7310 Kedzie Ave.
Skokie IL 60076-4049
About Us
Our History
Our Chicago oxygen and welding supply company has been family owned and run since 1958. John Coffey started the business in October of 1958 and his son, Shawn Coffey has run it since 1980.

Our history reads like this: My maternal grandfather was a gentleman named John C. Ardagh, John was Born in Chicago, IL in 1900 to parents that immigrated from Ireland by way of Ontario, Canada. By age 13 he already had his first job in the metal working trades doing various jobs as an iron worker helper, including bucking hot rivets, when that was the method of building metal infrastructures. Soon thereafter, he was interrupted by World War I, “the war to end all wars” (that axiom didn’t quite work out, did it?). At age 16 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. I have a panoramic photo that was snapped of him with his training platoon at Ft. Hood Texas in the late fall of 1916. By June of 1918 he was shipped off to northern France and out to the German front. Near immediately, he was caught up in a mustard gas attack. He made his way to a military hospital and then back home to The States. For years my mom had his army training photo, his army helmet and his purple heart. It only took a couple of years for him to recuperate from that injury, in fact he once told me that he trained to, and did in fact, run a marathon. He had a lifelong passion for bicycle riding and bicycle racing. He hand-built many racing cycles for both road and track use. As a small boy, he took me a number of times to the Velodrome, in Northbrook, IL where he was a fixture for years. In 1972 at age 72, the year he passed away, he would still ride from Belmont and Cicero to Arlington Heights where I grew up, or he would ride to Kenosha or Racine WI (I’m thinking he had a girlfriend).
Early Years
Back to his early years…. a few years after Gramps got out of the service, around 1919, the opportunity to learn the relatively new phenomenon of arc welding presented itself, and he worked at it until he became an expert. He got back into the Iron working/metal working trades. He worked for quite some time as a welder and fitter for Dan Hayse Boiler. That would have been sometime around The Great Depression, or through the 20’s and early 30’s. Early on, he then caught the notice of the Lincoln Electric Company of Cleveland, Ohio. He was hired as a sales trainee. He eventually became a Chicago area sales rep for Lincoln where he remained for many years. As he became older, and the post-war modern technical era began to arrive, he became a bit outmoded and Lincoln began to redefine itself into the modern, snobby type of enterprise that most people know it as today.
And so it was written, grandpa got pushed to the side and was asked to take a position in Cleveland, in the training facilities. He went along with that for about 2 1/2 years and then quit, moved back to Chicago, where his family was, and went to work for a Lincoln distributor named Johnson Electric. That was 1948. In 1954, my dad married my mom. My grandfather got dad a job at Johnson Electric as a salesman trainee. He must have taken to it fairly rapidly and fairly well, because in 1955, the two of them left Johnson Electric and started Ardagh Welding Supply over on west Wilson Ave, just west of Pulaski. They remained together as partners for about 3 years. My dad had a philosophical difference over the question of selling cylinder gases and CO2 in Chicago. My dad wanted to and my Grandfather didn’t seem to see the need. So in 1958, my dad left, and in September of 1958, he started his own Chicago welding supply store: City Welding Sales in Morton Grove, IL, on the 9000 Block of Waukegan Road. Actually, our fiscal year end remained 09/30 until 2010, on account of the original date of incorporation. I changed it to a calendar year-end, in 2011 (much easier to deal with). He must have been a hell of a salesman back in those days - within 10 years the amount of assets he was able to acquire was staggering considering he had no financial help, and in other words, he didn’t have a rich uncle or an outside benefactor. Within a decade, he had 2 homes, had bought 8 trucks, a few thousand cylinders, had an airplane, had milled through at least 10 cars and in 1968, bought this one acre facility on 7310 Kedzie Ave, formerly 7212 N Channel Rd.. Wow, that was a lot of “doin”. My dad worked this business from 1958 when he started, until about 1979 or 80, when he kind of bowed out and changed his focus to running his fabricating facility, named Alert Tubing Fabricators. As of the writing of this history/epilogue, my mom Alice passed in April 2004 and my dad is now 87, and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. You can still have a conversation with him, but it’s becoming challenging. Today, I run City Welding with a great staff. We enjoy our customers and always welcome new ones. Our expertise is your asset. You’ll enjoy doing business with us!

City Welding has been in business since 1958 with the same owners. We are welding & industrial gas application experts- offering 50 years of expertise. Our service and supplies are used by many top organizations in the Chicago area. We serve any size customer.