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The History Of Welding

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Welding is a method used to repair or create metal structures by joining individual pieces, using heat in a process referred to as “fusion.” In the past, the welding process only utilized open burning flames, but modern times have perfected the process through the use of an electric arc or, most recently, laser light.

Early History of Welding

Welding is an exciting and fun field of work with a very rich history. In fact, welding history goes as far back as 4,000 B.C. Welding originated from Egypt in an era known as the Bronze Age.

A factor leading to the evolution of early welding relates to the history of wars in ancient Egypt, when swords were used in combat. Ancient civilizations had to design the strongest swords to help them win their battles. Copper was the first welded metal, but eventually, it progressed to bronze, then silver, followed by gold, and finally iron. These metals were hammered down to mold various types of tools. That process remained unchanged until the dawn of the 19th century.

The Evolution of Welding

During the 19th century, there were some important breakthroughs in the welding industry. This era saw the introduction of the open flames process in welding. This process of using acetylene in the open flames facilitated the manufacturing and production of intricate metal tools. Acetylene was discovered in 1836 by Englishman Edmund Davy. Another important introduction in the welding establishment was the invention of a battery-operated tool capable of producing an arc between carbon electrodes.

Other Important Welding Discoveries

  • In 1881, Auguste De Meritens, a French scientist, fused lead plates; he accomplished this by using heat produced by an arc. In that same year two Russian scientists, Nikolai N. Benardos and Stalinislaus Olszewski, invented an electrode holder.
  • In 1890, carbon arc welding was introduced. Through this discovery, Russian N. G. Slavianoff used a similar principle to invent metal casting in molds.
  • In 1900, Strohmenger invented the usage of coated metal electrodes in welding. Seam welding was also introduced during this time, along with flash butt, spot, and projection welding.
  • In 1919, following the end of the first World War, the American Welding Society was born through the effort of Comfort Avery Adams.
  • By 1920, automatic welding was introduced by P. O. Nobel, an important discovery that helped integrate the welding process using arc voltage and bare electrode wires.
  • In 1930, stud welding was introduced by the New York Navy Yard, a discovery that was largely used in the construction industry and shipyards.
  • In 1940, 1950, and 1960, the introduction of seamless aluminum and magnesium welding, CO2 welding, Dualshield welding, Innershield, and Electroslag welding took place.
  • The friction welding process was developed in Russia, and laser welding was originally developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Become a Welder

Want to join the field and contribute your own expertise and discoveries? Find a welding school near you to get started. Many students finish their training in as few as 10 months. You can be set with a career that you love for the rest of your life. 

Further reading: Welding Career … Education, Training, Jobs and Salary

Study welding, HVAC, mechanics, and other trade school programs: trade school practice tests

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