The History of the International Conference on Lightning Protection
Research on contemporary lightning protection started at the beginning of last century leading to European standards: BS (now BS 6651) in Great Britain, ABB (now VDE 00185) in Germany, OVE in Austria, SEV in Switzerland, CEI in Italy, PN in Poland and NFPA and AIEEE in the United States of America.
Further developments of lightning protection systems were performed in two directions: one referring to power installations and the other relative to all other structures.
In 1921 the first International Conference on Great Electrical Grids (CIGRE) became the main forum for exchanging opinions on power lines protection and stations topics. Common international contributions on the protection of structures, other than power one, were developed much slower. The turning-point for the international cooperation was the year 1951 – thirty years after the first CIGRE event when an International Conference on Lightning Protection was promoted by a group of scientists from Austria (Prof. V. Fritsch and Mr W. Kostelecki), Germany (Prof. H.F. Schwenkhagen and Mr. P. Schnell) and Switzerland (Prof. K. Berger). During the meeting held in Bad Reichenhall Germany (1951), the promoters decided to regularly organise international meetings on lightning events and lightning protection of structures.
A Steering Committee of the Conference was appointed and later enlarged to representatives from other European countries like E. Kongstad (Denmark), J. Fourestier (France), R.H. Golde (United Kingdom), T.G. Brood and Quintus (The Netherlands), T. Horvath (Hungary), T. Riccio (Italy), J.L. Jakubowski (Poland), G. Dragan (Romania), D. Muller-Hillebrand and S. Lundquist (Sweden) and Z. Krulc (Yugoslavia).
German and French were accepted as the Conference official languages. The Conference was thus named Internationale Blitzschutzkonferenz (German) and Conference Internationale pour Protection Contre la Foudre (French).
As shown in Table 1, three subsequent Conferences took place in Bregenz Austria (1952), in Lugano Switzerland (1953) and in Merano Italy (1956). Some invited representatives progressively attended the meetings, as observers. Some of them joined the Steering Committee. At the fifth meeting in Vienna Austria (1958) seven countries were represented in the Committee. The overall figures (Countries and Delegates) also gradually increased.
For a long time the Conference was held without the support of a formal statute. The membership was free, without any contribution.
During the third conference it was decided that, in principle, the Conference meetings would be periodically organised every two years. From year to year, along with the number of Conference participants, the number of submitted papers also increased.