When Was Welding Invented?

The process of welding as we know it today uses a variety of sophisticated methods, tools, and energy sources. However, what we’re capable of today is the result of a long history of scientific discovery and innovation. In fact, there’s a good chance welding’s history is a lot longer than you imagined!

Let’s take a look at the use of welding throughout history and how the trade continues to evolve.

When Was Welding Invented?

During the Iron Age, Egyptians first learned how to weld pieces of iron together. Archaeological evidence of early Egyptian welding dates back to 3000 B.C. In 1881, Russian inventor Nikolay Benardos introduced carbon arc welding, which was the first practical arc welding method of its time.

Welding history is a rich study of human ingenuity and spirit. After its invention, welding continued to evolve, bringing it to its modern-day form. Ancient welding looks a lot different than it does now. But each step in the welding timeline is an impressive leap in mechanical engineering. Here are some of the pivotal moments in welding history.

  • 4000 BCE: Historians believe the ancient Egyptians developed the earliest forms of welding around this time. Civilizations started welding with copper, and over time, moved on to other metals like iron, bronze, gold, and silver.
  • 3000 BCE: The Egyptians used charcoal to generate heat to turn iron ore into a loose substance called “sponge iron.” They then hammered the loose particles together to join pieces in the first instance of pressure welding.
  • 1330 BCE: The Egyptians began soldering and blowing pipe, joining pieces of metal together.
  • 60 CE: The historian Pliny recorded information about the gold brazing process. He included information about using salt as flux and even mentioned how a metal’s color reveals its brazing difficulty.
  • 310 CE: Indian welders created the Iron Pillar of Delhi, which still stands today, using iron from meteorites. The Pillar remains an impressive display of early craftsmanship, at 25 feet high and six tons in weight.
  • 1375 CE: Forge welding was at the forefront during this period. Blacksmiths would heat metal pieces and pound them together until they bonded.
  • The 16th century: Welders advanced in their craft during this period. Manuscripts from this century included the first references to the word “weld.” The Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini wrote about a soldering process used for brazing silver and copper.
  • The 18th century: Welding technology skyrocketed in the 18th century due to the Industrial Revolution, which paved the way for the society we know today. Industries needed more advanced welding practices to achieve their goals. Welders developed innovative welding technologies to meet this demand. A couple of new advances included the development of blast furnaces and the discovery of oxygen.
  • The 19th century: This century saw the discovery of the electric arc by Sir Humphry Davy. Other inventors also innovated and patented fusion welding, bare metal electrode welding, and carbon arc welding. Robbers used a torch to break into a bank vault, providing the first look at purposely using torches to melt metal.
  • The 20th century: Thermite welding first emerged in 1903. In 1919, C.J. Holslag invented alternating current welding, replacing electric arc welding as the most prevalent form of welding in the United States. Welding continued to increase and was in high demand due to the First and Second World Wars. President Woodrow Wilson established the United States Wartime

Who is the first inventor of welding?

Nikolay Gavrilovich Slavyanov was a Russian Empire inventor who in 1888 introduced arc welding with consumable metal electrodes, or shielded metal arc welding, the second historical arc welding method after carbon arc welding invented earlier by Nikolay Benardos.

Future Welding Trends

Progress never stops, which means that there’s a good chance the process of welding will continue its dynamic history well into the future.

There is a trend where engineers are seeking to produce welding materials that require less energy in order to make them more environmentally friendly. And some are speculating that welded materials will be able to indicate where they are in their lifecycle by means of computer chips.

As the future of welding evolves, one thing is clear: It will get more and more complex. Getting a proper foundation by completing a formal welding course can help welders adapt to the changes more easily.