Welding is a relatively simple and easy to understand process, right? Use heat to join two pieces of metal. Whether you’re repairing something or creating something. While the process can easily be explained in as little as a few words, history has given us a many different methods to join metal, and diligent innovators have continually expanded on how technology can consistently bring us more with flame, electric arcs, and laser lights
When you think about welding, chances are you picture sparks flying reflected in the welder’s dark visor. However, the history of welding stretches back farther than you may think. The earliest recorded historical evidence of welding can be traced back to the middle ages, in the bronze age. These early weldments tended to be golden boxes. Elsewhere, the Egyptians were also pioneering the art of welding – much like they did for many other metal fabricating processes. Many of the Egyptian tools discovered by archaeologists were welded. In any case, the process of welding for these ancient people didn’t take place because of flame and electricity wasn’t invented yet, but blacksmiths achieved a similar result with heat, hammer, and anvil. Soon, welding by brute force would be replaced by a more scientific approach.
With the industrial revolution and the turn of the 19th century, welding experienced major technological advancement in the form of an open acetylene flame. This allowed for a much higher degree of precision for small and intricate metal tools. In 1800, Humphrey Davy – a British chemist and inventor – also developed a battery operated tool that created an electric arc, which proved invaluable when it came to easily welding metals. With all of this innovation, the industrial world had access to multiple welding methods, which would continually be improved upon.
By the time WW1 and WW2 ended, welding became much more prominent. In fact, President Roosevelt even wrote to Winston Churchill to boast about the advancements America had made in the field of welding, allowing the U.S. Navy to produce ships faster than ever before. Thankfully, those advanced processes came at an invaluable time, where the need for automatic (and more effective) welding made a remarkable distance when it came to precision and quality. For years afterward – including the present day – inventors consistently innovated the arc welder and other welding tools, gradually contributing to what would become the modern-day equivalent of welding tools that provide businesses with welding services everywhere, every day, around the clock.
Welding played a major role in bringing the manufacturing and fabrication world to where it is today, and actively influences the way products come together everywhere. For example, in the 60’s General Motors installed the world’s first industrial robot, which was capable of automatically performing spot welds, step-by-step, with commands stored on a magnetic drum. In 1969, Russian Cosmonauts used welding in space, leading to future technological advancements that have made welding crucial in the construction and repair of the international space station. Back on earth, you interact with welded products every day, and it’s been determined that more than 50% of fabrications in the U.S. require welding. Some of these include bridges, ships, computers, oil rigs, farm equipment, medical devices, cell phones, and more. When you think of it, it’s pretty clear that welding helps us accomplish a lot– it helps us get where we’re going, and it helps us stay healthy, fed, safe, and in touch with those we love.