A Brief History of Welding

A Brief History of WeldingWelding is a way to create or repair metal
or plastic by fusing pieces together with various techniques (most involving
heat). Most welding equipment uses electricity, laser beams or even an open
flame to achieve the desired result. Below, you’ll learn more about the history
of welding.

and During the Middle Ages

The roots of welding can be found as far
back as the Bronze Age, with gold trinket boxes being the earliest examples.
Shortly thereafter, the ancient Egyptians picked up the art, making iron tools,
weapons and jewelry. In the Middle Ages, blacksmiths helped welding evolve
further, creating weapons, armor and iron tools with hammers. These welding
methods went mostly unchanged until the beginning of the 19th


At the beginning of the 19th
century, there were some major welding breakthroughs, such as the use of an
acetylene-powered open flame. Sir Humphrey Davy invented the first arc welder
in 1800, and acetylene was discovered by Edmund Davy in 1836, allowing more
intricate parts, equipment and tools to be made.


In 1881, Auguste de Meritens successfully
fused lead plates with an electrical art. Later during the decade, Stanislaus
Olszewski and Nikolai Benardos refined the concept by inventing an electrode
holder (which was patented in both the UK and the US).


During the decade, carbon arc welding was
the most commonly-used method. At about the same period, C.L. Coffin patented
the metal electrode arc welder, but N.G. Slavianoff used an identical principle
to cast molten metal.


Strohmenger introduced the coated metal
electrode in 1900; its lime coating helped to stabilize the arc. Other welding
methods were further developed during the same time period, such as spot
welding, flash butt welding, projection welding, and seam welding. It was
around this time that stick electrodes became popular welding equipment.


After WWI was over, Comfort Avery Adams
founded the American Welding Society with a goal to advance the welding
process. The alternating current was introduced in 1919 by C.J. Holstag, but it
didn’t see widespread commercial use until the 1930s.


That year, automatic welding was introduced
by P.O. Nobel. It combined bare electrodes and arc voltage, and it was used
mainly to mold and repair metals. During the 1920s, a few different types of
electrodes were developed as well.


Stud welding was developed in NY’s Navy
Yard, and it was also used in the construction industry. During the same time
period, smothered arc welding was introduced by the National Tube Company.
Gradually, stud welding was replaced by submerged arc.


A new method for the seamless welding of
magnesium and aluminum was developed, and came to be called Heliarc welding.
Another important welding method, GTAW (gas shielded metal arc) was introduced
in 1948.


In 1953, the CO2 process became very
popular due to its cost-efficiency. A few years later, smaller-diameter
electrode wires were used, making it easier to weld thinner layers of material.


During this decade there were several advances in welding
technology, such as electroslag, innershield and dualshield. Plasma arc welding
was invented during the 1960s, and it was used mainly for spraying metal.
Electron welding was developed by the French, and it is still used in the US
aerospace industry. 

This post was written by Crispin Jones for Westermans  – experts in welding equipment. 


  1. A lot of decent info – but not much on the history of the development of the art since 1960s – for example, the introduction of the autodarkeing helmet changed how welding was done completely!

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