1878 to 1920
The Institut für Thermische Strömungsmaschinen und Maschinenlaboratorium (ITSM, Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery and Machinery Laboratory) was founded on the basis of the work of Carl von Bach who was appointed professor for boilers, steam engines and machine components at the Polytechnikum Stuttgart in 1878. A few years later, in 1900, the Polytechnikum Stuttgart became a technical college. Carl von Bach was the first professor who introduced practical exercises with machines in addition to the lectures in technical subjects. For this purpose he started in 1880 with the construction of a machine laboratory in Stuttgart-Berg, where in 1886 the first regular practical courses could take place. In 1897 Bach suceeded in obtaining resources for building a new machine laboratory in Stuttgart-Berg, which was completed in 1900. The door lintel of the former machinery laboratory is still exposed in front of the present institute building and was brought there after the abridgement of the former machinery laboratory in 1967. Its inscript is ''Ingenieur-Laboratorium der K. Techn. Hochschule (engineer laboratory of the royal technical college)''.
1920 to 1948
At the beginning of the twenties, Professor Bantlin was heading ITSM, followed by August Wewerka in 1929. With the advent and development of steam turbines at that time, the institute subsequently focused on this particular sector of research and teaching of this subject was incorporated in the curriculum. During the years 1934 to 1937, Ferdinand Porsche commissioned the machinery laboratory with the investigation of different variants of the later Volkswagen engine.
1948 to 1970
In 1948 Ulrich Senger, formerly chief engineer and head of production for steam turbines at BBC, was appointed to the chair of steam engines and steam power plants and later on took over the chair of turbo aircraft eninges in 1954 aswell. His term of office was perdominantly marked by the expansion of the research activities to the fields of gas turbines, turbochargers and turbo aircraft engines which is particularly reflected in the new institute name ''Institut für Turboflugtriebwerke, Wärmeströmungsmaschinen und Maschinenlaboratorium (Institute of Turbo Aircraft Engines, Heatfluxmachinery and Machinery Laboratory)''. In 1958 it was decided to establish a new campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. At that time, Ulrich Senger initiated the construction of the new building of the institute and of the altitude test facility on the campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. Towards the end of the sixties, the chair of turbo aircraft engines as well as the altitude test facility have been transferred to the Faculty of Aviation and Aerospace Engineering.
1970 to 1986
During the years 1970 to 1986, Professor Jakob Wachter, formerly head of the experimental departmant for steam and gas turbines at KWU Mülheim (Siemens), directed the institute which was now named ''Institut für Thermische Strömungsmaschinen und Maschinenlaboratorium (Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery and Machinery Laboratory)''. In his term of office, two test rigs for steam turbines, additional test rigs for turbochargers, fans and other turbomachinery components as well as the corresponding complete equipment with computer controlled operation, data acquisition and processing were built. Work on the numerical investigation of fluid flow and vibration in turbomachinery was also started at the time.
1986 until today
After the death of Jakob Wachter in 1986, his deputy Dr. Joachim Messner directed the institute until 1989. During the following years, Heinz Stetter was heading the institute until the moment of his disease in 2000. From 2003 until 2011, the institute was directed by Michael Casey. In August 2013, Damian Vogt became new head of the institute and of the chair, which is from now on named ''Thermische Turbomachinen (Thermal Turbomachinery)''.