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‘Advance in Welding’ – A Historical Article Comes to Light

Thu, 20 July, 2023

With 2023 marking the centenary of The Welding Institute, we have been in contact with a number of Professional Members to get their thoughts and memories.

It was with this in mind that we were contacted by Fellow CEng Alan Gifford, who had unearthed an interesting excerpt from a magazine article published back in 1959.

The article was published in ‘The Peak,’ which was the house magazine of International Combustion Ltd, a Derby-based engineering business that Alan worked for.

The article was produced as International Combustion appointed their first welding engineer – E.K. Keefe – who would be replaced in the role 18 months later by Alan.

The article came about after International Combustion’s section leader, John Adams attended a course run by The Institute of Welding at Princes gate in London. Following the course, John was inspired to visit The British Welding Research Association (BWRA - a forerunner to today’s TWI) at Abington near Cambridge.

During his visit, John was shown different welding processes as well as being shown around the laboratories.

John’s article in the Peak also reveals that he was given an insight into the importance of the work of the BWRA, including some confidential research work on ‘Sno Cats,’ which were tracked vehicles used for transantarctic expeditions.

The BWRA were asked to test the tracks of the Sno Cats following their failure and found that the welds had been “made without the necessary control over welding conditions.” The tracks were machined out and re-welded by the BWRA, with John noting that “none of the welds failed” after being completed under strict metallurgical control.

John’s article offered an interesting snapshot of the Institute and the BWRA in their formative years, including a recognition that there was an absence of instruction in welding technology at universities and technical colleges at the time.

John added that, “it is left to industrial firms to provide this training, but the British Welding Research Association are investigating the formation of a new design advisory service.”

The article shows how the Institute and BWRA were already proving to be influential for industry, and you can read the article, as forwarded by Fellow CEng Alan Gifford, in full, below:


Advances in Welding - J Adams- The Peak 1959 - pdf - 1mb

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