welding, sweat (ca. 1000 B.C.)South America Andean cultures

aicttwcovWelding is the process of joining metals together through the application of heat. Long before contact with Europeans, the Chavin, whose culture arose in the Andes in about 1000 B.C. invented welding. Their invention is referred to as sweat welding. They used this technique to produce three-dimensional objects of silver and gold (See also METALLURGY.) The ancient Chavin metalsmiths learned that by placing the edges of metals together and applying high heat, they melted together. An interesting aspect of this invention was that placing two metals together caused the melting point of the metal with higher melting point to be lowered. This allowed these metal workers to work with PLATINUM, which has a melting point much higher than any precontact furnace was capable of producing. (See also METALLURGY; SINTERING; SMELTING) These ancient Andean metalsmiths also discovered how to join metal by SOLDERING, crimping, stapling, and by using interlocking tabs.


Sources/Further Reading

Bankes, George. Peru before Pizarro. Oxford: Phaidon Press Limited, 1977.

Engel, Frederic Andre. An Ancient World Preserved: Relics and Records of Prehistory in the Andes. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1976.

Fagan, Brian M. Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade: The Americas before Columbus. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1991.

Material Culture and Technology 2URL: http://webf0164.ntx.net/huacaso/page21.htm. Downloaded on January 12, 2000.

Morris, Craig and Adriana von Hagen. The Inka Empire and Its Andean Origins. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1993.