Lincoln Electric

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Lincoln Electric
S&P 400 Component
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1895
Founder John C. Lincoln
Headquarters Euclid, Ohio
Area served
Key people
Chris Mapes (President and Chief Executive Officer)
Products Arc welding equipment
Revenue IncreaseUS$2.69 billion(FY 2011)
IncreaseUS$296 million(FY 2011)
IncreaseUS$217 million(FY 2011)
Total assets IncreaseUS$1.98 billion(FY 2011)
Total equity IncreaseUS$1.18 billion(FY 2011)
Number of employees

Lincoln Electric is an American multinational and a global manufacturer of welding products, arc welding equipment, welding consumables, plasma and oxy-fuel cutting equipment and robotic welding systems.

The Fortune 1000 company is headquartered in Euclid, Ohio, United States and has a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries. It has 42 manufacturing locations in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. It also operates manufacturing alliances and joint ventures in 19 countries.[1]

Lincoln Electric's business model was listed as one of the most studied by the Harvard Business School and has been featured in many case studies by other business schools around the world. Since 1975, eight cases have been written about Lincoln Electric by the Harvard Business School alone.[2]

The company reported over $2.9 billion sales in 2013, with sales from North America accounting for 50% of it. Lincoln has over 8500+ employees globally and 3000 in the United States alone. Among Lincoln Electric's subsidiaries is The Harris Products Group, which is a manufacturer of Welding Consumables, Gas Apparatus, and other Specialty Products. The Harris Products Group has manufacturing facilities in Georgia, Ohio, California, Poland, Mexico, Brazil and Italy.

The company was founded in 1895 by John C. Lincoln with a capital investment of $200 to make electric motors he had designed.[3]



  • John C. Lincoln founded The Lincoln Electric Company with a capital investment of $200.00. The product: electric motors of his own design.

1900 - 1919[edit]

  • John C.'s younger brother, James F. Lincoln, joined the Company as a salesman in 1907. Meanwhile, the product line had been expanded to include battery chargers for electric automobiles. A welding set was first made by the Lincoln brothers in 1909. In 1911, Lincoln Electric introduced the first variable voltage, single operator, portable welding machine in the world.
  • In 1914, wishing to concentrate on scientific investigation, John C. turned the reins of the Company over to James F. Lincoln. James F. introduced piecework pay and established the Employee Advisory Board, which includes elected representatives from every department and has met every two weeks ever since. By 1915, in a progressive effort for its time, Lincoln Electric employees were covered by group life insurance.
  • In 1916, The Lincoln Electric Company of Canada was incorporated to distribute the U.S. made products. The next year, The Lincoln Electric Welding School was founded. The school has trained more than 100,000 people since its inception in 1917.

1920 - 1939[edit]

  • Lincoln Electric's production of welders surpassed that of motors for the first time in 1922, making welding the company's primary business. In 1927, Lincoln Electric introduced the Fleetweld® 5 coated electrode which produced welds with 20 - 50% higher tensile strength and 100% greater ductility than those made with bare electrodes.
  • Lincoln Electric employees earned paid vacations, among the first in the nation, in 1923. The first Lincoln Electric employee stock ownership plan, one of the first in the country, was initiated in 1925. An employee suggestion program was implemented in 1929. Lincoln Electric employees received their first annual Incentive Bonus in 1934. While the average Lincoln Electric worker's pay more than doubled during the decade of the Great Depression, electrodes which had sold for $0.16/lb in 1929 were selling for less than $0.06/lb by 1942.
  • After working 12 years to perfect a ductile weld, John Lincoln created a patented flux which, for the first time, made a weld as flexible as steel.
  • The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding Design and Practice, first published in 1933, is today in its 14th edition.[4] More than 500,000 copies of this book have been sold.[5] In 1936, The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation was founded as a nonprofit educational organization to advance arc welding as a leading materials joining process. That same year, a young salesman named William I. Miskoe was sent halfway around the world to establish The Lincoln Electric Company Pty. Ltd. in Australia.

1940 - 1949[edit]

  • World War II brought a dramatic expansion of Lincoln Electric's business, with welded ship hulls creating an enormous new market for arc welding products. After many Lincoln Electric workers were drafted, the company hired large numbers of women and minority factory workers for the first time. Motor production was suspended to focus resources on supporting the wartime welding product demand.

1950 - 1969[edit]

  • In 1951, Lincoln Electric constructed a modern plant with unique material handling capabilities in Euclid, Ohio. Lincoln Electric France SA was established in 1953 with the construction of a plant in Rouen, a short trip from Paris. Major innovations of the 1950s included the Jetweld fast-fill low hydrogen stick electrodes and Innershield® self-shielded flux-cored wire electrodes.
  • James F. Lincoln continued to enhance Incentive Management, adding a cost of living multiplier, formal merit rating, and guaranteed continuous employment. In 1959, John C. Lincoln died.
  • In the 1960s, motors returned to the company's product line with a new model featuring an extruded aluminum frame and automatically wound stator coils. James F. Lincoln died in 1965.

