Friday, October 9, 2015

The A - Z of History of Welding (Part 1)

This complete history of welding will sure help you track developments in welding and reason why welding is super important today.

See also:
The A - Z of History of Welding (Part 2)

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Welding has evolved over centuries to joint things and glue the modern industry together. Below we will be going to ride the time machine and track developments that have made welding so important these days with a thorough look into milestone and pioneers of welding processes.

For those who are interested in:
What is welding?

The fundamental process of welding one material or more together has been around for centuries. But it isn’t until the turn of 20th century that we saw the modern welding techniques are used.

Those techniques mainly result from the discovery and application of electricity that enabled welding to be done far more quickly and efficiently than it had been previously done.

The industrial revolution propelled demand though, it wasn’t until the outbreak of World War I and II in 1914 and 1939 that really saw welding prosper. The high demand on manufacturing and repair rose dramatically. Welding techniques and process also developed during that time because ships, vehicles, armaments and such general construction as bridges, advanced and larger scaffold structures were necessarily produced quickly and in numerous differing environments.

In case you want to have a look at:
Know Those Interesting Facts about Welding to Master Your Welding Knowledge

To seize welding properly, it’s significant to look at where it started and how welding became one of the most significant developments in the construction and engineering history.

3000 BC

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Forging was used most widely in the early Bronze Age, mainly in producing armour and weaponry. Along with the demand for more qualified weapons and armour, the basic forging process has been spread pretty quickly, from the hoards in Northern Europe to advanced civilizations of Egypt.

It’s here that solid state welding made its first appearance. The heat of charcoal fires was high enough to melt often-used metals of that time (ex. Bronze, etc.), and materials were forged together.

1500 BC

People didn’t have to wait for another 1,500 years or so for welding to start evolving. More complex metal compounds discovered – for example, Mercury was synonymous to that the forgers or welders at that time can really start controlling the heat flow and practicing with how different metals reacted to processes.
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Discovery of such more complex metal compounds as Mercury meant development of welding techniques that time.
This step-up, though simple, induced a hub of techniques that allowed more qualified and intricate products to be made – for instance, items for rulers monarchs, high ranking officers. As you could imagine, the more complicated the design, the higher demand on the process, and as regards, this helped speed up welding’s evolution.

For those who are interested in:
Stunning Examples of Beautiful Welding Art 

1 AD

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More types of welding invented resulted from discovery of more metal such as lead.
By the turn of new Millennium, more metals had been discovered (ex. Lead, etc.), and as a result, more types of welding had been invented – for example, forge welding and pressure welding.

The advancement in process had resulted in larger structures and items built. Welding evolution, that time, took giant strides in which there are high demand for welding. The greater demand for welding, the more opportunities for someone to take it to the next level.

400-500 AD

Within 400 years, structures in England, Italy and Northern Europe were being developed and structures in India were starting to draw people’s attention. The Iron Pillar of Delhi with 5-6 tons heavy and over 7 metres (23 feet) high was created by blacksmiths.

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The Iron Pillar of Delhi 
Within the next 1000 years, the Middle Ages witnessed pretty little advancement in the welding process. That was because the peak of forging capabilities had been attained and blacksmith’s were tied onto the heating process and metals available. Though such metals as Zinc were discovered this time, they are unfortunately insufficient to make any breakthrough.

Literature was more slowly spread in the Middle Ages (also, the Dark Ages). It wasn’t until later in the late 18th century that the age of welding discovery became really strong once again, enjoying eureka moments.


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International travel and exploration by the late 1700s came with new and purer forms of metals discovered. Nickel was discovered in its purest form ever by German miners at the beginning of the decade, and 2 years later in 1753 across the Atlantic, Platinum had been discovered in South America.


The next eureka moment in the history of welding was in 1774 with ‘O’ discovery (also, Oxygen). While the 1700s had been the time of exploration to far corners of the globe in search for new metals and purer forms of metals already employed in welding, little was done to evolving, or comprehending the heat regulation in the process of welding. The discovery of ‘O’ made a complete change and 2 years later after its discovery, oxides were being produced.

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Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier discovered oxygen cutting and the connection between fusion and detachment with the introduction of oxides to metals.
In 1776, Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier – a French Chemist significantly helped with the understanding of combustion. He developed many defining principles in chemistry, but the most relevant one here was the discovery of oxygen cutting and the collaboration between fusion and detachment with the introduction of oxides to metals.


