Developing standards for products began in the 1900s in the United States, driven by private industry. Safety and conformance were the focus of product standards. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the body that coordinates the voluntary standards development among the many specific industries. ANSI was founded in 1918 by the U.S. government and standards developing organizations.
ANSI represents the U.S. in the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is focused on trade barriers stemming from standards. NIST and ANSI work to bridge the private sector voluntary standardization and the government interests in a global economy. In the U.S. there are 600+ organizations that develop voluntary standards.
The U.S. Department of Defense has separate standards for products used in military practices. More information can be found at ASSIST-QuickSearch. Provides direct access to Defense and Federal specifications and standards available in the official DoD repository.