Electrically Welded Specimen, Bicycle Top Tubing


This bicycle’s welded steel top tube was created using Elihu Thomson’s electric welding apparatus (see object number MC*181724). Welding samples demonstrated potential industrial applications of electric welding, and illustrations of these samples were published in journals, brochures, and advertisements. Elihu Thomson’s invention of electric welding in 1885 resulted in numerous applications including the manufacture of automobile parts, tools, screws, ball bearings, and wire lines. Thomson’s welding apparatus passed an electric current through two pieces of metal pressed together. Resistance to the current at the contact point between the metal pieces created heat and welded the metals together.

Scientist and inventor Elihu Thomson (1853-1937) played a prominent role in the industrialization and electrification of America with over 700 patents in his name. His inventions and patents helped change the nature of industry in the United States and included the “uniflow” steam engine, automobile muffler, producing fused quartz, stereoscopic x-ray pictures, electric arc lamps, lightning arrestors, and perhaps most notably—the process of electrical welding. Thomson and partner Edwin Houston established the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1883. In 1892 Thomson-Houston merged with the Edison Electric Company to form General Electric.

Date Made: 1886

Maker: Thomson, Elihu

See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Energy & Power, Industry & Manufacturing, Thomson Welding

Exhibition: Object Project

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: from Thomson Electrical Welding Co., thru Elihu Thomson

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: EM.181672Catalog Number: 181672Accession Number: 33015

Object Name: welding sample

Physical Description: steel (overall material)Measurements: overall: 15 in x 1 1/4 in; 38.1 cm x 3.175 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-45da-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_705967

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