What Is The History of MIG Welding? A Complete Answer

The history of MIG welding or GMAW is closely related to advancements in power supply technology and an understanding of how this relates to the speed of a constantly fed electrode wire.

Advances in our understanding of how gases interact also helped to the development of the process’s ideal shield. The gas selected will have an effect on the finished weld profile.

Metal transfer occurs via:

  • Short-circuit (GMAW-S): with repeated electrical short circuits, a solid metal-cored wire electrode is deposited.
  • Globular Transfer: Using a mix of short-circuits and gravity-assisted huge drops, a constantly supplied solid or metal-cored wire electrode is deposited.
  • Axial Spray Transfer: a high-energy mode of operation in which a continuously fed solid or metal-cored wire electrode is deposited at a higher energy level, resulting in a stream of small molten droplets. Droplets are axially driven across the arc.
  • Pulsed Spray Transfer (GMAW-P): A technique similar to axial spray transfer in which the welding current is cycled between a high peak and a low background current level.

Nowadays, skilled MIG welders are utilised to join materials of varying thicknesses and sorts. The electrodes are chosen according to the thickness of the materials being welded and the recommended current range.

Timeline of Mig Welding History

19th Century

MIG’s fundamental principles Welding history began at the turn of the nineteenth century, with Humphry Davy’s 1800 discovery of the electric arc.

Initially, carbon electrodes were utilised, but by the late 1800s, N.G. Slavianoff and C. L. Coffin had invented metal electrodes.

Early 20th century

history of MIG welding


P. O. Nobel of General Electric devised an early precursor of GMAW in 1920. It operated on bare electrode wires and direct current, regulating the feed rate using arc voltage.  It did not use a shielding gas to protect the weld, as welding atmosphere improvements did not occur until later that decade.


Another precursor to GMAW was released in 1926, but it was unsuitable for practical application.

20th century


1948 marks the formal start of MIG welding history. The Batelle Memorial Institute did not create GMAW until 1948. The Air Reduction Company financed the work, which was carried out by Devers and Hobart.

  • It made use of a smaller diameter electrode and a constant voltage power supply that H. E. Kennedy had created.
  • The technique utilised a constantly supplied aluminium electrode.
  • Argon gas was used to shield.
  • It had a high deposition rate, but the high expense of inert gases restricted its usage to non-ferrous materials, preventing cost reductions.
  • Axial spray transfer was used. Spray transfer is a procedure in which tiny molten metal droplets are sprayed over the arc in the same manner that water is blasted across a garden hose nozzle through a small hole. When the current exceeds the transition current, the electrode sprays tiny droplets onto the work. At a pace of several hundred per second, these droplets detach and form.
history of MIG welding


Carbon dioxide as a welding environment was introduced in 1953 and soon gained favour in GMAW because of its lower cost.

According to Novoshilov and Lyubavshkii’s work, they employed a large diameter steel electrode, which resulted in excessive spatter, and they depended on the increased heat generated by the arc, a component of the procedure that deterred welders from using it.

Between 1958 and 1959

In 1958 and 1959, the short-arc variation of GMAW was introduced, increasing welding versatility and allowing for the welding of thin materials using smaller electrode wires and a more improved power supply.

  • The electrodes with a small diameter ranged from.035′′ to.062′′ (.9 – 1.6 mm).
  • Enabled short-circuiting transfer at the point where the electrode makes contact with the work and shorts. This results in a metal transfer rate of 20x to 200x per second.
  • Reduced heat requirements for welding narrow portions of material Facilitates all-position welding.
  • Excessive current leads to an abnormal amount of splatter.

It immediately became the most popular variant of the GMAW.


In the early 1960s, experimenters added trace amounts of oxygen to inert gases to create the spray-arc transfer variant. Numerous advancements throughout the 1960s were a result of advancements and study in energy sources.

Recently, pulsed current has been used, resulting in the development of a novel technique known as pulsed spray-arc variation (GMAW-P). This approach was developed based on 1950s research that utilised a high-speed transition from a high-energy peak current to a low background current.

  • To minimise spatter and incomplete fusion flaws, the puled arc method employs axial spray transfer.
  • Utilizes less heat input
  • Superior weld quality against short-circuit transfer


Additional advances in power source technology-facilitated advancements in GMAW-P and the GMAW process.

  • Inclusion of Thyristor power source. These devices are capable of controlling a great quantity of voltage and power with a relatively small size (commonly used in light dimmers).
  • The Welding Institute of the United Kingdom has completed research establishing the linear relationship between wire feed speed and pulsed frequency. This resulted in the creation of synergic (one knob control) transistor-controlled power sources, which provided the welder in the shop with increased control. The knob regulates the pace at which the wire is fed and the amount of pulsed energy given to the arc. The procedure increased the ease of usage of GMAW-P.


history of MIG welding

Lincoln Electric made significant advancements in the 1990s, including computer-controlled circuits and software for optimising arc welding procedures.

Lincoln Electric introduces STT (Surface Tension Transfer), which utilises a reactive power source to meet the arc’s requirements. A waveform generator generates electricity, a method that does not require a constant current or constant voltage power source. The Lincoln technology operates in a manner that is independent of the wire speed.

Today, GMAW is one of the most widely used welding techniques, particularly in industrial settings. You may call it the golden age of Mig welding.

The sheet metal industry and, by consequence, the automobile industry rely heavily on it.

There, it is frequently utilised to perform arc spot welding in place of riveting or resistance spot welding.

It is also widely used in robot welding, a procedure in which robots handle the workpieces and the welding gun in order to expedite the manufacturing process.

It is often inappropriate for outdoor welding, as the movement of the surrounding atmosphere might cause the shielding gas to dissipate, making welding more difficult and lowering the quality of the weld.

To some extent, the problem can be mitigated by increasing the shielding gas supply, although this can be costly.

In general, shielded metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding are favoured for outside welding, which limits the use of GMAW in the construction industry.

Additionally, the usage of a shielding gas makes GMAW an unattractive underwater welding method, and it is rarely employed in space applications for the same reason.

Mig welding’s future has never looked brighter.

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