History: Beginnings



While the welding industry has existed for many years, the history of the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative, Inc., dates back to the end of World War II.

Prior to World War II, welding gases and supplies were sold by manufacturers directly to end users. Following the war, however, large gas manufacturers tried to rid themselves of the cost and nuisance of selling directly to smaller customers and “encouraged” customers to buy from warehouses, auto parts houses, farm equipment dealers, hardware stores, and many other suppliers.

As the dust settled and a distribution system grew, hard goods manufacturers also saw the value of such an arrangement and followed suit.  However, they added a new twist: they wanted to hold on to their largest customers and forced distributors, by contract, not to sell certain businesses (“hold-out accounts”) in the distributors’ territories.

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