The History of the Iconic ‘Rosie The Riveter’

by Rapid Welding 3. August 2020 13:28

The History of the Iconic ‘Rosie The Riveter’


The "We Can Do It!" poster, which years later became widely recognised as the uplifting image of “Rosie The Riveter”, was one of a number of works produced by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller in 1943 for Westinghouse Electric, an American manufacturing company making turbines, generators and motors.   

Evidence suggests the poster was aimed at inspiring the internal workforce at Westinghouse and to boost morale during the war effort, not as a wider/national recruitment tool for women to fill the vacant positions in factories left by men enlisted to help the war effort, as some believe. In fact, the “We Can Do It” poster was only displayed for a short period at Westinghouse during the February of 1943, before disappearing for nearly four decades! (!)

Although there was originally a case of mistaken identity over who the young female worker in the poster was, there is evidence to suggest it was a young lady named Naomi Parker. Naomi, along with her sister, Ada, worked on aircraft assembly at the Alameda Naval Air Station. A photograph, taken in early 1942 of her operating a machine tool is now thought to be the source of Miller’s vision, although this cannot be confirmed.

Whoever the young lady was who provided the inspiration, it is clear that “Rosie the Riveter” is an image that has stood the test of time, still widely used today as a representation of strength, motivation and empowerment of women.  Makes you wonder if J. Howard Miller knew when putting pen to paper that the female image depicted in the poster he would create would eventually become not only the cultural icon of WW2; a much loved representation of the remarkable women who worked in factories and shipyards during this time, but also the embodiment of strong women in the modern era.


Women in Welding History: The “Shipyard Girls” of WW2

by Rapid Welding 3. August 2020 13:20

Women in Welding History: The “Shipyard Girls” of WW2


By mid-1943, almost ’90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were working in factories, on the land or in the armed forces, filling vital roles while men were required to go to war ( These jobs included women stepping into positions that had never been available to them before – such were the traditions at the time, becoming engineers, ship builders, working in factories making aircraft parts and producing munitions.

Some of the roles, like welding, came after quick training but required long, labour intensive shifts throughout the night, such as on the ship building yards. Other women undertook difficult and dangerous roles carried out with little safety equipment or PPE, all the while under the threat of air raids. One standout fact when reading into the history of women at this time, is the strong sense of duty and camaraderie shared with fellow workers, often forging unbreakable friendships that would see them through the hardships they faced on a daily basis.

Nancy Revell’s, ‘The Shipyard Girls’ series of books explores the subject of women on the home-front during WW2. Born into a family of shipbuilders in Sunderland, Nancy was struck by what she found during her research; the black and white images of women on overalls, welding masks and gloves, stepping into new roles such as welding and riveting, but at the same time forging strong friendships with their workmates.

Despite the lack of historical recognition many of these woman received for their role in the war effort, it’s impossible not to be impressed with how they stepped away from their previous lives into what were at the time considered jobs for men, creating a shift in the perceptions of women workers and forever changing the world of work for women.

Fast forward to today, women are actively encouraged to look at opportunities within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with exposure to these avenues starting from a young age in schools. Supporting learning and encouraging participation provides all the right ingredients for those interested in STEM activities to hopefully pursue a career in this field. 


Ruth Amos, Co-Creator of “Kids Invent Stuff”, Speaks to Rapid

by Rapid Welding 3. August 2020 12:54

Ruth Amos, Co-Creator of “Kids Invent Stuff” speaks to Rapid about her YouTube channel and challenging stereotypes


As part of our August focus on “Women in Welding”, we’re delighted to share our chat with Ruth Amos, co-creator of the amazing “Kids Invent Stuff” YouTube channel.

“You don’t look like an Engineer!” .......

Comments like this certainly didn’t stop Ruth Amos from missing out on the career she now loves, swerving a beckoning path into Law to instead follow her heart into the Engineering industry.

A passionate hobby welder, Ruth freely admits she was enthralled from a young age with the process of engineering and manufacturing, being drawn to working with all materials such as metal and wood as well as mechanical and electrical processes. Raw materials going in, products coming out; the concept of building things was enough to engage her creative mind and stick.

Since she was 16 years old Ruth has been around manufacturing, having started off designing and realising projects during her GCSE’s before inventing a ‘stair aid’, a concept Ruth developed from scratch, built, and ultimately brought to market. It was upon meeting fellow Engineer and designer, Shaun Brown, at the Big Bang Fair (UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair) that set the ball in motion to creating an online platform, and in 2016 they put together a test programme that would eventually become ‘Kids Invent Stuff.”

Aimed at primary school ages, “Kids Invent Stuff” is a YouTube channel (as seen on The One Show, BBC News Online and Tomorrows World Live) encouraging youngsters to engage with real engineering projects and submit ideas for inventions for the team to build and test on camera. As you can imagine it makes for brilliant viewing! Passionate about challenging stereotypes, one of Ruth’s most memorable projects was bringing to life 8 year old Courtney’s Mega Fun Grappling Hook Zipwire, perfect for Princesses who don’t need Princes to rescue them from the tower, they can make their escape themselves!

