Steam Boilers are of very ancient origin. The introduction of famous James Watt's improved steam engine from 1769 to 1775 onwards resulted in great improvement in steam plants.
In the year 1863, a very serious boiler explosion occurred in Calcutta which caused the loss of several lives. As a result of this explosion, the necessity of inspection of boilers was widely recognised and a bill was introduced in the Bengal Council to provide for the inspection of steam boilers. In the year 1864, the Bengal Act VI of 1864 was passed which provided for the inspection of steam boilers and prime movers in the town and suburbs of Calcutta. This is the beginning of boiler legislation in India.
Following the Bengal Act of 1864, each of the other provinces framed legislation. At that time there were seven different Acts and seven different sets of rules and regulations. Those Acts and rules & regulations were inconsistent with one another. As the differences in the Acts and rules and regulations among the various provinces in India gave rise to many difficulties and hampered the development of industries, the Central Government appointed a committee called "The Boiler Law Committee" in 1920 to examine and report on the general question of boiler legislation in India.
The Boiler Laws Committee, 1920-21, the first to review the boiler laws on a national scale reported in March, 1921. The report criticized the differences in the Acts, rules and regulations. The report also pointed out that in the inspection of boilers the personal element was a weighty factor, and the difference in regulations resulted in what was termed as "provincial jealousy". The report stressed that all provinces should be subject to the same regulations and work done in one province should be accepted as correct in another province. The Committee recommended that regulations to cover the standard conditions for material, design and construction of boilers should be framed by Government of India and make applicable to all the provinces. The report also pointed out that regulations were entirely of technical nature and there was no reason for which these regulations would be affected by local conditions. The Committee prepared a draft Act on the lines of which, the basic All-India Act was passed in 1923. The Boiler Laws Committee also prepared a uniform set of technical regulations and a model set of administrative rules. A sharp distinction was drawn between the regulations and the rules. The regulations referred entirely to technical matters where as the rules referred to questions concerning the administration of the Act. Indian Boiler act, 1923 provides for the safety of life and property of persons from the danger of explosion of boilers.
The Government of India Act, 1935 assigned the subject 'Boilers' to the concurrent field. The provision for constituting Central Boilers Board having the authority to make regulations consistent with the Act was made in the Indian Boilers (Amendment) Act, 1937. A Board called the Central Boilers Board was accordingly constituted in the year 1937.
The Central Boilers Board in exercise of the powers conferred under section 28 of the said Act, formulated regulations on boilers. The current version of these regulations is known as the Indian Boiler Regulations, 1950 with amendments up to 2007.
Consequent upon bifurcation from Bengal Boilers Inspectorate in the Year 1935, the Governor-in-Council created Assam Boiler Inspectorate and it started functioning at Shillong, Assam under the able leadership of Mr. S.S.Nickles.