The History of FM Approvals

Factory Mutual Laboratories, also called FM Approvals, is an international company that offers third-party testing and certification services. FM Approvals tests products and services that are designed to decrease loss within commercial and industrial buildings in the event something unexpected occurs, such as a fire or flood. Some of the products that they test and offer approvals and certifications on includes firestop products, flood mitigation products, sprinkler and sprinkler system components and extinguishing systems. When you see a product that is FM approved, you know that it meets their rigorous testing process. Here is more about the history of Factory Mutual Laboratories and FM Approvals. 


In 1886, Factory Mutual Laboratories, known as FM Approvals today, was founded by John R. Freeman. During this time period, Mr. Freeman began to experiment with hydraulics and how they related to fire protection. Not only was this the beginning of FM Approvals, but this was also the first permanent laboratory in the United States, and possibly within the world, that was designed to test fire-protection items. 


In 1892, Mr. Freeman began to test fire sprinkler systems. The tests that he conducted during this time helped to determine what pipe sizes were needed to ensure the sprinklers could provide enough water to put out a fire. The results of his testing to this day are still what is used for sprinkler system hydraulic calculations. 


In 1897, Factory Mutual Laboratories published a guide called Approved Electrical Fittings. This was the first guide that listed products that the company had approved. This same publication has since evolved and turned into what is known as the Approval Guide, a guide that has over 60,000 products that are approved by FM Approvals. 


In 1916, Factory Mutual Laboratories began fire testing. In 1922, the company moved to a large fire testing facility that allowed them to test how effective fire extinguishing agents were, as well as determine what dusts and vapors may be flammable and non-flammable. 


In 1946, Factory Mutual Laboratories is able to offer fire extinguisher testing. In 1947, they constructed the first full-scale facility designed specifically for fire testing. This allowed them to test and research fire-based products on a much larger scale than they had been able to in the past. 


During this time period, Factory Mutual Laboratories was expanded what it could test by opening up different testing laboratories. In 1951, a hydraulics laboratory was built. In 1954, a laboratory that conducted roof assembly tests was constructed.


In 1967, the Factory Mutual Test Center, which is now known as the FM Global Research Campus, opened. This was a full-scale fire testing facility. The tests conducted in this facility lead to many of the fire methods that are used today to decrease loss caused by fire. 

1989 to Today

In 1989, Factory Mutual Laboratories became known as FM Approvals. Since then, the company has been busy developing new products and testing existing products, to help decrease loss due to fires, floods and other unexpected events. In 2005, the company went global, opening offices in Beijing, China and Windsor, UK. To this day, the company is still testing and developing new technologies and expanding their reach. 

Here at Green Span Profiles, our insulated metal panels for the wall and roof have FM approvals. If you are looking for metal insulated panels for a construction project you are completing, we offer the products you are looking for. Visit our website today to learn more about the products we offer, as well as their benefits. 

Topics: Insulated Metal Panels