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By 1808, numerous new metals had been discovered, many of which are critical to the role of the welding types we see nowadays, including Tungsten discovered in 1783, Zirconium in 1789, Titanium in 1791. Magnesium also joined the list of new metals that can be welded in 1808.

In 1827, Friederich Wöhler proved that Aluminum existed, adding this metal to the list of new metals. Combined with the advancement in the comprehension of fuels and types of energy applied in welding process, especially the discovery of Oxygen in 1774, new highs in temperature were attained.

For those who are interested in:
How can I Weld Aluminum Without a Welder?
How to Mig Weld Aluminium Using Spool Gun


The discovery of electricity revolutionized the way industry was run and played an essential role in people’s domestic lives.

The connection between magnetism and electricity was discovered by Hans Christian Oersted - a Danish physicist and chemist in the 1820’s. It was this breakthrough that enables electricity to be utilized and its power to be realized and controlled by scientists. In 1831, Michael Faraday – a British born inventor, devised the electric dynamo that produced electricity. This was followed by a decade of discovery.
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Michael Faraday's electric dynamo


While the previous decade may have been featured by advancements made in electricity and the control of this exciting energy source, 1830s-1840s were best known for blowpipes - another piece of apparatus that took welding to the next level. The intense heat generated by the blowpipe allowed welding metals with higher melting points – for example, Platinum.

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In 1835, Sainte Claire Deville – a French inventor, devised a highly effective blowpipe that combined Oxygen and Hydrogen. In 1838, rubber was used in the blowpipe process. Its potential as a material that can be strengthened made it the best material to be applied for welding gases.

Later that year, patent was issued to Eugene Desbassayrs de Richemont for fusion welding. What makes fusion welding different from other forms of welding is that it indicates the materials in questions aren’t in solid state but in a liquid state.


The next eureka moment was in 1846. You may be pleased to know that this discovery didn’t take place in the lab. James Nasmyth while working for the British navy discovered that if welders prepared weld surfaces with a slightly convex surface, the metal swarf and flux are squeezed out of the joint. This would produce a much stronger joint.


In 1856, James Joule from England discovered the welding process that heating a material using electricity and internal resistant can also create an effective weld. The resistance welding was later perfected by Elihu Thomson. His techniques would advance to what later was known as incandescent welding (electric welding by the incandescent method).

A hub of useful information for those it concerns:
Most common defects of welding and best preventions
Post Welding Operations to Ensure Productivity


Acetylene was discovered in 1860s by Pierre Eugène Marcellin Berthelot – a French chemist and politician. This chemical compound is widely used in the welding industry today due to its high bonding compound structure. The gas creates a very high flame, over 6000°F (3300°c), just perfect for gas welding and cutting.

Ultimately, this development led to the introduction of arc welding. It is this discovery that leads to the third key moment in welding, which as you may have noticed, is beginning to speed up somehow now.

The arc welding process managed to take welding to the next level, and numerous practical uses and applications skyrocketed. This also can be seen in plenty of patents that began to be filed globally because businessmen and entrepreneurs wanted to take a piece of the action when the industrial age rumbled on.


More and more patents for new and exciting products were being published – for example, compounds, metal electrodes, blowtorches, wheelbases, pipelines. It seemed that welding could be used for a huge number of applications.


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At the turn of the century, the U.S landscape was patchwork of intercrossing and interconnecting pipelines and railways. Those are owed to the advancements in welding. In this regards, Samuel Van Sickel completed the world’s 1st oil pipeline in Pennsylvania that measures in excess of 2 miles in length. Railways were benefited, too, when Hans Goldschmidt from Germany discovered thermite welding in 1903 availing aluminium and metal oxide. This was the method that railroads would be welded together.

Some 4 years later, Herr Wienzell - another German born welder, moved to the U.S and introduced arc welding to the wider industry. In the same year, the covered electrode by Oscar Kjellberg - a Swedish inventor and industrialist, was pioneers, too. This coated electrode was used in manual metal arc. The purpose of the coating is to protect the molten metal from oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. This covered electrode development paved the way during the next 20 years in the research of trusted flux coated electrodes.


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The world's first portable welding machine by Lincoln Electric
1911 was another landmark year in the history of welding when the globally first portable welding machines were created and rolled out by Lincoln Electric in the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this useful article and for the photos. If you need welding machine or supplies, Industrial Equipment Pampanga can help you out!