Famous blacksmiths 2020

Famous blacksmiths 2020 DEFAULT
  • Thomas Davenport (9 July 1802 – 6 July 1851) was a Vermont blacksmith who constructed the first American DC electric motor in 1834.Davenport was born in Williamstown, Vermont. He lived in Forest Dale, a village near the town of Brandon. As early as 1834, he developed a battery-powered electric motor. He used it to operate a small model car on a short section of track, paving the way for the later electrification of streetcars.Davenport's 1833 visit to the Penfield and Taft iron works at Crown Point, New York, where an electromagnet was operating, based on the design of Joseph Henry, was an impetus for his electromagnetic undertakings. Davenport bought an electromagnet from the Crown Point...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 48 (1802-1851)
    • Birthplace: Williamstown, Vermont
  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Tom Joyce is an artist, blacksmith, and designer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since 1977 he has forged sculpture, architectural ironwork and public art for projects throughout the United States. Joyce infuses many of these works with meaning by incorporating inherited histories represented by the specific material he uses. In both public and private commissions, he encourages individuals to participate in the making process by donating iron objects collected from the landscape or that hold particular significance to their owner. From the "Rio Grande Gates", forged from iron refuse retrieved from a quarter mile stretch of the Rio Grande for the Albuquerque Museum of Art, to iron...  more

  • Photo: flickr / CC0

    Alexander Winkler Bealer, III, known as Alex W. Bealer (March 6, 1921 – March 17, 1980), was an old-time craftsman of wood working and blacksmithing from Atlanta, Georgia. He authored The Art of BlacksmithingOld Ways of Working Wood,The Tools That Built America, and The Successful Craftsman.....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 59 (1921-1980)
    • Birthplace: Valdosta, Georgia
  • Photo: flickr / CC0

    John F. Fritz was an American pioneer of iron and steel technology who has been referred to as the "Father of the U.S. Steel Industry". To celebrate his 80th birthday the John Fritz Medal was established in 1902, with Fritz himself being the first recipient....  more

  • Viktor Burduk is the Honoured Artist of Ukraine, director of the Ukrainian Handcrafted Wrought Iron and Forge Company “Hefest”, the head of Ukraine Blacksmiths Art Masters department in Donetsk since 2009, the head of Donbass Blacksmiths Guild, Donetsk representative at the Ring Of The European Cities Of Iron Works and the head of Donbass Darts Association. He is a project author of the Forged Figures Park and hotel “Ispanskiy dvorik” and the participant of Millennium World Exhibition in Hannover in 2000....  more

