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17 Interesting Welding Facts That May Surprise You

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welder with helmet at work

As a job, welding is certainly one of the oldest forms of technology. It is believed that even before man discovered fire, he was using hot rocks to create tools and weapons by melting them together. We have come a long way since then, but even today welding remains an important part of our lives. Welding keeps us safe by securing things in place and it helps us create beautiful pieces of artwork.

What follows is a list of interesting welding facts that you probably did not know about, but we hope you will find useful and educational:


Top 17 Fascinating Welding Facts:

1. Welding Has a History That Dates Back Thousands of Years

Welding is one of the oldest forms of technology we know, and we know that it goes back at least 10,000 years. There are claims that even before the invention of fire, the early man was using hot rocks to make tools and weapons by melting them together, but it is hard to prove something like that.

We do know however that during the Bronze Age, people were using copper and tin to make tools and weapons through a smelting process. What they did was heat up rocks until they became molten, add some metal ore in there, and continue heating it until it melted with the rock.

There is also evidence that during the Iron Age, people that lived near present day Turkey knew how to make iron and steel by heating up rocks and adding charcoal. They would then take that molten mixture and pour it into a mold to create whatever they wanted.

welder at work

Image Credit: Maxime Agnelli, Unsplash

2. In 1969, the First Welding Procedure Was Performed In Space

The first time a welding procedure was done in space was during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1969. Alexei A. Leonov used special equipment to build a helical antenna made entirely out of metal while he was aboard the Soyuz spacecraft, which was essential for testing the compatibility of U.S. and Russian technologies.


3. Not Every Type of Welding Requires Heat

Did you know that some welding processes do not require any heat at all? Arc-air, for example, is one of the coldest welding processes used by workers who want to create aluminum structures. It uses air pressure rather than an electric arc to function.


4. Welding Helped Us Invent Electricity

Welding did not just help us build things; it also helped us discover a fundamental part of nature that we use every day. Before welding was discovered, people did not know how to create electricity using magnetism and electric current. After welding became very popular, scientists studied it carefully and figured out the secret to creating this energy source.

MMA welding

Image Credit: Danil Evskyi, Shutterstock

5. Welding Needed Electricity to Become Useful

Welding would not be used to help develop industry until the invention of electricity, which occurred somewhere between 1831 and 1879. After electricity was discovered, it needed to be used to create other devices like generators and motors before welding could become useful.

Ideally, this means that without the invention of electricity, there is not much that could be achieved through welding. At the same time, electricity would probably not have been produced without the basic welding procedures that were already in place.

In 1885, William W. Jacques invented a welding procedure called resistance welding that used electricity as its main source of heat.


6. You Can Be a Welder Even Without a Certified Degree

The field of welding is very accessible compared to some other job professions. There are no mandatory education requirements for becoming a welder, which is why so many people choose this occupation even if they do not have the highest levels of formal education.


7. Welding Helped Humans Invent New Kinds of Weapons

Welding helped people create new kinds of weapons that would otherwise be impossible to make with other methods. The inventor of the nuclear bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, was actually a welding scientist before he became famous for creating the first nuclear bomb in 1945.

Welding did not only help people create weapons used during World War II, it also helped them invent other kinds of weapons that we use every day. For example, we might not be able to create firearms and knives without welding because it is what helped us figure out how to fuse metals together along with other materials like leather or plastic.

military support welder welding tank

Image Credit: Denis Dymov, Shutterstock

8. Bronze is Probably Not the First Metal Humans Ever Worked With

We know that Bronze was the first widely used metal in history and it is believed to have been discovered about 5,000 years ago. Prior to that, all tools were made from stone or wood. That being said, research has shown that Neanderthals living in present day France during the Paleolithic era had access to metals they could have used to create tools and weapons. It is believed that there were meteorites landing in their region during the Stone Age, and some of those meteorites contained raw material.


9. Welding Helped Humans Invent the Wheel

One more very interesting thing you might not have been aware of is that welding helped humans invent the wheel. Before people found out how to fuse metals together and create wheels for transportation and other machines, we did not have any way to use metal as a part on anything. If there had not been an invention of welding, we might still be using carts and carriages today.


