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HISTORY OF WELDING - IN THE BEGINNING

The Bible mentions Tubal Cain, "forged all types of tools from bronze and iron."  He may have been one of the first to join metals with the forging process.  His flame was an open hearth into which he placed the metals to be heated to the forging temperature. (Of interest, in forge welding the material does not melt.  It becomes very soft at temperatures several hundred degrees lower.  The most recent innovative joining process, Friction Stir Welding, also does not melt the base metal-it just becomes soft and plastic!)

In 1881 a Russian inventor, Benardos demonstrated the carbon electrode welding process.  An arc was formed between essentially a moderately consumable carbon electrode and the work.  A rod was added to provide needed extra metal.  An image of Nikolay Benardos is on a Russian stamp  honoring him as the "father of welding."  A sketch of a carbon arc torch is shown to his right.

In 1892 Morehead and Wilson accidentally discovered how to make acetylene.  It was found that combining acetylene with oxygen produced the hottest known flame temperature.  Morehead (Photo Left)  went on to found one of the world’s leading chemical companies, Union Carbide.  In 1917 Union Carbide merged with the US owned Linde Air Products company started by Carl von Linde in 1907 using his process of separating air by liquefaction and distillation.  The combination of acetylene and oxygen produced a concentrated flame with a temperature of 5720 F, well above the melting point of most metals allowing the oxyacetylene welding process to develop into a leading metal joining technique. In addition to marketing industrial gases in cylinders, Linde developed the required regulators, torches and accessories needed for the oxyacetylene welding and cutting process.  The Linde Division became a pioneer in welding research and innovations including an inventor and/or developer of many metal joining and cutting processes including Submerged Arc, Heliarc, Plasma, Electroslag and MIG.

In 1904 Oscar Kjellberg in Sweden (Photo Right), the founder of ESAB, invented and patented the covered electrode.  This electric welding process made excellent quality, strong welds very fast.   ESAB became a world leading enterprise supplying welding equipment, filler materials and welding technology.  They purchased AIRCO's electric welding equipment business and in 1989 Linde's (subsequently renamed Praxair) former welding equipment and filler metals  business which had become a separate company, L-TEC. At the same time they purchased the leading US innovator of flux cored wire and low hydrogen stick electrodes, Alloy Rods.

In 1911, Lincoln Electric introduced the first variable voltage, single operator, portable welding machine in the world.  In 1914, James F. Lincoln (Photo Left,) then President of the company, established the Employee Advisory Board, which included elected representatives from every department. His incentive management system helped Lincoln to become a leading producer of electric welding equipment and filler materials.  They were instrumental in promoting welding as a reliable, cost effective metal joining process. See Side Bar Below

On November 16, 1916, a  supplier of industrial gases, the Air Reduction Company (AIRCO) was officially formed and began producing and marketing high-purity oxygen and other industrial gases including acetylene. This company introduced a number of innovations in the welding industry, including MIG Welding. AIRCO sold their welding equipment business to ESAB in the 1980's, retaining the very profitable industrial gas business.   The AIRCO gas business was later purchased by the British Oxygen Company and in 2006 that enterprise was purchased by Linde AG the German Company started by Carl von Linde.

A significant invention was defined in a patent by Alexander. He filed patent number 1,746,207 in December 1924 for what came to be known as the Atomic Hydrogen Welding Process.  It looks like MIG welding but hydrogen is used as the shielding gas which also provides extra heat as it burns with the surround arc. 
A major innovation was described in a patent  (US Patent number 2,043,960) that defines the Submerged Arc Process  invented by Jones, Kennedy and Rothermund.  This patent was filed in October 1935  and assigned to Linde Division of UCC.  The Specification states, Page 4, Column 2, Lines 4 through 7 that the application was in part a continuation of applications Serial Numbers 657,836 and 705,893 filed in February 1933 and January 1934.  The following was excerpted from an article written by Bob Irving in The Welding Journal;The importance of welding was emphasized early in the war when President Roosevelt sent a letter to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is said to have read it aloud to the members of Britain's House of Commons. The letter read in part, "Here there has been developed a welding technique (referring to Submerged Arc Welding) which enables us to construct standard merchant ships with a speed unequaled in the history of merchant shipping."

