When you drive your car or look at a light fixture in the street or open your microwave, chances are that there is something in any of those items that has been welded. These products and others have been a part of the process of welding for more years than you might imagine.
Welding actually started a very long time ago during the Middle Ages. Many artifacts have been found that date back to the Bronze Age. These have been small boxes that were welded together with what is called lap joints; no one is exactly sure what these were used for, but this was important to that time.
The Egyptians also made a variety of tools by welding pieces of iron together. Perhaps this is where Maxwell’s Hammer comes later? Who can say! Then came the rise of the Middle Ages and many people there were able to use blacksmithing for iron. Different modifications were made along the way until the welding that is used to day was developed.
There were several significant inventions in the 1800s that influenced welding included here:
- The invention of acetylene by an Englishman named Edmund Davy.
- Gas welding and cutting became known and a way to cement pieces of iron together.
- Arc lighting was a very popular part of welding after the electric generator became known.
- Arc and resistance welding become another popular aspect of welding.
- Nikolai N. Benardos receives a patent for welding in 1885 and 1887 from America and Britain.
- C.L. Coffin receives an American patent for a arc welding process.
After the 1800s many more patents and inventions were made in order to create more ways of doing welding but one of the greatest needs would come much later during World War I because this process was needed to create arms. Because of the demand welding firms became a staple of America and Europe because the war needed welding machines and electrodes to go with them.
During the war people really got a chance to look at how welding worked and it became a very popular way of work. So much so that in 1919 the first American Welding Society was begun. This nonprofit organization came directly out of through a group of men who called themselves the Wartime Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corporation (Source: Miller Welds).
The 1950s and 1960s were also a significant time for welding because a welding process using CO2 was discovered and a variation of this form of welding that used inert gas became very popular in the 1960s because it produced a different type of arc.
There have been a number of improvements in the welding trade over these years and today the process has added two areas, friction and laser welding. These two have created a more specialized field and therefore more opportunities for learning.
One interesting point about laser welding is that those people who use it have found that is a tremendous heat source so it can actually weld both metal and non-metal objects.