AHAM's history began in 1915, when 60 clothes washer manufacturers formed the American Washing Machine Manufacturer' Association (AWMMA). Separately, in the mid- twenties manufacturers of other home appliances formed the Consumer Products Section of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
In 1938, with an increased consumer acceptance of ironers, AWMMA became the American Washer and Ironer Manufacturers Association. The organization became the American Home Laundry Manufacturers' Association (AHLMA) in 1954 and grew to include the majority of manufacturers in the laundry equipment industry. AHLMA formed a statistics department, launched an educational conference and promotional programs and developed voluntary standard test methods for measuring appliance performance characteristics.
In 1967, companies with mutual membership in both AHLMA and NEMA's Consumer Products Division merged into a new trade association, AHAM, to bring together manufacturers with like technical, manufacturing, and marketing characteristics and set them apart from other (dissimilar) businesses.
In 1976, the Chicago-based association added a Washington office to more closely monitor federal legislative and regulatory issues and represent the views of the appliance industry before government. In 1999, AHAM relocated its headquarters to Washington, D.C. to gain better proximity to the federal government and other external audiences with interest in the industry.
In 2003, the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association (VCMA) became a part of AHAM. As a result of the merger, the VCMA was assimilated into AHAMís Floor Care Division which has been operating since January 2003. This step followed increased interest shown over several years preceding the merger by VCMA members in the services offered by AHAM.
In July 2012, responding to the desire of appliance manufacturing companies to benefit from fuller integration of industry representation in Canada and the United States, AHAM opened an office in Canada, broadening its membership to include appliance manufacturers in Canada, offering a single, dedicated appliance industry association in both countries.