1970 - 1989[edit]

  • Lincoln Electric entered a new era of professional management with the promotions of George E. Willis to president and William Irrgang to chairman in 1972. The Mentor, Ohio, electrode plant was started up in 1977 to produce the company's domestic wire consumables products.
  • The early 1980s were a time of hardship, with Lincoln Electric's sales dropping 40 percent in response to the combined effects of inflation, sharply higher energy costs, and a national recession. Although guaranteed continuous employment received a severe test, not one Lincoln Electric employee was laid off for lack of work.
  • In 1986, George E. Willis was named chairman and Donald F. Hastings became president. Mr. Willis pursued an energetic course of foreign expansion; eventually, Lincoln Electric obtained a controlling interest in manufacturing operations located in 16 countries.

1990 - 1995[edit]

  • In, 1992, Mr. Hastings became chairman and Frederick W. Mackenbach was promoted to president. In 1991, an expanded world headquarters facility opened with expanded and renovated Weld Technology and training center operations. Foreign operations were consolidated and reorganized.
  • In 1993, during the global reorganization, Don Hastings and Fred Mackenbach urged the Company's U.S. employees to pursue record levels of production and sales. In true Lincoln Electric spirit, they responded by voluntarily postponing 614 weeks of vacation in order to meet customer demand for product. Sales records were set every quarter since mid-1993.
  • Lincoln Electric added more than 600 new employees during 1994. On June 8, 1995, the Company's Centennial year, a new motor facility opened. The Lincoln Electric Company achieved its one billion dollar sales goal during its centennial year.


  • The board of directors appointed Anthony A. Massaro as President, succeeding the retiring Frederick W. Mackenbach. On November 1, Mr. Massaro was named President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hastings remained as Chairman until May, 1997.
  • A multimillion-dollar expansion and update of domestic research and development facilities was approved by the board. Expansion activities included an acquisition of Electronic Welding Systems (EWS) in Italy, a planned joint venture in China and a manufacturing joint venture in Jakarta, Indonesia.


  • The Lincoln Electric Board of Directors announces the appointment of Anthony A. Massaro as chairman of the company, making him the sixth chairman. At the American Welding Society tradeshow in April, the company introduces many products resulting from a new product development process.


  • 1998 was a year of expansion, acquisition and product development for Lincoln Electric. In the global arena, Lincoln Electric opened an electrode plant in Shanghai, China and acquired Uhrhan & Schwill, of Essen, Germany, a designer and installer of pipe welding systems for pipe mills. In addition, Lincoln Electric secured its own aluminum wire capability and brand through acquisition of Canadian company, Indalco, a manufacturer of aluminum wire and rod. In other global happenings, Lincoln Electric secured a 50% stake in AS Kaynak, a leading Turkish producer of welding consumables and opened a distribution center in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Products abounded with more than 23 new products and services introduced to the market in 1998, including ArcLink the arc welding industry’s first communications protocol, at the annual American Welding Society Exposition.
  • In 1998, Lincoln Electric also distributed its 65th consecutive bonus to employees and achieved the fifth consecutive year of record financial performance. In investor news, shareholders approved the formation of a holding company, Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. With this transition came a conversion from dual class stock (voting and non-voting) to a single-class, all voting stock. This action doubled the number of outstanding shares.


  • In January 1999, Lincoln Electric established a majority-held, joint venture electrode plant in the Philippines with distributor partners. During the American Welding Society's International Welding and Fabricating Exposition in St. Louis, Lincoln unveiled some never-before-seen products including the Multi-Weld system, designed for welding large structures, and the Power MIG: The Professional Choice, 255 combination wire feeder/welder. Lincoln Electric also debuted a host of new electrodes.
  • Also in 1999, the company completed the sale of its motor business to the Marathon Division of Regal-Beloit, preserving Guaranteed Employment Policy through the process.


  • Lincoln Electric acquires C.I.F.E. Spa, an Italian manufacturer of welding consumables and Europe’s premier producer of MIG wire. Production begins in Lincoln’s new manufacturing facility in Brazil.


  • The Company expands its operations in South America with the acquisition of Messer Soldaduras de Venezuela, the country’s leading manufacturer of consumable welding products. The David C. Lincoln Technology Center is completed, ensuring Lincoln Electric’s leadership position in product development.


  • The acquisition of Bester S.A., a welding equipment manufacturer based in Poland, drives the Company’s growth in Eastern Europe. The Company forms Lincoln Electric Welding, Cutting, Tools and Accessories, Inc., dedicated to growing the retail channel.


  • Lincoln Electric acquires the Century and Marquette welding and battery charger brands.


  • Acquisitions of controlling interests in three welding businesses in China are completed, giving Lincoln Electric a leading share of that growing market. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans visits Lincoln Electric’s Euclid headquarters, citing the Company as a prime example of America’s manufacturing strength.
  • John M. Stropki is named Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, becoming only the seventh Chairman in the Company’s history.


  • Lincoln Electric acquires J.W. Harris Co., a global leader in brazing and soldering alloys, to broaden the Company’s solutions capabilities and complement its core product lines.


