A Brief History of Welding Tools
Welding is used to fuse together pieces of metal to create or repair various metallic structures. There are many ways welding can be done. Welding equipment can operate using lasers, open flames, or an electric arc.
Origins of Welding
The earliest evidence of welding can be found during the Bronze Age. The Egyptians and other ancient Mediterranean area civilizations used welding to create swords, shields and other iron weaponry as early as 1,000 B.C.E.
Welding took a leap forward during the Middle Ages when blacksmiths were utilized to produce everything from farm tools to weaponry. Blacksmiths fashioned tools and weapons out of iron through heating the metal and hammering it into the desired shape.
Various forms of arc welding developed in the 19th century. British innovator Humphrey Davy first used electrodes to produce an arc in 1801. Edmund Davy improved on that discovery in 1836 when he discovered acetylene, a gas used in welding to create an open flame.
The electric generator was invented mid-century and that further facilitated the development of welding. Russian students Nikolai N. Benardos and Stanislaus Olszewski secured patents in 1885 in Britain and in 1887 in the United States for an electric arc welder with a carbon electrode.
Welding underwent further changes when C.L. Coffin developed a metal electrode to replace the carbon electrode in 1890. Coated metal electrodes were introduced 10 years later. These electrodes were coated with a layer of lime to produce a more stable arc.
Other Welding Processes
Gas welding became feasible by 1900 as a result of several inventions. The development of liquefied oxygen and the introduction of a blow pipe helped simplify the cutting process. Around 1900, an oxyacetylene torch, using low-pressure acetylene, was developed for use in welding. That allowed welders to shift away from using more unstable hydrogen and coal gas.
Resistance welding emerged early in the 20th century. Several resistance welding processes were developed by Elihu Thompson and others around this time including spot welding, seam welding, projection welding and flash butt welding.
Automatic Welding was introduced in 1920 by P.O. Nobel, a General Electric engineer. It integrated the use of arc voltage with bare electrode wires and made it easier to repair and mold metals.
Welding took a leap forward when alternating current began to be used in the 1930s. It led to the use of AC industrial welders that produced a smoother arc than earlier direct current welders. By the 1950s, specialized welding began to emerge.
Welding processes using friction, a plasma arc, electron beam and lasers were all developed in the latter half of the 20th century. These processes have applications in many industries. Laser welding is used in building automobiles, while electron beam welding is used to manufacture aircraft engines and other aircraft parts.
These modern forms of welding concentrate energy into a small space to produce massive amounts of heat. Electron beam welding focuses a beam of electrons, while laser welding concentrates a laser beam.
Contact Tulsa Welding School Today
For more information on studying for a career in welding, contact Tulsa Welding School today. We have campuses in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville Florida. Our students hail from all across the country and have a variety of interests in the field of welding.