An Antique Birdsell Welder

A reader named John sent in some pictures of an old Birdsell Welder that he had acquired. He’s looking for any information about it, so if any of you know something about this machine, please leave a comment or contact me and i’ll pass the information along. There doesn’t seem to be much on the internet about this company. I did find a Birdsell Mfg Co, Inc based in South Bend Indiana that manufactured farm machinery, but i’m not sure if it’s related to this. So, if anyone knows anything, we’d love to hear about it!

From the data plate:

    Primary Voltage 115 volts / 230 volts
    Secondary Volatage 53 volts Open Circuit / 25 volts under load
    Output Current = 115 amps @ 20% duty cycle
    6.3 kva
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26 Responses to An Antique Birdsell Welder

  1. Thyler James Richard Birdsell says:

    Hey guys check this out, my great grandfather invented the birdsell welder i honestly dont know hardly anything about them but i thought id brag a little haha

  2. Wayne Kelly says:

    My father-in-law just give me a Birdsell model #425 tig welder, I’m not looking for parts for it as it works flawless. I am looking for any info on the machine. All I know is it’s a retired military unit. It’s been in service for 20 years at his aircraft oil cooler service center. He got a helluva bargain on a Lincoln 355 square wave tig and couldn’t pass it up.

  3. Rey Seijas says:

    When I graduated from High School in 1957 I got a job winding coils and stacking transformer cores making the transformers that were in the Birdsell welders being built at Birdsell on 750 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto CA. Mr Birdsell also sold transformers under the name Thor Tran sformers, later on the company was sold and relocated under a different name to near El Monte Ca.

  4. eldon says:

    I have one just like. Got from my uncle he got in 1953.
    I just used it 15 minutes ago.
    I am working on a trailer.

    I let sit for a long time punger does not work any longer so I use different rods for amount of pentration I want. Mostly use 1/16 and 1/8 rod.
    I do not plan to get rid of, even though have a flux core mig.

  5. matt says:

    just bought a birdsell, it was great to visit this site before purchase to know they are a decent name (although old). It was cheap. The dataplate is really beatup but I can see that Birdsell is an “Affiliate of Susquehenna Sciences INc”. I google this with Birdsell, and I find… nothing. I can also make out that it was made in Pasadena California. It is not a metal dataplate as pictured above but a sticker type.

    My data plate is barely legible but I think it says
    (?can’t read first# before cycles?) Cycles:60, Phase:1
    Primary 115V, 75A; 230V 37.5(?can’t read units?)
    50 K.W.
    Secondary 25v loaded, 190A; 55v open circuit, 20% duty cycle.

    Now I am trying to make sure I hook it up correctly. What amperage outlet should I use? I test welded just connected to my 3 prong dryer outlet, rated 40 amps, but don’t know if that is enough.

    Also does anybody understand the rationale for the amperage control? How does sliding that handle up and down change anything under the hood?



  6. Jack Odom says:

    My brother has a Smith AC welder Model M 20-20. Does anyone know how old it is or if it has any antique value. Jack Odom

  7. kayla BIRDSELL says:

    weeeelllll i am the great-grandaughter of Harold Birdsell who invented this welder…. i will find out more info and tell u all about this welder. it is a really good one (so my grandma and dad have told me) i personaly never seen one till now. but i will let you know more.

  8. Lynn says:

    I bought a welder that looks exactly like this. It is Model 190A 60 cycle. Have never used it and just posted it on Craigslist San Francisco for $50. I sold one a few years ago and the guy that bought it loves it. The one I have looks to be in excellent condition, especially for its age. I never would have guessed it is as old as it sounds like it is.

  9. Ryan says:

    I have some parts for one of these if anyone’s interested

  10. Roy McIntosh says:

    I have a Birdsell welder sn 224912 that I have owned for fourty years. It was used by an engine rebuilder in Los Angeles in its earlier life. If anyone is interested It is in Southern California

  11. Neil says:

    I also have an old Birdsell 170. I think it is an excellent old welder. One of the most significant features is that it is HEAVY. To me, that means it has some pretty hefty windings in it, and is not one of these new ‘buzz boxes’ you buy at Sears.

    I worked for a high tech manufacturing company years (commercial aircraft) years ago. My company bought several old stick arc welders after WW2. They were great big old things. The welder guys had their choice of any welder in the world, which were already on the factory floor. These guys would sit there and wait until one of these old welders came available and have it hauled across the plan to their job rather than use a new high tech welder.

