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Soldering Guns

Soldering guns appeared just after World War II when Carl Weller introduced the first "Speedy Iron" instant heat soldering gun.

Although many electric soldering irons were shaped like guns, I only consider it a gun if it has a trigger that turns it on and/or controls the heat.
soldering gun hold-up

Weller Speedy Irons The New Weller Speedy Iron - 1946
This is one of Carl E. Weller's first soldering guns manufactured in Easton PA.

Weller began manufacturing soldering guns in his basement in 1945. Incorporating a step-down transformer and a copper tip gave his new soldering gun the ability to deliver heat quickly and also cool quickly. This made it instantly popular for field service as there was no waiting for it to heat before use or cool before putting it back in the tool box. Weller received the patent for his new soldering gun in 1946.

I have obtained a photo of the wooden gun the Smithsonian has on display. It is cataloged as a prototype of Weller's first commercial gun, the Speedy Iron Model B. I don't have permission to post the photo yet but it is the same shape as the model B but with a case made from wood.

Pictured is the earlist Speedy Iron I have. It still works.

Find more information, other versions, patents, advertisments, and photos here:
The Weller Speedy Iron Soldering Gun
May 1963 Article In May of 1963 Popular Science magazine published an article on Carl Weller's invention, the instant heat soldering gun. You may read the entire article here covering the history and the theory behind the gun, and view photos and schematics of it's inner workings.

1963 Popular Science Article

Handmade Wooden Soldering Gun Larger Photo Right Larger Photo Inside Larger Photo Front Larger Photo Left
Handmade Soldering Gun
Weller's First?

This soldering gun was obviously hand made. It utilizes a step-down transformer. It was found at an estate sale in Pennsylvania. Carl Weller made 275 wooden prototypes in his Easton PA basement and sold them to radio shops before he opened up his manufacturing plant. I have no further details on this gun. Could this be one of Weller's very early prototypes? Someone put a lot of work into building this soldering gun. If anyone has a similar handmade soldering gun or remembers Wellers first wooden guns please contact me.

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Handmade Soldering Gun Handmade Soldering Gun
This soldering gun was obviously hand made also. The handle seems to be made out of some type of heavy plastic. It utilizes a step-down transformer.

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1948 Weller D-207 Soldering Gun Weller D-207 Soldering Gun - 1947
This is another one of Weller's early style of soldering guns. Notice the tip plugs are horizontal, not vertically positioned like today's guns. The D-207 also has a lamp to light the work area. The D-207 is a dual heat 100/135 watt gun. The S-107 was a single heat 100 watt gun. After installing a newer tip (D-207 type B) this gun still works perfectly after 60+ years.
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   1947 Ad         1948 Ad
1947 Weller Ad 1948 Weller Ad

1948 Weller S-107 Soldering Gun Weller S-107 Soldering Gun - 1947
Another of Weller's early style of soldering guns. This S-107 is the 100 watt single heat version of the D-207.
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   1947 Ad         1948 Ad
1947 Weller Ad 1948 Weller Ad

Weller WD-135 Soldering Gun Weller WD-135 Soldering Gun
This 1950s Weller WD-135 Soldering Gun is one of my favorites. I love the style. It has dual heat, and two #222 lamps. It is similar to the Weller Jr. below but with a longer 6" reach. This one has a brown bakelite case with a dark red trigger.
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Weller Jr. Soldering Set 8100K Weller Jr. Soldering Set #8100K
This soldering gun set manufactured by Weller contains the Weller Jr. 100 watt #8100 soldering gun, a roll of Kester rosen-core solder, instructions and tools.
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Soldering Tips Booklet (PDF file)
1954 Ad1954 Ad

Weller D-440 Soldering Gun Weller D-440 Soldering Gun

The model D-440 gun by Weller is a dual heat 100/150 watt gun. It has two lamps to light the work area. This D-440 also has a long reach of 5¼" from the body to the end of the tip.
There is also a 145/210 watt version.
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Weller D-550 Soldering Gun Weller D-550 Soldering Gun

