Welder gently works on steel material for precise and accurate cuts at the Kalisch Welding Shop

The History of Welding and Metal Fabrication

Welding plays a major role in our everyday lives. If you really think about it, steel material can be found almost everywhere. From our local grocery stores and your father’s garage to your home furniture and so much more! Modern-day metal fabrication would be impossible without welding, but many of us might be wondering where exactly welding came from and its origins. You might also be wondering who discovered it and how it has changed over the years. Let’s take a look at some of history’s greatest developments in metal fabrication. 

Starting with The Bronze Age 

Although the act of welding itself may seem incredibly modern and sophisticated due to all the tools we have at our disposal, did you know that the origins of metal fabrication go as far back as the Bronze Age? The earliest known examples of welded metal are theorized to have been created over 2,000 years ago. These ancient examples were small gold boxes, circular in shape, that were made by pressure welding lapping joints together. Sure, the results may seem amateurish or even haphazard by today’s standards but those circular, golden boxes were the inception of what would eventually become welding as we know it today. There’s still a lot of history to traverse, however. 

From the Bronze Age, over 2,000 years ago, let’s now jump to the Iron Age. During 1200 and 1000 BC, the Egyptians and people in the Eastern Mediterranean learned to weld iron together to create tools. One wonders if these advancements in welding aided the ancient Egyptians in their construction of the Egyptian pyramids.

On to England in the 1800s 

Now, from 1200 BC Egypt, let’s fast forward to 19th-century England where a man by the name of Edmund Davy catapulted the world of welding into the “modern era” by discovering the chemical compound acetylene. Today, oxy-acetylene welding is one of the most commonly used methods but back in 1836, Davy discovered that by combining acetylene with oxygen, he could produce a flame temperature that would easily reach over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, this discovery made the act of welding much easier than it had been before. Soon after, gas welding and cutting were developed and perfected. It was not long until resistance welding became a practical joining process. 

The 1900s: From the 40s to the 50s

Let’s now jump to the 20th century, where the new concept of gas tungsten arc welding finally came into full effect. The process, which was named Heliarc welding, was perfected in 1941. The gas tungsten arc welding process has become one of the most important and most notable in the welding industry.

In 1948, at the Battelle Memorial Institute, the gas metal arc welding process was successfully developed and finalized. This giant leap forward was made possible due to a sponsorship from the Air Reduction Company. Gas metal arc welding uses a gas-shielded arc, similar to the gas tungsten arc, but the tungsten electrode was instead replaced with a continuously-fed electrode wire. 

A small, seemingly insignificant change was made to make this process more functional. By using small-diameter electrode wires along with the source of constant-voltage power, gas metal arc welding was brought into the forefront. Originally, the gas metal arc welding process was only used on nonferrous metals but the high deposition rate pushed users to try this process on steel. At the time, the cost of inert gas was somewhat high, making this not the optimal choice for many welders.

Most Recent Innovations and Updates

And now we’ve arrived in our modern era. The first entry is friction welding was developed in the Soviet Union in 1956. This fabrication method, which is also known as inertia welding, makes use of rotational speed and upset pressure to provide friction heat. Since friction welding is a more specialized process, it’s often used in scenarios where a sufficient volume of similar parts need to be welded. This is all due to the initial expense for equipment and tools, which is a constant in the trajectory of welding advancements.

Finally, we arrive at laser welding. As one of the most recent processes, laser welding was originally developed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories as a device for communication. But, thanks to the tremendous concentration of energy in a small space, this development was proven to be a powerful heat source. From then on, laser welding has been used for cutting metals and nonmetals. This fabrication method is so popular and useful that professionals continue to find new welding applications in many different industries, including automotive metalworking operations. 

Choose Kalisch Steel For The Best Sources of Steel Material

If you’d like to witness the advancements of welding and steel fabrication firsthand, then you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to our innovations, Kalisch Steel is able to provide customers with high-quality and Grade-A steel materials. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.