1978;
- The “Swiss Association of Dyeing Specialists” (SVF) was admitted to the Federation as an affiliate member in 1980.
In the same year, the IFATCC commission prepared a file which contained a description of the training programmes in all the Federation Member countries in its first part , and presented a table of equivalence of the diplomas granted by various higher institutions of learning in its second part. The chairmanship of this commission, which was composed of specialists from all countries, passed to Professor G. Di Modica (AICTC) in 1980.
On May 12th 1983, the Delegate Council passed an amendment to Article 12, which regulated the participation of observers at meetings of the Delegate Council.
In 2005, 2008 and 2010, three IFATCC Congresses were organized in Weimar (Germany, IFATCC President: Mr. W. Streit), Barcelona (Spain, IFATCC President: Prof. J.M. Canal) and Stresa (Italy, IFATCC President: Mr. A. Gigli), respectively.
The Swiss Association (SVTC) resigned from the IFATCC in 2012 because it was merged to a new association named SVTF. In the same year the IFATCC Secretary, Mr. Krayer, resigned.
Prof. Giuseppe Rosace (Italy) was elected new Secretary of IFATCC in 2013 during the IFATCC Congress in Budapest (Hungary) chaired by Prof. Andràs Vig as President.
Dr. Francois Litty (France) resigned after 18 years work as the IFATCC Treasurer in 2016. During the 24th Federation Congress (Pardubice, CK, 2016), Prof. Michael Rauch (Germany) was elected as the new IFATCC Treasurer.
During the Presidency of Dr. Jan Marek (Czech Republic) in 2017, the IFATCC statute was updated with the contemporary transfer of the headquarters from Basel (CH) to Milan (IT).