The D-550 gun by Weller is a dual heat 200/275 watt gun and one of their largest.
This is an early D-550 model with a brown case. The second photo below shows the inside with the step-down transformer. After replacing the tip the gun works like new.
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Inside Photo

Weller 8200 N Soldering Gun Weller 8200 N Soldering Gun

This soldering gun by Weller is probably the most popular and widely used soldering gun of all time. Sold for both industrial and home use, variations of this model have been on the market for many years.
The 8200 N is a dual heat 100/140 watt gun.
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Weller 8250A Soldering Gun Kit Weller 8250A Soldering Gun Kit

This Weller 8250A kit by Weller contained the 8250A, 250 watt soldering gun, three different tips, a wrench to change tips, a roll of Kester multi-core solder, instructions, and an easy guide to soldering. This kit came in a nice metal case.
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Weller Nuts Vs Screws
Older vs. Newer
Older Weller guns used nuts to fasten the tip. Newer Weller guns use set screws to hold the tip. When considering a purchase of a used Weller gun, my personal preference is the older style gun with the nuts. I (and many others) have found the set screws are easier to strip and don't make contact with the tip as well as the older style nuts. Unfortunately Weller guns are probably cheaper to manufacturer now with the set screws but with regular use an older used Weller gun with nuts will probably out last the newer Weller guns with set screws.

Freehand Solder Feeder Freehand Solder Feeder
This "Freehand Solder Feeder" attaches to a Weller 8200 series soldering gun. It was manufactured by Schurman Products Inc. The solder is fed from a spool on the back and is advanced by pulling the lever on the left side down with your thumb. A cable from the lever advances the solder by turning a toothed wheel inside the housing.

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Installed On Weller 8200

More Self-Feeding Irons and Attachments

Oneida De-Soldering Attachment Oneida De-Soldering Attachment
This Oneida de-soldering Attachment was made to attach to the Weller 8200 series soldering guns. The fitting with nuts replaces the Weller tip. Manufactured by the Oneida Electronic Manufacturing Company, Meadville, PA.
In Box
Attached to Weller gun
Instructions (PDF file)

Craftsman 100 Soldering Gun Craftsman 100 - Two Heat Soldering Gun
This Sears Craftsman soldering gun has an on/off trigger, light, and a knob on the back to select between 100 and 130 watts. The tie clip shown below sports the Craftsman model 100 soldering gun.

Craftsman 100 Soldering Gun Tie Clip

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Tie Clip
Instructions (PDF file)

Craftsman 5376 Soldering Gun Craftsman 5376 Soldering Gun - Home Utility Kit
This is a home soldering gun kit sold by Sears that contained a soldering gun and three tips.
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Craftsman 5380 Soldering Gun Craftsman 5380 Home Utility Electric Soldering Gun Kit
This is a home electrical soldering gun kit sold by Sears that contained a soldering gun with four tips.
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Craftsman 5400 Soldering Gun Craftsman 5400 Soldering Gun
The Craftsman 5400, 135 watt Soldering Gun was manufactured by Weller for Sears. It is the exact same model as the Weller WD-135 soldering gun listed above but has a Craftsman badge on both sides.
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Drake 900 Soldering Gun Drake Model 900 Soldering Gun
Drake model 900, 135 watt soldering gun. I'm pretty sure the 6 inch tip is homemade from solid copper wire.
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Drake 905 Soldering Gun Drake Soldering Gun Kit
This kit contains the Drake model 905, 250 watt soldering gun, tips, and instructions in a metal box.
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HexAcon G14 Soldering Gun HexAcon G14 Featherweight Instant Soldering Gun 1955/1956
The HexAcon G14 150 watt soldering gun touts it's lightweight (8 oz.) and it's lack of a bulky transformer. It does heat within a few seconds but even after cleaning I could not tin the tip.
This HexAcon G14 soldering gun was sold in 1956 and cost $3.97.
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In Box
Original Receipt
Sales Brochure

Lenk 501 Soldering Gun Lenk 501 Soldering Gun
The Lenk 501 soldering gun is 180 watts. The 501's illuminated tip (GE #222 bulb) rotates in an upward or downward angle. The bulb can be also be adjusted to aim directly at the point being soldered.

