The welder has one main object: to penetrate the heart of the weld…and then to finish with a smooth surface. He doesn’t trouble about oxidation, the nature of the metal produced, or internal strains. He has welded to the heart; the weld is good looking, and that is sufficient to save his honour. — From A Practical Manual of Autogenous Welding, by R. Granjon and P. Rosemberg, translated by D. Richardson (London, 1920)
All cultures have dreamed of unifying, of indissolubly bringing together, diverse and often incompatible materials: metals, gems, and woods. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of these attempts led, in part, to the formation of alchemy and its quest to create out of diverse materials the most perfectly unified matter: gold. During the time of alchemy, knights also sought gold, paralleling their search for transcendent spiritual truth.
Like the alchemist and the knight, the welder seeks to assemble and make whole: in the realm of metals he joins together that which had been scattered and even hostile to being combined. He aims to penetrate to the heart of the weld; to finish well; and to join as one metal, in an inseparable whole, that which was once separate. Those who care for him aid him in this by strengthening his knowledge, resolve, and confidence, penetrating his heart, and welding in their love.