Who Invented the Soldering Iron?

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Men had learned scarcely on the usage of metal before the desire to join them arose. Pike has been used by man for more than four thousand years, and it has been proven historically.

Back then, different individuals at different times have the ability to solder silver, gold along with other objects designed from other materials. Soldering is a process in which two metals are joined together to form a strong and reliable bond. 

Before the invention of the electric soldering iron, all soldered materials were soldered using an open flame. However, everything changed after the invention of electric lighting in 1879 by Thomas Edison.

Investors started creating devices that operated on an electric current. In this article, we shall be discussing the history of soldering iron and who invented the soldering iron.

First Electric Soldering Iron

Nowadays, it is relatively challenging to say who the first individual who discovered soldering iron was. However, one thing is certain, Egyptian goldsmiths knew how to connect gold about five thousand years ago, and their counterparts in Troy were as well masters of soldering before ancient Teutons could master the art of soldering.

On the other hand, when it comes to an electric soldering iron, it is relatively easy to say who the first individual to discover it was. In 1896, Richard Schneider, along with August Tinnerholm, received a patent for electric heating apparatus, which is now commonly referred to as soldering iron. The soldering iron became known under an American Beauty brand; the best part is that the company that first produced soldering iron is still in operation to date. 

In 1910, the company received a patent for General Electric soldering irons. As time progressed, General Electric came up with an improved version of a soldering iron, which is equipped with a latch. The latch was designed to hold the soldering iron when the user was not using it. The rack featured a radiator, and it absorbed heat being generated by a soldering iron and then dispersed it into the surrounding area.

Some individuals like waiting for things to happen around them; however, Carl Weller was not one of these individuals. Carl was working as a radio repairman, and he often used a soldering iron in his everyday routine. While working with the soldering iron, Carl felt that the soldering iron was not heating up at a faster rate as he wanted.

In 1941, Carl used his knowledge in electronics to come up with a new way of heating the soldering iron tip. It was during this time that he came up with the soldering iron gun.

This was a great invention that led Hubert Luckett from the Popular Science magazine to comment, saying that Carl’s instant-heat soldering gun is among the rarities- hand tool which was new in the market and was a needed invention. The soldering gun is used in the same way as a soldering iron- to help in soldering metals together.

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The Popularity Of Soldering Iron

Ernst Sachs was the individual who made soldering iron famous and widespread. He was a German engineer who specialized in creating soldering iron for industrial use. Initially, he used to create soldering iron for manufacturers of utensils and other metal products, and as time went by, he switched to electrical engineering. 

In 1921, Ernst patented his invention, and his first soldering iron was the H-1, and it belonged to the hammer design. The H-1 was primarily designed for tinning operations. This soldering iron became famous, and Ernst founded the ERSA, where he started distributing soldering iron gradually across Europe. It is due to his amazing entrepreneur skills that the soldering iron started selling unprecedented volumes.

Ernst’s invention then became the basis for significantly modifying the electric soldering iron by both ERSA and third-parties. In 1926, William Alferink was given a US patent for a soldering station. It was considered as the first soldering iron station in history.

In 1946, Carl Weller as well-received a patent for soldering guns. He ended up opening his own company in Pennsylvania, known as the Weller Manufacturing Company. Carl started supplying his product to individuals as well as companies.

In 1949, the American Beauty then came up with a soldering iron equipped with a system that allows one to regulate the temperature level of your soldering iron once connected to the system.

WEN Products was founded in 1951; they started producing their soldering iron. Their products grew in popularity, and in 1954, the first lawsuit happened between WEN Products and Weller Manufacturing Company. WEN was accused of violating the patent law, and the court found it in Weller’s favor. In 1960, the Weller Manufacturing Company received a patent for the thermo-controlled soldering iron.

The Modern Soldering Iron

Nowadays, the soldering iron market has grown significantly, and as a result, there are varieties of soldering irons. Usually, they are often classified by their heating methods, power along with other parameters.

When it comes to heating, the soldering iron is divided into two; soldering iron with period and a continuous heating soldering iron.

Some of the soldering irons that are periodically heated include:

  • Hummer and butt
  • Arc soldering iron

On the other hand, the continuous heating soldering iron include:

  • Electric
  • Gas 
  • Fuel 
  • Infrared
  • Hot air

When it comes to electrical engineering and electronics, an electric soldering iron is often used, and they often differ in power significantly.

Final thoughts

As a soldering enthusiast or an electrical engineer, understanding the history of soldering iron is essential. This is said to be essential since it will help improve your soldering skills in one way or the other.

In the last century, the soldering iron industry has witnessed the improvement of craftsman’s soldering skills, which is worth understanding.

Nowadays, soldering iron has become a vital tool in our day to day activities. Furthermore, they are precision programmable and come with temperature adjustable soldering stations, which are ideal for micro-soldering different materials with the utmost ease. As we conclude, we hope that this article has been beneficial.