    • Age: 63
    • Birthplace: Baltiysk, Russia
  • Jan Liwacz (born 4 October 1898 in Dukla, died 22 April 1980 in Bystrzyca Kłodzka) was a master blacksmith and prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camp best known for the infamous "Arbeit macht frei" slogan over the camp's main entrance gate that he made. When the SS ordered him to make this sign, he placed a hidden message in the word ARBEIT: he turned the letter “B” upside down. He was detained and arrested on 16 October 1939 in Bukowsko, and kept in the prisons of Sanok, Krosno, Kraków, and Nowy Wiśnicz; he arrived at Auschwitz in its beginnings, on 20 June 1940, receiving the early camp number of 1010. As a metal worker he was assigned to a kommando manufacturing the camp's...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 81 (1898-1980)
  • George Vail (July 21, 1809 – May 23, 1875) was an American Democratic Party politician who represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1853 to 1857. His father Stephen Vail, and his brother Alfred Vail were the driving force behind the success of the Speedwell Iron Works. Father and sons assisted in the technical expertise and financial development of this family business. The Vail family contributions to mechanical inventions, early communication, transportation industry, and mass production placed Speedwell at the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution in the United States....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 65 (1809-1875)
    • Birthplace: Morristown, New Jersey, United States of America
  • Philip Simmons (June 9, 1912 – June 22, 2009) was an American artisan and blacksmith specializing in the craft of ironwork. Simmons spent 78 years as a blacksmith, focusing on decorative iron work. When he began his career, blacksmiths in Charleston made practical, everyday household objects, such as horseshoes. By the time he retired 77 years later, the craft was considered an art form rather than a practical profession.Examples of Simmons' work, including iron gates, can be seen throughout the city of Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the rest of South Carolina Lowcountry. His pieces are displayed at the Smithsonian Museum, South Carolina State Museum, and even Paris, France, and...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 97 (1912-2009)
    • Birthplace: Daniel Island, South Carolina
  • Aaron Kitchell (July 10, 1744 – June 25, 1820) was a blacksmith and politician from Hanover Township, New Jersey. He represented New Jersey in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. Born in Hanover, he attended the common schools and became a blacksmith. He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly in 1781–1782, 1784, 1786–1790, 1793–1794, 1797, 1801–1804, and 1809. and was elected to the Second Congress (March 4, 1791 – March 3, 1793). He was elected to the Third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Abraham Clark and was reelected to the Fourth Congress, serving from January 29, 1795, to March 3, 1797. He resumed his former business...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 75 (1744-1820)
    • Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Hanover
  • John Salathé (June 14, 1899 – 1993) was an American pioneering rock climber, blacksmith, and the inventor of the modern piton. ...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 93 (1899-1992)
    • Birthplace: Switzerland
  • Benjamin Vernon Lilly or Ben Lilly (1856 – December 17, 1936), nicknamed Ol' Lilly, was a notorious big game hunter, houndsman and mountain man of the late American Old West. He remains famous for hunting down large numbers of grizzly, cougars and black bears. A mix between a transcendentalist spirit and an ardent Christian, he is described as an unfathomable Southern wild character. He was a stern practitioner of simple living and outdoor freedom, roamed and hunted from Louisiana to Arizona and from Idaho to as far south as Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, and was a subject of American folktales. He guided oiler W. H. McFadden and President Theodore Roosevelt in hunting expeditions, whom he...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 80 (1856-1936)
    • Birthplace: Alabama
  • Peter Madsen Peel was a founder, first blacksmith, and civic leader of Mount Pleasant, Utah. A replica of his blacksmith shop is located next to the Relic Hall in Mt. Pleasant, including a working forge. Peel was born in Aakirkeby, Denmark, in 1820; he was married in 1846 to Christianna Folkman. In 1853–54, they emigrated to the United States, living first in Lehi, Utah, then moving to Sanpete County during the Utah War in 1858. Peel joined with others in founding Mt. Pleasant in 1859. In addition to being the first blacksmith in Mt. Pleasant, Peel was an investor in an early mill on First West, the first president of the Birch Creek Irrigation Company, and a leader in The Church of Jesus...  more

    • Age: Dec. at 80 (1820-1900)
    • Birthplace: Aakirkeby, Denmark
  • John Anderson was the second Mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand 1868–1869, and a successful businessman. He had a close connection with three buildings that have later received Category I heritage registrations by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Two of these buildings were demolished following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. His company became even more successful under the leadership of two of his sons, and it existed until 1986....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 76 (1820-1897)
    • Birthplace: Inveresk, United Kingdom
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    Alexander Hamilton Willard

    Alexander Hamilton Willard (1777–1865) was a blacksmith who joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 87 (1777-1865)
    • Birthplace: Charlestown, New Hampshire
  • Simeon Wheelock (March 29, 1741– September 30, 1786) was a blacksmith from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, who served as a minuteman in the Massachusetts militia during the battles of Lexington and Concord in the American Revolutionary War. After the war he was killed while on militia duty protecting the Springfield Armory during Shays' Rebellion....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 45 (1741-1786)
    • Birthplace: Mendon, Massachusetts
  • John Joseph Madigan (born 21 July 1966) is a former Australian politician. He was a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), before resigning from the party and becoming an independent in September 2014. Madigan launched the John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party in 2015. He was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal election, to serve a six-year term from July 2011. He failed to be re-elected at the 2016 double dissolution election, and the Manufacturing and Farming Party was voluntarily deregistered on 13 September 2016. Madigan joined the Australian Country Party in September 2016....  more

    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
    • Age: Dec. at 42 (1870-1912)
    • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
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    Hilda Patterson Hensley

    Hilda Patterson Hensley is the mother of Patsy Cline....

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    Ilya Yákovlevich Brézhnev

    Ilya Yákovlevich Brézhnev was the father of Leonid Brezhnev....

