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Brief History of the Soldering Iron and Soldering Gun
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Soldering irons have been around for over 4,000 years. Up until the late 1800s they were all heated by open flame or burning coals.

1894
The American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit Michigan begins manufacturing electric soldering irons. Shortly after the American Beauty® line of soldering irons appears.

1921
Ernst Sachs (Germany) claims to have developed the first electric soldering iron for industry (see note below) and ERSA begins commercial production of a 200 watt electric soldering iron. [More Details]

Note: I have found an advertisement from 1898 in a issue of "The Electrical Engineer" Vol. XXIV showing a drawing and description of the American Electrical Heater Company's electric soldering iron which pre dates Ernst Sachs electric soldering iron by 23 years.
I also have an early electric soldering iron manufactured by GE with patent dates eariler than 1921.

1926
In December of 1926 William Alferink files for a U.S. patent for a "Combined Holder and Automatic Circuit Breaker for Electric Soldering Irons" (first soldering station?). On July third, 1928 the patent is granted.

1946
Carl E. Weller is granted a patent for his instant heat soldering gun and starts production as the Weller Manufacturing Company in Easton Pennsylvania where he manufactures the first "Speedy Iron" instant heat soldering gun.

1949
The American Beauty "Temperature Regulating Stands" are sold to control the temperature of electric soldering irons.

1951
WEN Products is founded and manufacturers their own instant heat soldering iron.

1954
Weller sues WEN Products over soldering gun patent infringement.
Court finds in Weller's favor. [More Details]

1960
Weller is granted a patent for the "Magnastat" soldering iron which controls the iron's temperature through the use of a temperature sensitive magnetic tip.

1967
Weller begins manufacturing it's W-TCP soldering station with a "Magnastat" iron.

1970
Weller Manufacturing Company is sold to Cooper Industries.



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