Welding History: Back to the Foundry

Welding is what we at Sidney Lee Welding Supply Co love to talk about in Atlanta GA. Have you ever wondered what people did to work with metal before we had all of this great welding equipment? In this blog we will look at the foundry, where our old friends the machinist and blacksmith do their metalwork. It’s a pretty wide distance from welding supplies to iron casting supplies, but there is a family resemblance, you might say. The foundry has tools that the welder’s shop has, and each has their own unique thingamajigs, too.


Welding is the art and science of joining metals. Casting, on the other hand, is the art of using molds to pour molten metals into shape right away. Then modifications can happen down the line. Welding can even be used as an afterthought to join molded pieces, of course. Since we are talking about cast iron, depending on the gauge of workpiece, that would take some hefty arc welding with steel to get the job done. Let’s take a moment and stick (see what I did there?) to casting iron. One of the most reminiscent facets of casting, to the welder’s mind, is the use of chemicals and elements to get the heat up. Various elements like manganese, sulphur and phosphorous take the place of our oxygen, acetylene, and argon welding gases. And instead of your favorite oxy-acetylene cutter, in the foundry the mold is what you work on shaping first.


For the cast ironworker, their welding machine is a furnace: it’s what heats up the metals and also where much of the skill and know-how come into play. As a welder you have to keep in mind all your science such as tensile strength, TIG rod varieties, and the heating targets of various welding gases before you put your welding machine pedal to the metal. For the foundry technician, it’s all about the composition of iron and what elements are going up in smoke as the furnace heats it up and makes it malleable. Maybe in our next blog on the subject we can look at some foundry techniques and how that relates to welding procedures. And what makes galvanized metal different from annealed, anyway? Until next time, we at Sidney Lee Welding Supply Co wish you a productive summer with welding equipment in Atlanta GA.