  • William Blaik was the father of American football player Earl Blaik....

  • Didier Diderot was a French craftsman and the father of the encyclopedist, author, philosopher of enlightenment Denis Diderot....  more

    • Age: Dec. at 73 (1685-1759)
    • Birthplace: Langres, France
  • Ralph Frese, canoe maker and conservationist and prominent figure in the North American canoeing circles lived from 1926 until December 10, 2012. Frese lived in the Chicago area. He is known for promoting conservation and canoeing, building historic replica canoes, and starting canoeing and conservation organizations and events. Frese was also a fourth-generation blacksmith, operating in a building next to his Chicagoland Canoe Base store in Chicago and was said to probably have been the last blacksmith working in Chicago...  more

  • Sours: https://www.ranker.com/list/list-of-famous-blacksmiths/reference

    That’s a lot of iron being smashed and shaped over a lot of years, on the Earth and in the minds of people from the Bronze Age to today. It’s cool to think of all the things that changed throughout the world during the lives of these great blacksmiths in history and how they have played a role in creating that change. From tools that have helped build the great cities of The Old World, to medical instruments that brought about advances in medicine, and from the weapons that brought about monumental shifts in political power across the globe to the equipment needed to farm and feed generations of people working to forge a better life, blacksmiths and the craft of blacksmithing have been at the center of it all.

    Blacksmithing is an ancient craft that is making a resurgence in the United States and the developed world. People are studying the craft of blacksmithing like never before and the need for information, instruction, tools and facilities are at all time highs. I love everything about this trend because it takes us back to our roots when men and women made things from the raw materials they had at their disposal. As with anything of interest, inevitably, people like me want to know who the awesome people were back in the day who did the things we are excited about in the present. I got to thinking about this awhile back and began compiling a list of blacksmiths from history with cool stories and interesting lives. I’ve made this list of 25 of the world’s most famous blacksmiths to share some of the personalities that I’ve come across in my research. Some of these people are long gone, some only exist in ancient lore and a few are alive and blacksmithing to this very day.

    1. Tubal-Cain

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    In the Holy Bible, Genesis 4:22 tells us that Tubal-Cain was a “forger of all instruments of bronze and iron” or an “instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” Although this probably means that he was a metal-smith, the Bible also suggests that he may have been the very first artificer in brass and iron. T. C. Mitchell suggests that he “discovered the possibilities of cold forging native copper and meteoric iron.” Tubal-Cain has even been described as the first chemist. It seems that his very name may be tied to the area from which he came as noted in Ezekiel 27:13 which states, “Javan (Greece), Tubal, and Meshech (Meshek), they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.” This means that the name Tubal-Cain “may be a variant of the same tradition which lists Tubal in the table of nations” found in Genesis 10, as a land well known for metalwork.”

    Other researchers believe that Tubal-Cain’s work was in part the making of weapons of war which makes perfect sense to me. Rashi notes that he “spiced and refined the Cain’s craft to make weapons for murderers.” The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus states that “Tubal exceeded all men in strength, and was very expert and famous in martial performances, … and first of all invented the art of working brass.” Therefore, no matter how we look at it Tubal-Cain is the earliest worker of metal that we know of. He may not have been a very nice dude, but it seems that he gets credit for setting us on the path to where we are today with the craft of blacksmithing.

    2. Wayland the Smith

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    In the Northern Germanic tribal region we now know as “Norse” came a mythology that featured a legendary blacksmith named Wayland the Smith, described by Jessie Weston as “the weird and malicious craftsman, Wyland”.

    He was known by a lot of other names as well, but all of them were in various languages, none of which I speak or write, so I will spare you the pain of trying to read languages that aren’t even spoken any longer. Needless to say Wayland was the man!

    In Old Norse sources, Wayland the Smith is featured in a number of historic sources of poetry.

    This legendary character is also depicted on the Ardre image stone VIII.

    In Old English sources, he appears in Deor, Waldere and in Beowulf,

    He is famously depicted on the whale bone chest known as The Franks Casket. See the the red oval enclosing an image carved into the whale bone. It is an image of Wayland the Smith and his forge.

    3. Thomas Davenport

    Article by Dr. Frank Wicks, published in the July 1999 edition of Mechanical Engineering Magazine. Copyright 2010 ASME.

