The First Uses of Tungsten Carbide

By now, you have probably come to realize the benefits of a tungsten carbide ring over any other type of metal-based ring. While admittedly it does not have the price of gold, platinum or silver, a tungsten carbide ring also does carry the same beauty associated with jewelry made of those other metals. While tungsten carbide rings also do carry the benefits of strength, durability and resistance that those other metals do not while not losing its aesthetic qualities. However, there is much more to tungsten than simply being a fashionable choice for jewelry. In fact, jewelry was not even what tungsten was first used for.


At the beginning of the twentieth century, well over 200 years after its discovery, tungsten found its first important use. As you may be aware, tungsten is a very strong metal, but it is also very heat resistant. At the turn of the century, electric lamp manufacturers were looking for replacement to carbon filaments used in most lamps. A strong, heat-resistant material was needed for the task. At that point in time, scientists knew tungsten had the qualities that were desired as a filament replacement, because it was extremely strong and very heat resistant. However, the qualities that make tungsten so desirable also made tungsten extremely difficult to turn into the fine wire needed for a filament.

It was not until approximately 1903 when a United States chemist, William D. Coolidge discovered how to make tungsten wire. He packed tungsten powder into thin bars and sintered them at high temperatures. After doing this, he was able to shape the bars into rods. After the rods are formed fine wire can be drawn from them. To this day, not much has changed from Coolidge’s method. However, some improvements have been made, such as adding other materials to make the thin filaments that much more resistant to melting. The higher resistance and strength ensures that the filaments can serve their purpose for a longer time.

Using the methods established by Coolidge with the improvements tungsten filaments are used in a wide array of lamps to this day. They are used from all sorts of lamps from automobile lamps to reflector lamps. In addition, tungsten is used in specialty things that help with our nation’s transportation, such as airport runway markers.

The tungsten material serves many purposes these days. While now it has gained prominence in the public eye as a part of the jewelry industry in the form of tungsten wedding bands, it has been a part of our daily lives for the same characteristics that have become desirable in a jewelry choice.

Tungsten Jewelry

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Zack Mason

Before joining Tungsten Rings & Co., Zack Mason has worked in the jewelry industry for several years. Mason performed work on engraving, resizing, and jewelry working for several types of precious metals such as gold, platinum and even alternative metals such as palladium. Prior to working in the jewelry industry, Mason was a staff reporter for a local newspaper where he developed and tuned his writing skills. There are few jewelers in the industry with this type of experience. Read More

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