In 1942 a company called Holmes Burton produced “Your Life’s Work”, a vocational film series intended to introduce students to various trades and careers (video below). What’s cool about the series is that it sheds light on aspects of the trades that could have been lost to history because no one thought the information was worth preserving.
These films haven’t been shown to students for probably 50+ years and could themselves have been lost to history. And they would have been if not for the efforts of Rick Prelinger, an archivist who collected these and other “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. His collection came to be known as the Prelinger Archive and is now a part of the Internet Archive.
As one reviewer says of The Welding Operator:
The film centers around the major welding method of the day, gas oxy-acetylene welding. Although this is considered largely obsolete for production work today, it's good footage of the basics of any welding method. The film moves on to spot welding, then stick welding, and then to describe various applications of these methods. The gas welding of a steel airframe is interesting.
Aware that MIG and TIG welding existed when the film was made, the reviewer rightly suggests those technologies were probably too cutting-edge to have been included. Originally developed for welding nonferrous metals, gas metal arc welding (such as MIG and TIG) did not become widespread for another 10 to 20 years—after those methods were adapted to welding steel.
If you are interested in welding, here’s a wildly divergent selection of welding stories from Tools of the Trade:
Thermite Welding Railroad Tracks
DeWalt Cordless Stick and TIG Welder
Cool Work Wheels: White Motor Company COE
Five Freaky Welding Videos