  • The acquisition of Metrode Products Limited, a UK-based manufacturer of nickel-based cored wire and stick electrode consumables, expands the Company’s offering of specialty consumables for the process and power generation industries.


  • Lincoln Electric invests in expanding its global manufacturing footprint, the largest undertaking in its history, constructing or upgrading 10 plants throughout the world.
  • The acquisition of Vernon Tool Company, a manufacturer of computer-controlled pipe cutting equipment, expands Lincoln’s automation solutions, while acquisitions in China and Poland further enhance the Company’s global market position.


  • President George W. Bush visits Lincoln Electric’s world headquarters in Euclid, Ohio, tours the manufacturing campus and praises the Company’s employees for their global competitiveness.
  • The acquisition of Brastak in Brazil expands the Company’s offering of brazing products and its Electro-Arco acquisition in Portugal adds to its manufacturing capacity in Europe.


2.5-megawatt Kenersys wind turbine installed at Lincoln Electric in Euclid, Ohio in 2011. At that date it was the largest wind turbine in Ohio and one of the largest in North America.[6]
  • Focusing on the future while managing through a challenging economic environment, Lincoln Electric introduces 108 new products within a nine-month period, including the VRTEX™ 360, a virtual welding training system.
  • The Company opens a 100,000-square-foot welding consumables facility in Chennai, India, to serve growing demand in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Lincoln Electric also acquires full ownership of Jinzhou Jin Tai Welding and Metal Co. to expand its manufacturing capacity in China, the fastest growing welding market in the world.


  • The Company is also the subject of the book Spark, written by Canadian economics journalist Frank Koller.


  • Lincoln Electric acquires Arc Products, manufacturer of orbital welding systems and welding automation components.[7]
  • Lincoln Electric acquires Techalloy Company, Inc. and of its parent company, Central Wire Industries Ltd. known commercially as Techalloy.[8]
  • Lincoln Electric acquires Applied Robotics®, Inc., known in the welding industry by its brand name Torchmate®.[9]


  • Lincoln Electric acquires Weartech International, specialist manufacturers of hard wearing cobalt and nickel based alloys for hard facing and cast components, with manufacturing facilities in Anaheim USA and Port Talbot Wales.
  • Lincoln Electric acquires Wayne Trail, specialist manufacturers of fully integrated automation solutions for industries ranging from automotive and aerospace to appliance, HVAC, furniture and more. Wayne Trail is headquartered in Fort Loramie, OH.
  • Lincoln Electric acquires Burny-kaliburn, specialist manufacturers of plasma cutting machine and CNC machine for plasma - oxy fuel cutting. Burny-Kaliburn headquartered in Ladson, South Carolina.


Headquartered in Euclid, Ohio, Lincoln Electric has 44 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 19 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • England (United Kingdom)
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • North Africa
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Wales (United Kingdom)

Lincoln Foundation and Lincoln Welding School[edit]

The J.F.Lincoln Foundation is a non-profit, welding education organization founded in 1936 to promote welding as a better method of joining metals and to promote welding as a career choice. It is the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to educating the public about the art and science of arc welding. Formed when the arc welding industry was in its infancy, the Foundation is now in its seventh decade of publishing educational texts and granting cash awards to recognize technical achievements.[10]

The Lincoln Electric Welding School was set up in 1917, and has since then instructed over 100,000 men and women in the various methods and techniques of safety and arc welding processes. The school is listed by the Ohio State Board of School and College Registration.[11]

Lincoln Products[edit]

Welding equipment manufactured by Lincoln [12][edit]

  • Stick Welders
  • TIG Welders
  • MIG Flux-Cored Welders
  • Multi-Process Welders
  • Advanced Process Welders
  • Multi-Operator Welders
  • Engine Driven Welders
  • Semiautomatic Wire Feeders
  • Submerged Arc Welders
  • Submerged Arc Wire Feeders
  • Plasma Cutters
  • Welding Guns
  • Torches
  • Welding Gear
  • Robotic Automation
  • Weld Fume Control
  • Accessories
  • Training Equipment
  • Wire Delivery Products
  • New and Featured Equipment
  • Retail Products
  • International Products

Consumables manufactured by Lincoln [13][edit]

  • Stick Electrodes
  • MIG Wires and TIG Cut Lengths
  • Metal-Cored Wires - Gas-Shielded
  • Flux-Cored Wires - Self-Shielded
  • Flux-Cored Wires - Gas-Shielded
  • Submerged Arc
  • Stainless and High Alloy
  • Hardfacing
  • Aluminum MIG and TIG Products
  • Pipeliner

Industries served by Lincoln[14][edit]

  • Automotive/Transportation
  • General Fabrication
  • Heavy Fabrication
  • Maintenance & Repair
  • Offshore
  • Pipeline
  • Pipe Mill
  • Power Generation & Process
  • LNG
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Pressure Vessel
  • Thermal Energy
  • Wind Power
  • Shipbuilding
  • Structural

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Koller, Frank (2010). Spark: How Old-Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty-First-Century Corporation: Lessons from Lincoln Electric's Unique Guaranteed Employment Program. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-795-7. 

External links[edit]