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History

  • Investment casting or “lost wax” process dates back thousands of years in regions from Mexico to Mesopotamia and Africa
  • Earliest use was for idols, sculpture, ornaments and jewelry, using natural beeswax for patterns, clay for the moulds and manually-operated bellows for stoking furnaces
  • Earliest known text that describes the process: Schedula Diversarum Artium, written circa1100 AD by Theophilus Presbyter, a monk who described various manufacturing processes, including the recipe for parchment
  • Came into use as a modern industrial process in the late 19th century, when dentists began using it to make crowns and inlays, as described by Dr. D. Philbrook of Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1897
  • Its use was accelerated by Dr. William H. Taggart of Chicago, who improved upon the technique, developed a more stable investment material and invented an air-pressure casting machine
  • World War II increased the demand for precision parts manufacturing and specialized alloys that could not be shaped by traditional methods, or that required too much machining
  • During the post-War era, its use spread too many commercial and industrial applications that required complex metal parts
  • The process has evolved over years into the current process of melting out the virgin wax in a furnace