The History of IMTS

Highlights from IMTS 1978 - 1990

The 1980 show was marked by a high level of enthusiasm, symbolized by the very special ribbon prepared for the opening ceremony.

In 1978, the McCormick Place facility was expanded to include Donnelley Hall. The building (later to be known as McCormick Place West) had been donated to the city of Chicago by R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., a large printing firm that had constructed the building in 1946-47 to print and bind LIFE magazine. With this expansion, the entire machine tool show could be held at one location.

By 1980 the machine tool show had grown so large that it overflowed even the expanded McCormick Place facility and additional space had to be used in the Conrad Hilton Hotel. This blockbuster show, "broke virtually every industrial exposition record ever set," according to post show reports, and set the stage for continued expansion through the '80s.

In 1982 and 1984, further growth was made possible by use of the O'Hare International Trade and Exposition Center as an additional show site. Technical Conference sessions were added in 1982, providing visitors with an opportunity to supplement the valuable information already provided by exhibitors and exhibits.

McCormick Place North opened for the 1986 exposition, making IMTS 86 the first U.S.-based show to exceed one million net sq. ft. under roof. Unfortunately, because of construction delays, one floor of this new, modern exhibition facility was not ready for occupancy. IMTS 88 occupied all three halls of McCormick Place and saw the first appearance of the robot hand, which remained the symbol of the show through the '90s.

By 1990 the official name of the show was changed to the International Manufacturing Technology Show, reflecting the changing industry and the broader scope of exhibits. Other changes included the setting aside of an area as a Forming and Fabricating Pavilion, grouping these related exhibitors together; and participation by The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) as co-sponsors and managers of the expanded technology conference.