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Lenk LG 400 Soldering Gun Lenk LG 400 Soldering Gun
This Lenk LG 400 (w/400 TE tip) soldering gun is a 150 watt gun. It starts at 400 watts until the tip reaches temperature then runs at 150 watts during soldering. It uses a standard 120 volt, 7 watt night light bulb to illuminate the work area.
After the Weller 8200 series guns, this is probably the second most popular soldering gun used in manufacturing.
I have seen this gun with different manufacturers logos including the RCA logo.
It is still manufactured by the Wall Lenk Corp., Kinston NC.

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WEN 75 Soldering Pistol WEN Model 75 Electric Soldering Pistol with A.T.R. (Automatic Thermal Regulation)
OK, so I guess from the shape it's not a gun, it's a pistol. Introduced in 1963, the Wen pistol is 50 Watts and features a work spotlight, trigger switch, and a comfortable pistol grip.
I doubt a serious tech would be seen with this one but if you are seven and learning how to solder this would be cool. Manufactured by WEN Products Inc. Chicago IL.
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Instructions and Parts List

Wen 100 Soldering Gun WEN Model 100 Soldering Gun
Model 100 soldering gun sold by WEN Products Inc. Chicago IL. Kind of a stubby little thing. It takes a minute or so to heat up. Looks like an earlier version of the model 100 gun in the 100K kit below with a shorter tip.
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Wen 100K Soldering Gun Kit WEN Model 100K Soldering Gun Kit
Model 100K soldering gun kit sold by WEN Products Inc. Chicago IL. It contained the Wen model 100 (100 watt) gun, a soldering tip, and a cutting tip along with rosen-core solder.
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Instructions and Guarantee
WEN 1965 Catalog Page

Wen 199 Soldering Gun WEN Model 199 Soldering Gun
Model 199 (130 watt) soldering gun sold by WEN Products Inc. Chicago IL.
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WEN 1965 Catalog Page
WEN Brochure

Wen 250 Soldering Gun Kit WEN Model 250 Electric Soldering Gun
Model 250 (250 watt) soldering gun kit by WEN Products Inc. Chicago IL.
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Instructions and Parts List
WEN Brochure

ESICO Gunchoke ESICO Gunchoke
ESICO gunchokes limited the temperature of a soldering gun to 500 or 600 degrees to allow for soldering of early printed circuit boards which could not take the high temperatures produced by most large soldering guns. The gunchoke plugs into the AC source and the gun plugs into the appropriate plug on the end. Sold by model/manufacture of gun. The particular gunchoke pictured is a model WE1 is for the WEN model 199 soldering gun above. Manufactured by ESICO - Electric Soldering Iron Co. Inc., Deep River, Conn. U.S.A. in the late 1950s/early 60s.
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Photo - WE1 (for Wen 199 Soldering Gun)
Photo - W8 (for Weller 8100 Soldering Gun)
Heat Times by model

ESICO Luger Soldering Gun ESICO Luger Soldering Gun
ESICO Luger Model C Manufactured by ESICO - Electric Soldering Iron Co. Inc., Deep River, Conn. U.S.A.
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Right Side

ESICO Soldering Tip Display Card ESICO Luger Tip Counter Display Card
ESICO Counter Display Card for various Luger soldering tips available for the Esico "Luger" soldering gun.
ESICO - Electric Soldering Iron Co. Inc., Deep River, Conn. U.S.A.

Snap-On R250 Soldering Gun Snap-On R250 Soldering Gun
This beast weighs in at over three pounds. At 250 watts it's one of the largest in my collection. It proably spent most of its life in an auto shop. It looks like it was manufactured by Wen and the same as their model 250 above.
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