10. The Largest Monuments Ever Created By Man Were As A Result Of Welding

It is quite surprising to learn that welding played an important role in helping humankind create the largest monuments ever created. The Egyptians used welding to build their amazing pyramids, and they used it to create huge statues that served as representations of their gods.

11. There Is Welding In Plastic Too

Did you know that plastic could also be welded? Just as you can weld metals together, you can also weld plastic. One way is to use a hot air welder. There are other kinds of welding equipment that work with plastic, but the hot air welder was the first type of machine used for this kind of work.


12. Welding Helped People Even During the Middle Ages

We know that welding was used throughout history, but during the Middle Ages it became mainly used for art and decoration instead of just practical things like building ships or creating tools. This is because medieval blacksmiths did not have access to oxygen, so they could not use torches to create fire.

Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered oxygen in 1771, and that is when welding actually became a useful art form.


13. Millions of Welding Processes are Performed Every Year

Welding is in almost everything you use every day. It is a very important part of everyday life. Almost everything made today has some component that was created using welding in some way, shape, or form.

In 2012, about 21 million welding processes were performed in the United States alone. This is a mind-boggling number, especially when you consider that it’s only one of many countries where welding is very important. In Japan, approximately 12 million welding processes are done each year on average. This is quite a surprising fact depicting how widely and extensively welding is used worldwide.


14. There Is More Than One Way to Weld

Although there are many different ways to weld, some of them are not very common because the technology just is not that advanced. Today, people use things like laser welding and electron beam welding to build very advanced tools and machines, but it was not always this way. Before these kinds of advanced processes were developed, people had rather primitive ways of welding like forge welding or oxy fuel welding.

man operating person using laser welding machine

Image Credit: Akmal Helmy, Shutterstock

15.  The First-Ever made Industrial Robot Was for Welding

The first industrial robot created was actually meant for welding. George Devol designed it in 1961. He called it the Unimate and it could be programmed to repeat certain movements with great precision so that it could perform welding tasks on cars, trucks, missiles, etc.


16. Welding Processes Are Used On All Kinds of Different Structures

Welding is one of the most important occupations in the world. It plays a key role in so many different industries. From your car to your house and everything in between, there are so many kinds of structures, which would not exist without welding.

Different kinds of welding processes were used to build different structures dating back in history as seen below:

First Modern Attack Ship

When welding became very popular, many people used it to build attack ships or warships. This occurred during World War I when the British Navy decided to create a new kind of attack ship called the HMS Lord Nelson using welding. It was the first modern attack ship created by welding, and it is still used today by many countries all over the world.

Huge Skyscrapers

Welding helped architects finally to start creating things that were much larger than anything ever built before. The first skyscraper was not actually Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower, but the Eiffel Tower built in 1889. The tower was used as a radio antenna, and it is still standing today.

In 1908, construction on the New York City Metropolitan Life Insurance Company tower began, and this is when welding really started becoming popular. It made skyscrapers possible because architects could now safely build structures that were much bigger and taller than anything that came before them.

Machines

If you were to learn how to weld, the first thing you would probably want to build is a machine of some kind. Welding definitely played an important part in helping humans create machines used in factories all over the world.

One thing you might want to weld together after learning how is a car. That is because automakers use welding in their assembly lines to build cars and other vehicles all the time. Many of the components on cars, like spoilers and wheels, were built using welding too.

man welding a bus

Image Credit: Benjamin Wedemeyer, Unsplash

17. A Welder’s Salary Can Equal That of a Lawyer or a Doctor

Licensed welders can earn a very substantial salary, which is why it can be just as lucrative to choose this career path just like other kinds of professions such as medicine or law.


Conclusion

It is not surprising that welding is involved in so many different areas. The technology has been around for hundreds of years and the methods have changed over time to work better, faster, and more efficiently.

Welding might have been invented a long time ago, but it still plays an important role in our society today judging from the surprising facts listed above.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Cameron Dekker
 

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.