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Don't Miss This Very Interesting 1904 Forge Welding Film from The Library of Congress

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by T-Head, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,936

    from Paradise.


    We found this incredible film from the Library of Congress (click here to watch it) in it a group of men
    forge weld one area of a large ring. They use the heat from a fire and weld it the old fashioned blacksmith way, after multiple heats and much hand and steam hammering. Take a few minutes to watch this fascinating look back at how it was done well over 100 year ago. The ring is presumably a piece of a generator or motor.

    The film was made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company during 1904 and filmed by
    camera man, G.W. “Billy” Bitzer. The film above was shot on April 18, 1904, at the Westinghouse
    Electric & Manufacturing Co. in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  2. pops29
    Joined: Jun 4, 2007
    Posts: 513

    from turlock ca

    That is a great video --- That is when men were men !!!!
  3. spot
    Joined: Jun 10, 2009
    Posts: 204

    from usa

    Wow, Love to see footage like this, Thanks for posting.
    Man just watching those guys swing those hammers without stopping is amazing.
    We really have gotten soft. (as I sit at a desk and type)
  4. Really cool, thanks! Notice the size of the arms on some of those guys? I can't imagine the heat and noise as well.....

  5. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

  6. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,381


    Those are the guys that made America great. Just think, no OSHA.
  7. TheTrailerGuy
    Joined: Jun 18, 2011
    Posts: 392


    Anyone who looks at this film and doesn't consider himself somewhat of a woos by comparison isn't getting the concept... these knew how to put in a days work!
  8. moefuzz
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 4,950


    I couldnt make those links work so though I would post links for anyone else that needs them....

    <iframe src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe>

    <iframe src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe>

  9. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Exactly what I was thinking! I'm a reletively tough guy but I could never see myself swinging a hammer that hard and long a time for any real duration. My other thought was just what the hell that ring was for? I wonder if it's still extant somewhere...
  10. hotcoupe
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 515


    that was back in the days when the ships were wood and the men were steel!
  11. Fred Smith
    Joined: Nov 12, 2011
    Posts: 27

    Fred Smith
    from Ohio

    Holy cow both of those were really cool...thanks
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 298

    1. oHIo

    Real men at real work. gotta love it.
    Cadillac Al:cool:
  13. bill s preston esq
    Joined: Feb 1, 2011
    Posts: 315

    bill s preston esq

    in that first video, anyone notice the guy in the background (not working on the ring)? he was swinging a hammer almost constantly whenever the camera panned over that way.

    i need to show this to my 2 15yo sons.
  14. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665


    Those fellow's sure earned their money !!!!!!
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,190


    The ring went in the dynamo or motor that they were testing in one of the other videos.
  16. Oldsmobucket
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 330


    Really cool videos thanks for posting
  17. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,423

    from Mass

    Amazing films David. It blows my mind how hard these guys worked. The heat and the noise and smoke must have been incredible! I don't think any of them are wearing gloves and watch the guys brush the hot slag off they're arms. To see those guys move that huge hunk of steel and beat the daylights out of it is unreal. They all worked as a team to forge a piece of America.
  18. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,143

    hugh m
    from ct.

  19. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    My father worked in that plant as an engineer for 48 years. His mentor when he started work was Dr. Kilgore who had the distinction of being personally hired by George Westinghouse.
  20. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    I should add that most of those old, filthy factories have been torn down and in their place we have built much cleaner things like shopping malls and strip centers with cell phone outlets, hair cut stores, nail salons, and insurance agencies.

    You can talk all you want about how strong America once was but I don't care....there is no country on Earth with greater nail care than America! And if there is even one man who wants to take it up with me, I'll sue his ass so hard he'll have to beg for his next decaf caramel macchiato at Starbucks.
  21. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,936

    from Paradise.

    Glad all of you are enjoying these two films. I was wondering what they were throwing on the hot metal to keep it from oxidizing and found out it was borax.

    The following is what a friend sent me.....

    Borax is a common base for forge welding fluxes, however several other chemistrys were used.
    Silica sand, glass, iron filings and a variety of industrial wase products were often added to the borax or used by them selves.
    A variety of patent blends of pixy dust were sworn by and at.

    My limited understanding is that:
    Borax breaks down and floats off the iron oixides that formed on the surface because they have a higher melting point than the iron being welded.
    Sand and glass melt and coat the surface preventing further oxidation.
    Iron filings add filler metal and can provide some mechanical interlocking if they dont bond on the first heat.

    In my experiance tending and welding on a coal forge, the fire is more important than the pixy dust.
    Heat the part in the reducing part of the fire, get it to the right heat, and keep it clean.
    Then you have a chance of welding it.
    Too hot, too cool, oxidize the surface or get too much trash on it and your done.
    Its a real art to do well, but if done properly, its nearly invisable and has full penetration.

    Electric resistance welding (ERW tubes) and friction welding are both off shoots of the old forge welding process.
    Neither use a flux.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  22. Olderchild
    Joined: Nov 21, 2012
    Posts: 476

    from Ohio

    I worked on a steam hammer just like the one in the film up till 2002 when they shut or department down. i worked on the back end like those guys and got myself thron across the building when the hammer miss struck outch .hot 2000degree ingot everyone should try that when its 90 outside temp they earned there money
  23. Garage Dog
    Joined: Nov 12, 2011
    Posts: 58

    Garage Dog
    from Doghouse

    Both films are cool TEE. I like the steam hammer the best. Thanks for takin the time to post
  24. Just awesome!
    No other words for that!
  25. 5Wcoupe
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 306

    from L.A., Ca.

    Let's not and say we did!
    Talk about when men were men.
    Makes me tired just watching.
    Great film, thanks
  26. GARY?
    Joined: Aug 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,626


    Swinging those sledges the way they were, WOW! Not to mention the trust the lower two guys had in the guys swinging right in there direction. One wrong move and...
  27. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,936

    from Paradise.

    Glad all of you enjoyed these films.... I added this comment from Fe26 who has worked on big power hammers.....It is all quite interesting to read.

    Talk about the good old days (not).

    That is the biggest Double Arch Hammer I've ever seen (2nd Film). I've worked on a two ton and have seen a three ton hammer in action, but that beast has to be four/five ton.

    Open die forging at that size can be dangerous, if there is a misunderstanding in the hand signals between the Blacksmith and the Hammer Driver those men on the Porter Bars go flying through the air.

    Another thing is the heat. In a Heavy Forge the temp is around 1400-1500 degrees F. After a big job like that you get to cool down a bit while the job goes back in the furnace for the next heat. Notice in the Light Forge (the still image) the Striker on the left standing on the ring is wearing wooden clogs to insulate his feet from the heat.

    Another thing, the Blacksmith who made that joint would have not been popular with the men in his gang. He used a very inefficient technique as evidenced by the fixture holding a prepared joint on the opposite side of the ring. That led to a lot more hammer work some of it upside down, and very rare to see. With another type of joint the 500lb Steam Hammer could have done all the hard work. Still, it's good to see images of how we were, thanks for sharing.
  28. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,761


    The guy wearing the derby hat, long sleeve white shirt, vest, and watch chain had it figured out.

  29. pdc
    Joined: Nov 25, 2008
    Posts: 346


    That's when men where men. Watching them man handle that big hunk of steel tone hammered. Wow, 4 guys beat the crap out of hot steel with sledge hammers, no glasses or gloves. No fat men there.
  30. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,423

    from Mass

    I found and saved this image awhile back. Thought I would add it here.


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