Now Ruth is determined to make sure other young people don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience engineering as a potential hobby or future career pathway, either through misplaced stereotypes or simply because the right signposts weren’t there at the right age. Regardless of gender, background or ability, engineering should be accessible to all and Ruth has created a fun and engaging platform through which to highlight this, encouraging young people to think “I can do that”, and give Engineering a try.

And what of welding?

“It’s like sewing with fire!” is Ruth’s enthusiastic response to my question “what is it that drew you to give welding a go?” After initially starting out with a welding helmet purchased off Amazon and a friend willing to lend out their plasma cutter, Ruth was introduced to Lincoln Electric who were keen to support ‘woman in welding’. The team at Lincoln generously provided weld training as well as kit consisting of Lincoln’s Speedtech 215 and 200 - the latter Ruth is particularly fond of as it fits perfectly in the back of her Ford Ka. Not only that, as well as offering both TIG and ARC welding, they are great machines to learn to weld on, too!

Lincoln Electric are also launching their brilliant WELD’her range of clothing and PPE, consisting of a welding helmet, jacket and gloves aimed at our lady welders. You can see these fantastic products in action in Ruth’s latest video!

Click here to watch Ruth in action as she welds a giant electric toothbrush!

The WELD’her range is available to shop online now on the Rapid website!




Meet the Team – Terry Caldecott (Stores & Logistics)

by Rapid Welding 16. July 2020 12:09

Meet the Team – Terry Caldecott (Stores & Logistics)

Terry has been part of the Rapid Family for almost 8 years and works within the Stores and Logistics team.

Having previously been one of our delivery drivers, Terry is an allrounder and was also part of the team working throughout lockdown to ensure our customers’ orders were still fulfilled an dispatched Rapidly!

Terry commented, “Outside of work I see my two sons (who I love very much) as much as I can, and am guilty of spending time playing on my Playstation 4 with them, playing board games, or stomping around country parks and woodland areas for exercise. When not seeing my boys I like to DJ - I have done this on online radio stations and at many parties over the years, since I began when I was 16 years old. I also like to raise money for my chosen charity, Autism Hampshire. For the cause I have abseiled down the spinnaker tower and jumped out of a plane at 10,000ft (twice)!”


Businesses Supporting Businesses

by Rapid Welding 7. July 2020 13:30

Believe it or not, it's not unusual for us to inform our customers that their order is 'booked to arrive on the island by Hovercraft'. 

Well, that's what can happen if you need a plasma cutter delivered to the Isle of Wight, anyway!

For some businesses it has been a challenging time recently, while for others work has continued and in some cases, boomed! For the latter, the sustained or increased demand during Lockdown has posed challenges of its own with regards to supply, particularly with some sellers being forced to close due to the pandemic. Fortunately, both Rapid and RentArc have remained open during these challenging months, with Rapid being identified as a critical supplier under the UK MOD Programme, supporting key customers. Which means we have been able to step in and respond to 'calls for help' from businesses in need of our services, enabling them to continue production.


Hydromar Ltd, based on the island, have had a very busy few months processing medically urgent components. They have very kindly mentioned us in their recent LinkedIn post after we were able to supply the plasma cutter hire they needed to continue their critical work, delivered by hovercraft no less!.



Meet the Team – Dave Austin (IT Manager)

by Rapid Welding 24. June 2020 17:23

Meet the Team – Dave Austin (IT Manager)

Dave Austin, Rapid’s IT Manager, has been at Rapid for the past 15 years, in a diverse and challenging role, working with others to innovate and enhance both Rapid’s offering and our systems. Whether it’s a new feature on the web, a mod to an internal system, or just keeping all the systems up and running, Dave says that seeing the impact across the businesses is very fulfilling for him. “Through the ups and downs of life, Rapid have always been very supportive, showing how the Rapid Experience works on many levels.” 

Outside of work, Dave’s hobbies include collecting old Sci-fi books (and reading them), watching old films, and keeping the ubiquitous Stan (the cat) happy (more of a job than a hobby he says!),


Rapid’s Service Department: Benefits of the Kemppi ArcValidator

by Rapid Welding 24. June 2020 17:11

Rapid’s Service Department: Benefits of the Kemppi ArcValidator

The Kemppi ArcValidator is a systematic and accurate validation solution for our customers that links both workshop and office-based process, meeting both local quality control and national validation standards requirements to EN 50504 and IEC EN 60974-14. 



At Rapid we have 3 validators, and 6 members of staff in our service department are trained to use them. With the ArcValidator, we can connect and validate your welding equipment from other welding equipment manufacturers easily, without any separate adapters.

The ArcValidator has plenty of advantages and benefits to our customers:

  1. It’s a quicker process, so the machine doesn’t have to be out of production for longer than necessary.
  2. It essentially removes all human error due to the machine carrying out most of the work and calculations itself.
  3. Its more accurate than other “approved” test equipment e.g. clamp meters.
  4. It validates machines to the latest specification, including wire feeders
  5. It has the option of standard or precision validation.
  6. Having more than 1 machine in our service department enables us to be able to offer this service all year round, even when one is sent away for its own calibration.
  7. The validator is only available to Kemppi approved workshops, so you can rest-assured it is being carried out by a trained member of staff.
  8. The machine is able to validate nearly all makes and models.

