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Old 09-25-2008, 02:11 PM
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Default Antique "Omaha Electric Arc Welder"

This is my first post here,but it was suggested someone here might have seen an old wood-cased AC welder or have some information on it or it's operation. I have been searching the internet and have even contacted the Smithsonian in Washington in an effort to find information on this antique welder.

I think it is from the early 20th Century,certainly before the 1940's,and more likely before the 1930's. The only similar one I've seen a picture of was from the 1920's and it appeared newer than this one.

I sold it to a friend 16 years ago right after I got it because he needed a welder. It was functional at that time,but he pulled the plug & new leads to go on another welder. Since I never got paid for it & he got divorced,I re-posessed it a month ago. I'm really glad he never paid for it now,but unhappy he pulled all the leads off it. Since nobody has seen or operated such an antique,I'm kinda on my own trying to restore the thing.

After that long intro about what's going on.... Here are some particulars on the machine and a link to 5 pictures. If you can't help you might at least enjoy a look at some real old welding history. I've not seen anything yet that is as old as this welder.

It has a small brass plate with "" Omaha Electric Arc Welder "" then info about 50-150 Amp ---110-220 V---and--- "" Electric Welder Corporation "" Omaha Nebraska (post # 67)

Any information on it or links to information would be appreciated. Any similar wood-cased welder information would also be helpful.


Last edited by mudbug; 09-25-2008 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:52 PM
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Welcome mudbug. Glad you finally found us over here. Please check back in often!

Forgive me that I took liberties with your photobucket account and snagged the pictures to add to our archive. It'll keep folks from having to click over to that other thread.

I can't add any more to it, but it does look interesting.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:26 PM
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Thanks...for the Welcome and for posting the pictures...It's appreciated.

Feel free to offer any comments on this unusual welder. I'm really having a blast researching this thing. I'm hoping I get some information from the Smithsonian Museum,but any thoughts on it are welcome.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:28 PM
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I can't add anything over here that I didn't already find and post over at the Hobart site. I may have posted a link or two to local historical resources ( Omaha and/or Nebraska state university resources) that may be your best bet.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:40 PM
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Those links were really interesting...I'm still looking them over & researching them. Those sources are good for other things as well.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:41 PM
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Glad you decided to join us! I figured maybe someone here would know something. Good luck!
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:55 PM
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Welcome mudbug, I hope you enjoy our little sand box. I haven't seen any thing that old before and it does spark my interest so we'll see what the collective wisdom brings.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:57 PM
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Thanks Bob...I hope someone can be of help also... I'm kinda stalled on it at the moment.

I see no particular reason to do anything to it that might damage it at this point. I'm really having a blast dealing with it for now and since I don't need it to weld with there isn't a rush.

I may try to get a tester of some sort tomorrow to test the output from the welder and to test to be sure it's still in good enough condition to be used rather than just be displayed.

I'm thinking about turning some sort of caps to cover the(marked) 1-2-3 slotted switch contacts to the right of the blade switch in the pictures. The blade switch is marked (50-75)(100)(125)(150) at the 4 switch points which would be the Amps. The 1-2-3 contact points would then fine tune the arc after the amp setting....I think? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I don't remember what was used before and can't get in touch with the friend that had the machine for so long,but I think an insulated cap design with a copper blade with the lead attached might be the right way to be able to use it and be safe from getting shocked. I'd make 2 similar cover caps for the two unused ones as well. This lead could then be un-plugged from one contact and plugged into another safely(?)LOL

This is very interesting really... No manual....No instructions....No idea...So I'm just being carefull at this point.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:57 PM
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I got tired of Obama everything and decided to go to the shop and play with this old welder instead for a little distraction.

I've been trying to get information on it before I screwed something up,but decided to take the bull by the horns and see what happened.

I re-attached all the wires.... plugged it in and threw the breaker ---It just Hummmmed contentedly.

I hooked up the leads...attached the ground to a piece of scrap metal... stuck a 6011 rod in the holder... struck an arc.... It works!!

Grabbed my helmet and another piece of 1/4" scrap...set one selector at 100 Amps and the other at number one... started to stick the two pieces of scrap together....Even on that setting it seemed to be very HOT,but then I have no idea if the #1 setting is hot & the #3 setting is very hot or vise-versa.

By the time I got everything wired up it was almost dark and of course someone showed up to look at my El Camino that's for that's as far as I got.

I was surprised at how silent and powerful it seemed to be... The arc was very strong without sputtering...very smooth... Sometimes older can be better! I didn't get to play with it but 10-15 min. and since it's connections are jury rigged ... I have to unplug it to reset heat setting connections... I'll get more time in the next few days unless something comes up.

I'm a happy camper....It worked flawlessly...all I have to do is figure out the settings... I doubt it came with formal directions almost a 100 years ago,so I'm on my own. This is going to be a treat since it seems to function so well....I still am amazed it was so first I thought the Huuumm was the overhead lights instead of the unit itself. Usually crackerbox welders sound angry when used... although it's rated at 150A, I got the feeling that was a rating from 100 years ago not todays inflated ratings..... there was a true sense of quiet power behind that Huuummm.

I'll add more and try to post some pictures as well of it's welds once I get it sorted out. I just thought some here might like an update on it's status.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:36 PM
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Good for you, mudbug.

I have a strong preference for old equipment. Besides the cool facotr of working with "history" they're often just hands-down better than new machines. I do shy away from most of the early portable power tools like skilsaws/drills.

So I'm not surprised that welder runs smooth.
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