    In the spring of 1833, a self-educated but impoverished blacksmith in Forestdale, Vt., by the name of Thomas Davenport heard some curious news. This news, as it turned out, would not only change his life but would eventually change the life of almost everyone on earth. Davenport’s curiosity led to his invention of the first rotating electric machine. Today, we would describe it as a shunt-wound brush and commutator dc motor.

    Thomas Davenport, inventor of the electric motor, was a self-educated blacksmith with a passion for reading.

    The momentous news that roused the blacksmith’s curiosity was that the Penfield and Hammond Iron Works, on the other side of Lake Champlain in the Crown Point hamlet of Ironville in New York state, was using a new method for separating crushed ore. The process used magnetized spikes mounted on a rotating wooden drum that attracted the millings with the highest iron content. Higher-purity feedstock could be fed to the furnaces, improving their productivity and the quality of the iron they produced. This was important, since the recent introduction and expected rapid expansion of railroads were dramatically increasing the demand for quality iron.

    This process had been developed by Joseph Henry of Albany, N.Y. It used an electromagnet that he had designed to magnetize the spikes; in fact, Henry’s electromagnet was said to be powerful enough to lift a blacksmith’s anvil. Its use in the iron ore separation process was the first time that electricity had been used for commercial purposes, thus beginning the electric industry.

    Thomas Davenport had no prior knowledge of discoveries in magnetism and electricity when this new process stimulated his interest. He had been born in 1802 on a farm outside Williamstown, Vt., the eighth of 12 children. His father died when Thomas was 10. Schooling opportunities were minimal, and at the age of 14 Thomas was indentured for seven years to a blacksmith. His room and board and six weeks per year of rural schooling were provided in return for service in his master’s shop. The work was hard, but the boy was later remembered for his curiosity, his interest in musical instruments, and his passion for books.

    Once he was liberated in 1823, Davenport traveled over the Green Mountains to Forestdale, a hamlet in the town of Brandon, Vt., where there was an iron industry. He set up his own marginally successful shop, married the daughter of a local merchant, and started a family.

    His only means of learning was self-education. When the news from the ironworks piqued his curiosity, he acquired books and journals, and started reading about the experiments and discoveries that were beginning to unlock some of the mysteries of electricity and magnetism.

    Electric Currents

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    A magnet made by Joseph Henry inspired Thomas Davenport when he saw it during a demonstration

    It was more than 80 years since Benjamin Franklin, in 1752, had experimented with static electricity from Leyden jars and with electricity from the sky, by flying a kite over Philadelphia during a storm.

    Davenport’s model of an electric “train” involved a circular track 4 feet in diameter. Power was supplied from a stationary battery to the moving electric locomotive, using the rails as conductors for the electricity.

    A new era had started in 1800, when Alessandro Volta demonstrated an electric pile, which was a battery that produced electricity directly from a chemical reaction between two different metals. Static electricity batteries such as the Leyden jar had provided only sudden electric pulses during discharge. For the first time, investigators could draw a continuous electric current for hours, instead of relying on an erratic spark in a Leyden jar.

    In 1820, the Danish experimenter Hans Oersted showed that Franklin had been half-wrong in his conclusion that electricity and magnetism were unrelated. Oersted observed that the needle of a nearby compass moved when he closed the circuit through a wire and battery. This demonstrated that electricity was causing magnetism. Andre-Marie Ampere in France soon showed that the magnetic effect could be multiplied by coiling the wire. William Sturgeon went the next step in 1825 by wrapping an uninsulated coil of wire around an insulated horseshoe-shaped iron core, thus making the first electromagnet, which lifted about 5 lbs.

    Now that it was shown that electricity could produce magnetism, the reverse question arose: whether magnetism could produce electricity. The first attempts consisted of holding a magnet near a wire. No electricity was observed. Then, in 1831, Michael Faraday succeeded in producing electricity by means of magnetism when he moved a disc perpendicular to a magnetic field. Almost simultaneously, Joseph Henry, inventor of the ore-separation process that so excited Davenport, used a more powerful lifting magnet of his own design to show that electricity could be produced from magnetism by changing the strength of the magnet.

