History of Industrial Metal Crafting

What better place to start than the beginning? I’ve learned how much of an impact metal crafting makes in our daily lives, but how did it start and where is the industry headed?

If you’re like me, you’ve only heard about Eli Whitney as the inventor of the Cotton Gin in grade school. So I was surprised to see his name EVERYWHERE when researching the history of manufacturing. In fact, postmodern manufacturing can be traced back to Eli Whitney, the War of 1812, and a contract from the government for 10,000 muskets.

The rapid increase in demand for these muskets led to innovation that would influence the outcome of the war and change our society as we know it.

History- Interchangeable PARTS Make the Difference:

 
 

Whitney implemented the mass production of parts to specific dimensions through tooling, eliminating the need for expensive craftsmen needed for the usual specialized fittings.

So you may be thinking ok…but what’s tooling? My thoughts exactly! Glad we’re on the same page.

Well, the answer is pretty simple…industrial tooling is the part of manufacturing where you design and engineer the tools that are necessary to manufacture parts or components you need for your end product.

Talk about a game changer! Not only could end products now be rapidly assembled from standardized parts, but repairs could be quickly made by ordering and replacing a particular part rather than creating an entirely new end product.

Whitney’s developments in machining set the path for what we know as the modern machine shop which continues to grow and develop to this day.

Today- Poised for Rapid Growth:

 
 

Kelly Clark highlights just how rapidly the Metal Crafting Industry is set to grow in her recent Fabtech article: “…production in the U.S. is estimated to grow 2.8 percent from 2018-2021 (a faster increase than other segments of the general economy), and manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in. The metalworking industry is poised for growth.”

Read more here.

Metalworking today is typically divided into the following categories: forming, cutting, and, joining -each of which contains various processes.

Whooo! That’s enough processes to process for now! Time for a latte break. Check back soon for the next blog, diving into each of these categories.


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As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

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