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Forney Industries was born in the backseat of a Kissel 6-45. The now 90-year-old family owned welding and metalworking business was founded in 1932  when J.D. Forney drove door-to-door selling the first instant heat soldering iron. The time behind the wheel in the Kissel drove J.D. to admire the U.S., along with the cars, trains and bikes within the smallest hometowns to the vastest of valleys.

For J.D., the love of cars fueled a necessity, by trading vehicles in exchange for Forney products. This was crucial for operating any business during the cash-strapped great depression. As J.D. made more trades, many people started wanting to see this impressive growing collection. J.D enlisted help from his grandchildren to run a museum, most notably Steve Anderson, our current CEO. Steve’s memories of helping J.D. with collecting entry to the museum and dusting and polishing the cars, have not been lost.  Steve even remembers when the museum was located in the building that is now REI (Old Denver Tramway Powerhouse) in downtown Denver.  

J.D’s collection currently spans from folding paratrooper bicycles, to “Big Boy”, the worlds largest steam engine. This collection is still open to the public, in the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, CO. J.D.’s collection and strong connection to the U.S. and the great transportation he admired fed early innovation at Forney Industries. Forney’s line expanded much further than the soldering iron, to include products ranging from vacuums, water skis, and even the Fornaire, a pre-built airplane. 

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Fast forward to 2022, Forney Industries has not lost the connection or inspiration that J.D. Forney once got from his Kissel 6-45. His vision has led Forney to become the growth leader in the welding and metalworking industry by not only innovating new products but persevering until perfection. Steve Anderson’s involvement in the museum entrenched within Forney Industries a very customer centric culture with the immense will to be creative.  
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Forney’s product line no longer includes airplanes but remains expansive. The Forney Easy Weld line is easy to use and has vast capabilities for handling most DIY automotive repairs, without breaking the bank. Forney’s Developed Tested Trusted line offers professionals reliable and powerful machines, perfect for shop applications. Battery chargers, cable ties, and pressure washer parts are also available in a name you can trust. Beyond the welders themselves, high performance consumables and accessories for welders are also available. The Fornair name will return at the end of the summer,  in homage to the Fornaire airplane and Vacuum, with the upcoming release of a powerful air compressor line. The Fornair compressors are perfect companions for Forney air accessories and plasma cutters.

You may have noticed a new voice here on AskForney, and it is time I introduced myself. My name is Quinn Sweetman, and I am a certified gear head. My credentials are; sleeping with Hotwheels as a kid (rather than stuffed animals), spending my allowance on hobby grade RC cars, and the Jeep I have fully customized myself (and much more). My passion has driven me to become a welder, in order to fix and customize my Jeep! Visiting the Forney Transportation museum was another perfect way for me to scratch my always present gear-head itch. I would recommend this museum to anyone!

Why Visit the Museum?

The Forney Museum highlights more than just transportation. It’s a unique snapshot of history. The museum defines a set of problems that humanity once faced, and our struggle and success of overcoming them. The Forney Museum is often overlooked compared to the very popular natural sciences, art, and Colorado history museums. This true hidden gem should be the next museum on your list, and here’s why:

Entering the Forney Museum is very interesting when looking through the lens of a welder. The first thing you see when entering the museum is a collection of vintage Forney Welders, including some of the first production models. Similar to America and the majority of business, The Forney Museum would be nothing without welders, skilled tradesmen, and what they create. Forney was born in the Kissel, but without Forney welders, J.D. and his collection would not become iconic as they are now. The great connection between welding and transportation is also clearly on display here. The advancement of welding can be seen across the Forney museum, with items ranging from the 1800’s to the current. Massive welds can also be seen on exhibits such as “Big Boy” and the train track snow-blower, holding the beasts together.

Forney Welding Roots

Train Snow-blower

Fans of art, even if not a fan of transportation, will still have something to catch their eyes.  Many automobiles, especially older vehicles rarely seen on the road any longer, were great examples of art. Great styling lines, chrome ornaments, and massive fins can be appreciated in a different way. Rotating exhibits also ensure a great variety of fine work details, ranging from beautiful pinstriping done in the early 1900’s, to incredibly detailed paintwork and etch work on custom lowriders (check Forney Transportation Museums website to see current exhibit).

Pop-Culture/American History:

Along side the vehicles themselves, The Forney Museum has many different examples of the advertising and apparel that helped sell or came with the featured vehicles. This unique perspective of pop-culture as the products of some of the most pervasive messages in society are hung on the walls, or parked on the floor. Viewing the signature styles of multiple companies and time periods is a highlight of going to the museum.

Multiple facets of American history are captured at the Forney Museum. The collection started during the Great depression, and spanned past the 50’s capturing very different but still incredibly important times in U.S. history. The collection captures many of the inventions we have forgotten through the years of technological innovation. Many U.S. military vehicles also make up a portion of the collection, demonstrating the clever and sometimes odd way the military moved around. 



Although one of the understated portions of the museum, business and entrepreneurship was an important piece of the museum itself. The massive collection, of which is never fully on display, is the direct result of great business people and entrepreneurs. Most prominently, J.D. Forney and James Arneil, both prominent Colorado businessmen, combined their collections to create the original Forney Museum. Successful Colorado businessmen like Walter Timme are also featured with their later additions to the museum including the Triumph and Indian Motorcycle exhibits. Many business successes as well as failures are shown at the museum.  Prototypes are also seen, most notably a sea and air plane that was far ahead of it’s time.