Russell Meredith working at  Northrop Aircraft Company in 1940 -1941 invented the TIG process.  This new process was called "Heliarc" as it used an electric arc to melt the base material and helium to shield the molten puddle.  Mr. Jack Northrop's dream was to build a magnesium airframe for a lighter, faster warplane and his welding group invented the process and developed the first TIG torches.   The patents were sold to the Linde Division  who developed a number of torches for different applications and sold them under the brand name Heliarc.  Linde also developed procedures for using Argon which was more readily available and less expensive than Helium.

In Welding Journal article Gus Manz interviewed one of the key inventors of the MIG process (US Patent Number 2,504,868 -January 1949), Glen Gibson.  Mr. Gibson indicated he had observed the demonstration of a manual submerged arc process by Lincoln Electric and had the vision to define the process using and inert gas shield.  He had been working on TIG welding in the Development Lab at Airco at the time.  He indicates although he went on to be the owner of a very successful business; "..the greatest single day in his life was the day Steve (Steve Sullivan  worked with Glen at the Lab) and I cranked up the first (MIG) welding gun."

On July 26, 1955 Robert Gage (my old boss at the Linde Labs) filed US Patent Number 2,806,124 for Plasma, entitled "Arc Torch and Process."  This was the first Plasma Torch and Process patent.  It had 29 claims and was assigned to Linde.  One of the patent figures is shown on the left.  Although usable for welding it has gained wide acceptance as the process of choice for thermal cutting. 

Bob Gage, photo right, was a brilliant Physicist and a great boss.  Although tough, he always made you think, often with a critical statement such as; "Your solving a problem not know to exist using a method known not to work!"  Bob managed Welding and Cutting R&D  for the Linde Division (in all US facilities) for many years.  See Brief History of Plasma and Plasma Gouging Development

 

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Other Inventions and More Details:

More information on the History of:

  1.  Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

  2.  TIG Welding (GTAW)

  3.  MIG Welding (GMAW)

  4.  Electroslag Welding (ESW)

  5.  Friction Stir Welding (FSW)

  can be found at these links on our site (just click on the process)

Side Bar

James Lincoln created a very successful welding company employing many unique and creative management techniques.  Soon after he became General Manager in 1914 he established an Employee Advisory Board and became President of the company in 1928.  He instituted an aggressive employee incentive system in 1934 and "guaranteed employment" program in 1958. Lincoln Electric also employed many unique business philosophies related to pricing and selling.  He wrote a book published in 1961 entitled "A New Approach to Industrial Economics."  Having just reread this excellent text it has many suggestions and answers to the current debates about rewarding hard work and employee/management trust needed to keep America competitive.

During an Engineering Management Masters program I wrote a report comparing Fred Taylor, considered the father of scientific management, Henry Ford and James Lincoln.  Taylor defined the need to have individual incentives to reward hard work and Ford and Lincoln successfully employed some of these principles.  As with many good ideas there is controversy and some of the best information about Taylor's experiments and work are in the Congressional record of a year long probe in 1912 concerning his methods causing employees to "work too hard!"  Typical of Congress then and now, as a result of this Congressional probe it passed a law saying no civil service employee could use a stop watch which wasn't repealed until 1949! 

The unique management techniques employed by Jim Lincoln had an influence on the development of welding history.  A summary  of some key points in his business book(s) and some of my direct experiences related to the company is available as a PDF download. The similarities to the management techniques employed by Henry Ford and Fred Taylor's  work are included.

 

CLICK to Download PDF

New innovations are still occurring in the welding industry.  Our recent inventions optimize MIG shielding gas flow at the weld start (US Patent  # 6,610,957; in Canada # 2,455,644; figure left. Patent numbers 7,015,412 and 7,019,248 are alternate approaches to solve the problem.)  These devices reduce the "Gas Blast" at weld starts by reducing excess stored gas over 80% when welding stops. This significantly reduces gas waste which published data shows typically exceeds over 60% of what is used!   Reducing shielding gas waste typically saves a MIG user 40 to 50% of total gas use while improving weld start quality.  Our Patent # 7,462,709  issued in 2008 and defines a device that allows most flowmeters to be locked at the desired settings avoiding excess wasted gas.  Reducing waste is very important in a competitive world environment.

