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1940s: Miller Serves World War II Demands

World War II challenged the nation in many ways. Most notably, factories geared production for the war effort. Throughout the early 1940s, all of Miller's output went for government defense and large lend-lease contracts. For the duration of the war, the Miller plant operated around the clock. Each shift worked a 60-hour week as Miller welders became important equipment in shipyards and defense plants.

For the first time, women in the plant became commonplace. "Wilma the Welder," Miller's version of "Rosie the Riveter," kept the troops supplied and companies running.

Miller business fell off after the war because of oversupply, which could have spelled the end for Miller. Al Mulder patented a small, hand-held spot welder unlike anything on the market. Miller sold thousands of the little welders because they offered a low-cost fabrication method, helping save the company.

Shortly thereafter, Miller developed the AEA 200 engine-driven welder, the forerunner to today’s Miller Legend® 302. Other engine drives on the market were massive and awkward. The AEA 200 had just as much power as these larger units, but in a much smaller package.

Noteworthy Inventions of the 1940s

1940: Karl Probst invented the Jeep, the workhorse of World War II.

1943: Fun walks down stairs (alone and in pairs) when Richard James, a U.S. Naval engineer, invented the Slinky®. GE engineer James Wright developed Silly Putty.

1946: Dr. Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, invented the microwave oven and Earl Tupper, a New Hampshire tree surgeon and plastics innovator, developed Tupperware®.

1946: John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania conceived and built ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer.), the first digital computer capable of being reprogrammed to solve a full range of computing problems.

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1940s Miller Welder
1945 Miller Electric Mfg Co Plant
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