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Historians say the earliest examples of joining metals took place in Europe and the Middle East during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The Middle Ages and Renaissance brought advances in forge welding, and the industry continued to grow in the following centuries. The discovery of the electric arc in 1800 by Sir Humphry Davy led to many more advances in welding, including the invention of metal and carbon electrodes later in the 19th century. The inventions of resistance welding, thermite welding and oxyfuel welding all brought more possibilities to the industry, and in the 1920s, alternating current welding became popular.
World War I led to a surge in the use of welding processes, as various countries began manufacturing more and more metal goods. Throughout the following decades, the industry continued to advance as the introduction of new fuels and shielding gases continued to expand the applications and practicality of welding. Continued innovation and technological breakthroughs have helped the industry continue to evolve to what is now a thriving global industry.
Click the links below to read articles that provide more specific information about the history of welding equipment, gases, cylinders, transport, protective gear and technology.
Founded in 1945 as the National Welding Supply Association (NWSA), the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) was formed to facilitate the industry’s supply chain and to promote the value of distribution. GAWDA currently serves more than 500 gases and welding supply distributors and 275 manufacturers, and is the major trade association representing the industrial gases and welding supply industry. Dating back to the original purpose of NWSA, the association is dedicated to achieving two goals for its members:
For more information about the history of the association, please click here to read an article from GAWDA's magazine, Welding & Gases Today.