    Joseph Henry was to become the only American to have his name applied to a unit of electricity: A henry is a measure of electric inductance. Henry had started his pioneering work in electricity and magnetism as a professor at Albany Academy in 1826. In 1833, he moved on to Princeton. He ended up as the founding secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where he served from 1846 until 1878.

    While at Albany, Henry developed an electromagnet that could lift a phenomenal 2,000 lbs. He did this by wrapping a mile of insulated wire in several parallel circuits around a soft iron core that he procured from the Crown Point Iron Works, the company for which he eventually designed the machine that used his ore-separating electromagnet.

    The iron separation technique developed by Henry was, in a sense, the magnetic equivalent of the cotton gin. That device, invented in 1794 by Eli Whitney, used spikes on a rotating drum to comb the seed from the fiber. For the first time growing cotton was profitable, because a single worker could produce 50 lbs. of pure cotton per day. Threshing machines were being built on a similar principle. The ancient process of beating the wheat with a wooden flail to separate the grain from the chaff was to be replaced by spikes on a rotating drum.

    Returning home out of money, Davenport called upon his brother, a peddler, to join him with his cart for another trip to Crown Point. Once there, they auctioned the brother’s products and traded a good horse for an inferior one to obtain money to buy the magnet. When they got home, the brother suggested trying to recover the cost by exhibiting the magnet for a fee.

    Davenport Invents the Motor

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    Davenport traveled 25 miles to Crown Point on a horse to witness the wonders of magnetic lifting power.

    The electricity source for the magnets was a galvanic battery of the type developed by Volta. It used a bucket of a weak acid for an electrolyte. The bucket contained concentric cylinders of different metals for electrodes; these were wired to provide external electric current to the magnet.

    Thomas Davenport had other plans. He unwound and dismantled the magnet as his wife, Emily, took notes on its method of construction. He then started his own experiments and built two more magnets of his own design. Insulated wire was required, but only bare wire was available. Emily Davenport cut up her wedding dress into strips of silk to provide the necessary insulation that allowed for the maximum number of windings.

    Davenport mounted one magnet on a wheel; the other magnet was fixed to a stationary frame. The interaction between the two magnets caused the rotor to turn half a revolution. He learned that by reversing the wires to one of the magnets he could get the rotor to complete another half-turn. Davenport then devised what we now call a brush and commutator. Fixed wires from the frame supplied current to a segmented conductor that supplied current to the rotor-mounted electromagnet. This provided an automatic reversal of the polarity of the rotor-mounted magnet twice per rotation, resulting in continuous rotation.

    This Patent Office model of Davenport’s motor now sits in The Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Reading about experiments and discoveries sparked Davenport’s interest, and led to his invention of the electric motor.

    The motor had the potential to drive some of the equipment in Davenport’s shop, but he had even bigger ideas. The era of the steam locomotive and railroads was just beginning, but already boiler failures and explosions were becoming frequent, tragic occurrences. Davenport’s solution was the electric locomotive. He built a model electric train that operated on a circular track; power was supplied from a stationary battery to the moving electric locomotive using the rails as conductors to transmit the electricity.

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    When Davenport traveled to Washington to obtain a patent, however, his application was rejected: There were no prior patents on electric equipment.

    He started a tour of colleges to meet professors of natural philosophy who might examine his invention and provide letters of support to the patent office. His travels took him to the new Rensselaer Institute in Troy, N.Y., recently founded (in 1824) as the nation’s first engineering school by Stephen Van Rensselaer.

    The last of eight generations of land-owning patroons, Van Rensselaer had been a commissioner overseeing the construction of the Erie and Champlain canals, opened in 1825. The school had been charged with a mission to qualify teachers for instructing the sons and daughters of farmers and mechanics in developing methods of applying science to the common purposes of life.

    Davenport met Rensselaer’s founding president, Amos Eaton, a distinguished lawyer, botanist, geologist, chemist, educator, and innovator, who was amazed by the motor and by the self-educated blacksmith who had built it. Eaton arranged an additional exhibit for the citizens of Troy, and Stephen Van Rensselaer himself bought Davenport’s motor for the school. The nation’s first engineering school now possessed the world’s first electric motor.