    They like the big, fat arc these old things produce. The Birdsell is a smaller version of these old bad boys, in my opinion.

    Unfortunately, i made my career in IT, so after 20 years of owning this and never using it, it is headed for craigslist.

    my $0.02 worth. Enjoy.

  12. admin says:

    Hi Mike. I’m finding that Birdsell welders were a lot more popular than i thought. I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments about them. If you’d like to post it in the welding classifieds section of the forum here you may get a little more exposure. You can find it here: Welding Classifieds

  13. Mike Daughtrey says:

    I have and really old Birdsell welder, it came from Otis elevator company, they replace some of there old welds here in the San Francisco area sometime around 1975. My brother in law knew the welding supplier who sold them the new ones so I got a couple of the Birdsell’s and fixed then up, the one I have is missing the top cover and the cables are cracked and not in very good shape but it still works good. I was running it on 220 volts and I think it puts out around 150 to 180 amps. If there is anybody in the bay area who wants it I would like to get rid of it.

    Mike Daughtrey

  14. Tony Herrera says:

    By the way, pictures of that old Weldco can be seen at:

    Any help identifying it and putting a value on it will be greatly appreciated.



  15. Tony Herrera says:


    I have this old Weldco welder. It says San Francisco/Weldco on the diamond shaped logo on the label.
    Anyone know what year this is from? I just got an old Miller AC machine that will replace this one and want to sell it. I don’t know if it is better to sell it as an antique or as a vintage welder.

    My assessment is that it is from 1920’s or 30’s vintage. It has been a good welder for me, but time to move on.



  16. Lester Scheffler says:

    I took another look at my Birdsell welder and it looks very similar to the one pictured except that it is a 190A and the secondary amp rating is 190 amps at 20% rather than 115. The primary amp draw is listed as 75 at 115 volts and 37.5 at 230 volts. I have bcome interesed in old welders since my retirement and would welcome any corespondence from other welder enthusiasts. I can be reached by email at.

  17. Lester Scheffler says:

    I have one of the Birdsell welders that I purchsed at a yard sale, I havent tried it yet. I also have a Welco welder that is of very similar design to the Birdsel except that it is a little smaller, I believe it is only 70 amps rather than 190. If anyone has any information on Weldco i would appreciate it. Lester.

  18. Jon Ellwood says:

    I have a Birdsell Model 250 welder, serial 1157. Its for sell if anyone wants it. I’ve never used it, the cords are frayed. All I know is its old and heavy.

  19. charles says:

    I have a BIRDSELL arc welder that is for sale. It was working good the last time my father used it about 10 years ago. Feel free to contact me at
    I’m in San Diego Calif

  20. pete trevisan says:

    I have a Birdsell arc welder, made in Los Altos CA. that I was thinking of using, selling whole or for parts.

  21. admin says:

    Hi Tara. As i mentioned to Jack, I don’t personally own one, but I have talked to a few people that own them, or have used them. From what they’ve said about them, they’re a good old welder. And judging by the number of them that are still working, they seem to be quite reliable. If I find out any more information, I’ll definitely update this page. And if you find out any more about them, feel free to let us know too. Good luck with yours!

  22. admin says:

    Hi Jack. I personally don’t have one of these welders, but i often get emails from people that do. If I become aware of anyone that has parts, I’ll be sure to let you know. And if anyone reading this has parts for it or any other welder that I’ve shown, feel free to leave a comment here or in the appropriate category, or email me.

  23. Tara Lynch says:

    My husband just got one of these that belonged to his grandfather. He’s been gone for 21 years, and the family seems to think it’s about 70 years old. Were looking to find out more about them too. Please let me here if you find out anything. Ours works wonderfully, how about yours?

  24. jack gattie says:

    I have fixed a few of these, and was needing a few parts are you interested in selling some parts?

  25. Rick R. Shaeffer says:

    I have a birdsell welder and would like any information you may get. Thanks

    p.s. I have not used the welder yet I got it at a sale for $50.

  26. david says:

    hey! my nefew picked up one just like that one at a garage sale , the only difference is the cord. he’s has 3 large aligator clips instead of a plug.
    if you find any thing please let me know also.

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