Welding is one of those things that takes minutes to learn and years to master. It requires coordination, strength, and a good pair of eyes. This vocational guidance video from the early 1940s touches on these points and more for those considering careers in welding. The narrator jumps right in, discussing welding types, equipment operation, and employment opportunities in both the welding field itself and other fields that use welding techniques.
Oxy-acetylene welding is one of the oldest methods of fusing metal. A flame fueled by a specific mixture of pure oxygen and acetylene gas heats the metal welding rod and the work piece to plasticity, which allows them to join together. An oxy-acetylene setup can also be used to cut metal, though a special cutting torch with a kind of oxygen turbo boost lever is required. The work piece is heated to red-hot at the point along the edge where the cut will start. The oxygen-rich flame will cut right through the piece.
Spot welding is an electrical method for joining thinner sheets of metal. The pieces are slid between two copper electrodes. When current is applied to the electrodes, the sheet metal’s resistance makes the metal heat up to a fusible temperature. Depressing the foot pedal brings the electrodes together, and the two sheets are joined.
Arc welding is another kind of electrical technique. The work piece is grounded to the generator, and current is applied through a welding rod. Touching the rod to the work piece closes the circuit and creates an arc. The heat melts the metal of the joint and the welding rod, fusing them together. Higher-quality welds can be achieved by using a specially coated rod, which shields the joint from environmental impurities.
Believe it or not, they actually take one or two safety precautions in this film. Hardly anybody operates a torch without goggles or a full mask, and most of the weldors are wearing leather aprons and gloves. There’s even a special uniform for pipeline weld inspectors that can double as a barbershop quartet getup.
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