    With the sale of his motor, Davenport was able to buy a quantity of already insulated wire, and he returned home to build another motor. He traveled to Princeton to meet Joseph Henry and then to the University of Pennsylvania to meet Professor Benjamin Franklin Bache, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson and an outstanding scientist.

    The self-educated blacksmith, having now impressed the most prominent men of learning in the country, returned to the patent office with letters and a working model. His troubles were not yet over, however. The model was destroyed by fire before it was examined. He built another and tried again. At last, the first patent on any electric machine was issued to Thomas Davenport for his electric motor on Feb. 25, 1837.

    The scientific community and the media responded with great excitement and high expectations. Benjamin Silliman, the founder of Silliman’s Journal of Science, wrote an extended article and concluded that a power of great but unknown energy had unexpectedly been placed in mankind’s hands. The New York Herald proclaimed a revolution of philosophy, science, art, and civilization: “The occult and mysterious principle of magnetism is being displayed in all of its magnificence and energy as Mr. Davenport runs his wheel.”

    Davenport set up a laboratory and workshop near Wall Street in hopes of attracting investors. Samuel Morse, who in 1844 would commercialize the telegraph, came to observe. To further advertise his motor, Davenport established his own newspaper, The Electro-Magnet and Mechanics Intelligencer, and used his electric motor to drive his rotary printing press.

    The motor was a spectacular technological success, but it was becoming a commercial failure. No one knew how to predict the amount of energy in chemical batteries, and a battery-powered motor could not compete with a steam engine. Funds were promised but not delivered. Bankrupt and distressed, Davenport returned to Vermont and started writing a book describing his work and his vision for his electric motor. He died in 1851 at the age of 49, leaving only a prospectus.

    The Motor Keeps Running

    What Davenport could not anticipate, and what no one else would describe for another 20 years, was that his motor would be turned by water or steam power and would operate in reverse, as an electric generator. Within 40 years of his death, electric-powered trains and trolleys had become common, with Davenport’s machine creating electricity at the power station and his motor then converting this electricity back to mechanical power to move the cars.

    Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879, using a chemical battery to power his experiments, but he recognized the need for central generating plants and distribution systems to provide electricity to customers. In 1882, his Pearl Street station in lower Manhattan used steam engines to drive shunt-wound brush and commutator dc generators of the type that Thomas Davenport had invented 45 years earlier. Recognizing that expanding demand would require a massive new manufacturing and service industry, Edison started a manufacturing facility in Schenectady that would become the General Electric Co. The company’s first products were motors and generators that copied the design and principles of Thomas Davenport’s motor.

    When Edison died in 1931, it was suggested that all the electricity should be turned off for five minutes in recognition of the great inventor, but such an action was judged to be practically impossible. The ultimate tribute to Edison was that within his lifetime the benefits of his inventions had become such a vital part of daily life.

    Davenport died 30 years before the world was ready for his invention. Today, the electrification of the world and electricity’s myriad of now-vital uses can be seen as the greatest technological marvel in human history. Electric light has extended full human activity to 24 hours per day. Electric-powered refrigeration is now taken for granted. Air conditioning has made the most inhospitable regions comfortable for year-round living and spawned new major cities. Our communications, computing, and information systems could not exist without electricity. Thomas Davenport, though little remembered today, played a vital part in making all of this possible.

    4. John Fritz

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    Often called the “Father of the U.S. Steel Industry”, John Fritz was an American pioneer and innovator of iron and steel technology. The John Fritz Medal was established in 1902 to celebrate his birthday and in very cool fashion, John Fritz himself turned out to be the first recipient. Born on August 21, 1822 in Londonderry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, John Fritz was the oldest of seven children. By the age of 16 John Fritz was apprenticed as a blacksmith.

    In time he worked and was able to become a mechanic, working for the Norristown Iron Company. In 1854 John Fritz took a job with Cambria Iron Company, where he ultimately designed the very first three-high rolling mill, one of his many great achievements. He became General Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the Bethlehem Iron Works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1860 and among other things was responsible for installing a Bessemer Converter for the company.

