ABOUT AWS: WELDING AND THE SOCIETY
A nostalgic look at the American Welding Society and events in the history of welding
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By Andrew Cullison and Christine Tarafa
With the United States' entry into WWI in 1917, American's industry was called upon to produce war and transport ships in quantity and with speed. A newly emerging metal joining process, welding, was tapped to help industry meet its goals. To ensure that industry took advantage of this new technology, President Woodrow Wilson called upon a Harvard professor, Comfort A. Adams, to chair the Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corp.
Welding performed well in the war effort and its success motivated Adams in 1919 to bring together industry leaders for the purpose of merging together the Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corp. and the National Welding Council into a new organization, the purpose of which was to provide dependable and objective information on the developing technology of welding. On March 28, 1919, the American Welding Society was born for that purpose.
That first year saw the Society grow to 217 members; introduce the Journal of the American Welding Society, a technical publication with a life of one issue, but the precursor of the Welding Journal; find a home in the Engineering Societies Building in New York City; and establish the foundation of the Society, the committee system, for the production of its operating procedures and industry standards on welding. In 1920, the first local Section was organized in Philadelphia, Pa.
Attendees at the Society's first Annual Meeting, held April 26-28, 1922, were told of the formation of Sections in eight cities, and also, the Society had established its own permanent publication, the Journal of the American Welding Society. But all wasn't rosy, as the members were told, "Owing to the business depression...The financial question is still a serious one, but even this is possible of a solution." The proposed solution was to get more members and solicit more advertising in the Journal. The financial report delivered at the meeting stated an income for fiscal year ending March 31, 1922, of $12,683.74. The budget for fiscal year 1922-23 was projected at $15,540.
In 95 event-packed years the Society has been the beacon for the advancement of the science, technology and application of welding. Through the eyes of the Welding Journal, we look back at some of the events in welding and milestones in the history of the Society.
The Welding Journal
There was a cost, though, of providing that information to its members, and a way of defraying those costs was sought. Advertising became the means as was explained in an April, 1922, issue. "Advertising is included in our Journal because there are not sufficient funds available from other sources to defray the expense of publication. The dues from members... is barely sufficient to pay the ordinary expenses of the Society. Unless we can secure additional advertising, it will be impossible to continue issuing a journal each month..."