A Brief History of Welding
The art of attaching singular pieces of metal together to form one assembled item has been happening for thousands of years. Although in its infancy was a very specialized art and generally was not used en mass as for the time the technology available was so simple that whole casting was seen as the easier and more cost efficient way of producing metal works.
As technology progressed and not only the tools and methods for welding improved but so too did the complexity and range of materials used in various metal fabrication that welding slowly became more and more prevalent until today even the most ordinary of items will have had some kind of welding applied to it.
The first record use of any kind of welding (e.g. the artificial assembly of individual metal parts into a singular item through heating) occurred in ancient Egypt and was used by jewelers to assemble pure gold jewelry boxes. It was also claimed in ancient Greek texts from Herodotus that a man called Glaucus of Chios “was the man who single-handedly invented iron welding” although in reality the method predates these writings by a few centuries. Regardless the technique persisted in certain industries due to its limited applications preventing it from being more prevalent.
In the Middle ages advances in forge welding made it easy for new craftsmen called “blacksmiths” to join individual pieces of metal into singular items with greater efficiency and with stronger results by pounding molten metal until fusion between the two pieces occurred. In 1540 a manuscript that detailed these new forging techniques was published from a man called Vannoccio Biringuccio and was entitled “De la pirotechnia” and was highly praised and is credited with spreading the art of blacksmithing across the globe, with Renaissance era craftsmen gaining particular accolades that made their skills extremely valued.
As we know it.
Modern welding techniques were first devised with the successive creation of individual elements of modern welding torches we are familiar with today. In the 1800’s Sir Humphrey Davies invented the short pulse electrical arc, in 1802 a Russian scientist called Vasily Petrov created the continuous electrical ark and the a team of two scientists from Polish and Russia, Nikolai Benardos (Russian) and Stanisław Olszewski (Polish) created the world’s first electrical arc welding method, it was known as Carbon Arc Welding and it was later improved with the development of better, higher wattage electrodes made of metal rather than carbon.
After that resistance welding was invented in 1885, with thermite and then with the discovery of Acetylene gas it was proposed to use this new propellant however a suitable torch to safely utilize the gas was not invented until the 1900’s. This was the basis for a lot of modern welding torches used today.
And that’s the history of welding contained in a nutshell. Hopefully it gives you an insight into how far we have come in this industry. The future of the welding industry is best saved for another article.