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Past to Present

The first meeting to organize an association of paint and varnish manufacturers was held Sept. 11, 1887, at the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, N.Y. Delegates at the meeting agreed on an organizational plan and decided on the name National Paint, Oil and Varnish Association of the United States.

There were, however, several local and regional paint clubs in existence at that time. The first and oldest club established was the Paint and Oil Club of New England. Organized Feb. 23, 1884, the club is still thriving as the New England Coatings Association. Many of these local associations still exist and are active today.

In the decades following the organization of the National Paint, Oil and Varnish Association, manufacturers in the paint industry formed separate organizations and still retained membership in the national association. These separate organizations included the Paint Grinders Association of the U.S., which was organized in 1899. Subsequently, the name of that association was changed to the Paint Manufacturers Association of the U.S., in 1907.

The National Varnish Manufacturers Association was established Nov. 3, 1903, and on Oct. 11, 1926, the American Paint and Varnish Manufacturers Association was organized as a combination of the National Varnish Manufacturers and the Paint Manufacturers Associations.

Unification of the National Paint, Oil and Varnish Association and the American Paint and Varnish Manufacturers Association came on Nov. 1, 1933, at the annual meeting of the industry held in Chicago. At that time, the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association was founded. New conditions demonstrated the interdependence of the various factors of the industry in cooperating with the government through a single powerful organization of its own, with maximum prestige and benefit for both individual members and industry.

At their 84th annual meeting on Nov. 9, 1971, the members of the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association voted to change the association’s name to the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA). It was believed that this new name would broaden the scope of the organization to include all coatings and better represent the association’s dominant role in the industry’s progress.

In 2009, the National Paint and Coatings Association and the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies (FSCT) fully merged to become one organization, and in January 2010 became the American Coatings Association. The organization is committed to its combined history, advancing the paint and coatings industry through product stewardship, advocacy, science and technology, and essential business information.


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ACA offers valued benefits to technical professionals, educators, sales and marketing professionals, and consultants working in the paint and coatings industry. We also offer memberships for students who may be interested in learning more about the industry and retired professionals who have served the industry during their careers.

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Did You Know?

The United States exported $1.8 billion in paint and coatings products in 2010, up by 24 percent, or $343 million, from 2009.

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