 Other advantages of using our service department include:

  1. All staff who carry out validation are trained on validation.
  2. We only use the latest top spec equipment to carry out validation.
  3. We carry out over 1200 validations a year (We carried out 1282 between 01/04/2019 and 31/03/2020).
  4. We carry out the required annual electrical inspection to BS EN 60974-4:2016, to ensure your equipment is safe to use at the same time.
  5. All certificates are available from our web portal 24/7.
  6. Reminders are sent when machines are due.
  7. Our validation procedure is audited for our ISO9001 accreditation.
  8. We can service your welding equipment at the same convenient time (and gas test), saving on down time and cost.

You can find out more about our Service Department, including contact details by clicking here. For more information about the Kemppi ArcValidator, click here. 


Welders Supporting Welders - Presenting Bling Back Caps from Rate My Weld

by Rapid Welding 29. May 2020 11:04


Bling Back Caps from Rate My Weld

For those of us who weld, we know it's not just about fusing two pieces of metal together, for welding is often referred to as 'art' and like all artists, welders take pride in what they do. It also goes without saying that we take pride in what we weld with!

Now, if you're keen to show off your artistic flair to the maximum, then you really, REALLY need to check this out!

'High Quality Hand Crafted Bling for your TIG Torch'

Bling Back Caps from Rate My Weld are a uniquely designed, custom-made product hand-crafted in the UK, and we're delighted to promote this fantastic bit of fashion for your Tig torch because, well ..... basically, we think it's brilliant!

Back Caps twist onto the back of the torch, applying pressure to the back end of the collet and holding the tungston in place. Something a bit special, Bling Back Caps are as individual as the person holding the torch, and the pictures really don't do justice to the colours and patterns available. Sold in sets of three - short, medium and long, and presented in a stylish and protective flight case, these one of a kind Back Caps are available to purchase directly from Rate My Weld Custom Acrylic Shop and are perfectly suited to our best selling 2 and 3 series CK Worldwide torches. 

The only question you need to ask yourself is, which colour do you want?


  Picture shared by one very happy 'Rate My Weld' customer



Rate My Weld - Custom Acrylic

Rapid Welding

CK Worldwide Tig Torches


Welders Supporting Welders


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Meet the team: Andy Doe, Sales Director

by Rapid Welding 14. May 2020 13:30

Meet the team: Andy DoeSales Director 


'Ask Andy'

The wonderful Mr Andy Doe has a longstanding career in the welding industry, having first studied a welding course at a local tech college while still at school. Nowadays, Andy (AKA 'Ask Andy') is the Sales Director at Rapid Welding and the man with the answers to all your welding queries.

Judging by the feedback we regularly receive, our customers find his experience and advice invaluable when making purchasing decisions.

Fun Fact: Andy's worst welding moment was using a 100 amp Plasma cutter for a whole morning without eye protection, freely admitting he was young and didn't give it the respect it deserved. The result was…he couldn’t see for two days! You've been warned people!


Here’s just a few examples of the lovely comments and feedback we’ve received about Andy!

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Rapid Supports the Isle of Wight Hospice for a 5th Year

by Rapid Welding 14. May 2020 12:22

Rapid Supports the Isle of Wight Hospice for a 5th Year


Under the current guidance as a result of COVID-19, Rapid’s Business Manager, Marianne Edwards, has been making the most of her daily exercise allowance. 

Whilst Rapid & RentArc's chosen charity this year is Wessex Heartbeat, there is one annual fundraising event that Marianne always takes part in on the Isle of Wight, where she resides.

‘Walk the Wight’ is held in aid of the Island’s hospice, and this year would have been Marianne’s fifth time participating. Sadly, the organised walk for Sunday 10th May was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but with a few tweaks to meet current social distancing measures the event was able to continue, and 'Walk the Wight' became ‘Walk the Wight Your Way’.

As an added bonus, participants are allowed to sign up their dogs to take part, too, receiving their own number, bandana and a medal. This was too good an opportunity to pass up for Marianne. Making this challenge extra special, Marianne was accompanied by Scarlet, her beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback and regular training partner. Together, these six legs covered the distance of 26.2 miles from East (Bembridge) to West (Alum Bay).

Incredibly well organised, walkers were provided with maps of accessible routes on the island, meaning the event was able to continue in spirit and enabling participants to raise money and support this great cause; which each year raises around £250,000!

A bit of trivia for you: To date, Scarlet and Marianne have each walked a whopping 214 miles - enough to have walked around the Island coastal path (67 miles), North to South (13 miles) and East to West (24 miles) ..... TWICE!

You can find out more about ‘Walk the Wight Your Way’ and support this very worthwhile cause here:

Marianne & Scarlet heading out for their daily walk!

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