In 2012 we were granted two patents related to helping a welders environment.  These patented welding helmets not only filter the air entering the helmet, they simultaneously cool it, using a "thermoelectric cooling module."  Cooling the head helps cool the body.  Excessive heat is a common complaint of welders.  These helmets help solve the excessive heat problem by providing cooled, clean, breathable air.

We are searching for a company to license these helmet designs, including  fabricators that employ a large number of welders who would benefit from the reduced heat and a better working environment. Contact Jerry_Uttrachi@NetWelding.com if interested.

Have a MIG Welder?  

Improve Weld Start Quality and

Have Shielding Gas Cylinder Last at Twice as Long! 

Note: Our Patented GSS is Not Available in "Stores"

We Focus on Saving NOT Selling Shielding Gas"

A home shop fabricator in Georgia with a Miller TM 175 amp welder purchased a 50 foot Gas Saver System ( GSS TM ) so he could use a larger cylinder and mount it on the wall of his shop.  He wrote:

"The system works great.  Thanks for the professional service and a great product."   Click To See His Home Shop

A Professional Street Rod Builder Had This to Say:

With their standard MIG welder gas delivery hose the peak shielding flow at weld start was measured at 150 CFH. That caused air to be sucked into the gas stream causing poor weld starts.  With the  replacing their existing hose, the peak flow surge at the weld start was about 50 CFH.  Total gas use was cut in half.

Kyle Bond, President, quickly saw the improvement achieved in weld start quality as a significant advantage!   Kyle, an excellent automotive painter, was well aware of the effects of gas surge caused by pressure buildup in the delivery hose when stopped.  He has to deal with the visible effects in the air hose lines on the spray gun in his paint booth!  The paint surge is visible and creates defects unless the gun is triggered off the part being painted!  We can’t do that with our MIG gun!

GAS SAVER SYSTEM (GSS TM) PURCHASE INFORMATION

 

 

GSS Customer Testimonial: PDF Download

 

"NEW" Book:

"Advanced Automotive Welding"

Author: Jerry Uttrachi

(President of WA Technology)

Book includes overview of all welding processes and welding science.

CLICK for Book Details

Download PDF Overview of the "Advanced Automotive Welding" Book with Contents Page.

Book Review by a Race Car Builder:

Dear Jerry:
Thank you for the wonderful book that you wrote.  The content is possibly one of the best written and cogently assembled pieces of welding instruction that I've ever read.

I have literally dozens of books on welding that span a good 5 or 6 decades. Some of the better ones were written back in the 40's for training the wartime workers. It's amazing to me that it took over 60 years for a book to be published that is comprehensive and comprehendible that explains in everyday language, the latest techniques in the welding arts and sciences. The coverage of the subject was more complete than I have ever seen. This is a classic, and sure to be a benchmark reference book for years to come.

I have recommended the book to my membership at the website and continue to promote it wherever I go. I know that ADVANCED AUTOMOTIVE WELDING will be a huge success, and we are honored to have been a small part of it. Please don't hesitate to call if there is every anything that we can do for you.

Please feel free to use me as a reference or testimonial as you see fit. Wishing you continued success.

Jim Harvey: HRE Fabrication, Levittown, NY 11756

The "Gas Blast" at MIG Weld Start Causes Problems:

1) Shielding Gas Waste - typically 50% of gas used

2) Inferior Weld Quality - due to air pulled in gas stream

See Patented Gas Saver System (GSS) Solution

GSS  Works for TIG Welders with Foot Pedal or Thumb Control

Stop Wasting Shielding Gas!!

See YouTube Videos

Including Our Patented MIG Shielding

"Gas Saver System" (GSS)

 

Science of MIG Shielding Gas Flow Control

Why MIG Gas Waste

Detailed Review of GSS

Short Overview of GSS-90 Seconds

What User Say About GSS

Welding Race Cars

Rat Rods-Then and Now

Welding: Go Green

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