When Electricians talk about "The Code" they are most always talking about the National Electrical Code. There are others, but this is the most widely referenced. The National Electrical Code (NEC) is the product, and responsibility of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and has been for almost 100 years. It's "open, consensus-based process" ensures that each new code requirement or revision has a justifiable concern (for public safety) and reflects current knowledge and technologies. From it's simple, generalized beginnings, "the Code" has grown to more than 1000 pages and is the Labor of roughly 350 volunteer members and alternates and numerous concerned contributors.
The origin of the NFPA can be traced back to Boston, 1895, when "a small group of concerned professionals" met to address the problem of inconsistencies in the design and installation of Fire Sprinkler Systems. The NFPA was brought into existence the following year (1896). According to it's original articles: "Membership shall consist of Stock Fire Insurance Organizations, and representatives of such organizations, having charge of the improvement and inspection of risks." It wasn't until 1904 that the Articles were amended to allow non-insurance related individuals as members. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) was among the first "outside" organizations to join as an active member. Today over 6,000 volunteers serving on 200 technical committees administer over 300 different NFPA codes and standards. The organization has over 65,000 members in 70 countries and it's Codes and Standards are among the most widely referenced in the world today.