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Welding, Soldering Pioneer Dead At 81

October 18, 1986

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) _ J.D. Forney, a pioneer in welding and soldering and founder of one of the world’s leading museums of antique cars died at a Fort Collins Hospital. He was 81.

Forney, who died Wednesday, invented the Forney instant heat soldering iron in 1932 and later perfected an arc welder.

The inventions led to the founding of Forney Industries, the first major manufacturing plant in Fort Collins and a leader in the soldering and welding industry.

In 1963, he was honored with the Free Enterprise Award in New York City in national recognition of his inventions.

Forney was born Jan. 27, 1905 in Enid, Okla. He ran away from home at the age of 11 and eventually settled in Sterling, where he finished high school. He moved to Fort Collins in 1925 and studied mechanical engineering at Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University.

After dropping out of college, he worked as an encyclopedia salesman and tinkerer.

In the 1950s, Forney began collecting antique cars, which eventually led him to establish the Forney Transportation Museum, considered one of the world’s best. In 1967, he moved the museum from Fort Collins to its current location in Denver.

″It’s all kind of foolishness in a way,″ he said of the museum in a 1984 interview. ″But for me, it’s all the enjoyment of seeing people enjoy something.″

Forney is survived by his wife, Rachel; a son, Jack; a daughter, Donna Sundberg, all of Fort Collins; five grandhildren, and six great-grandchild ren.

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