    John Fritz, the accomplished blacksmith served as President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Honorary Vice-President for life of the Iron and Steel Institute of London, President of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, recipient of the Bessemer Gold Medal, member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, recipient of the Elliott Cresson Gold Medal and the John Fritz Gold Medal of the United Engineering Societies and Honorary member of the American Iron and Steel Institute. Fritz was awarded a number of honorary degrees from a number of universities, namely Columbia University, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Stevens Institute of Technology.

    5. Alexander Hamilton Willard

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    A member of the Corp of Discovery, a special U.S. Army unit that made up the nucleus of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Alexander was an enlisted man, entering the U.S. Army as an artilleryman in 1800. History tells us that Alexander Hamilton Willard endured a number of mishaps during the Lewis and Clark expedition including one where during an unsuccessful search for Baker Bay, Willard and a man named George Shannon were ordered to set up camp and wait for the main party to arrive. While the two men were sleeping on the beach, a small band of Native Americans stole  their guns leaving them unarmed. Luckily the main party returned at the right moment and was able to encounter the Native Americans who quickly turned over the stolen guns. Although Willard was in good standing with the expedition leaders, he received a “Court Martial on the Trail”, the harshest punishment given to any member of the Corps of Discovery. He was charged with lying down and sleeping while at his guard duty post, a military crime that was punishable by death. however, Alexander Hamilton Willard was not to die but instead be punished by receiving 100 lashes on four consecutive days at sunset. His punishment was issued on July 12, 1804.

     In July, 1805, Alexander Hamilton Willard was attacked by a “white bear” during a portage (carrying supplies overland) around the Missouri River Falls near modern day Great Falls, Montana. William Clark along with three other men were able to chase the bear away. In memory of the attack, an island in the vicinity of the Missouri River Falls later became known as White Bear Island.

    While serving in the Corps of Discovery, Willard assisted John Shields as a blacksmith, doing all kinds of metal work including working to repair guns. In 1808, Meriwether Lewis hired him as government blacksmith for the Sauk and Fox Indians. Apparently doing quite well at the job, he was appointed to the same position for the Delawares and Shawnees in 1809. Willard later served in the War of 1812.

    6. Vulcan

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    Vulcan is the Roman god of fire (both beneficial and hindering fire). This includes all types of fire, even that of volcanoes, and that used in the manufacture of art, weapons, iron, and the armor dedicated to the gods and to heroes.

    His forge was believed to be located in Sicily, at the base of Mount Etna. Images of Vulcan often show him wielding a blacksmith’s hammer.

    Ancient Romans thought of Vulcan in a similar manner as the Greek blacksmith god Hephaestus (#9 in this list). Both Vulcan and Hephaestus were associated with the constructive use of fire in metalworking. A small fragment of Grecian pottery depicting Hephaestus was found at the Volcanal (area of what is now the Roman Forum dedicated to Vulcan). This small fragment was carbon dated to the 6th century BC, suggesting that these two blacksmith gods were associated by this time in history.

    Although both blacksmith gods are associated with fire, Vulcan was more closely associated with destructive fire than was Hephaestus. Therefore, it is safe to say that a major concern of Vulcan’s followers was to encourage the god to keep harmful fires far away from his loyal worshipers.

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    The Vulcanalia, a festival dedicated to Vulcan and celebrated on August 23 each year, was held at a time when the summer heat placed crops and granaries most at risk of burning.

    During the Vulcanalia festival large bonfires were created to honor Vulcan. People threw live fish or small animals into the fires as a sacrifice, which were meant to take the place of humans.

    Vulcan was one of the gods the Roman’s placated after the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64 AD. Because of this fire, the Emperor Domitian established a new altar to Vulcan on Quirinal Hill. It is said that in an effort to appease Vulcan, a red bull-calf and red boar were added to the list of live animal sacrifices during the Vulcanalia.

    The Volcanalia on August 23 was not the only festival dedicated to the blacksmith god Vulcan. On May 23, the second of the two annual Tubilustria or ceremonies for purification indicated by the blast of special trumpets called tubae, was observed in reverence to Vulcan.

    Vulcan was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and was husband to both Maia and Venus. Vulcan, the blacksmith god, forged the thrones for the other gods on Mount Olympus as well as the thunderbolts of his father Jupiter.

    As the son of Jupiter, the king of all gods, and Juno, the queen of the gods, Vulcan would have been muscular and handsome, but it is thought that baby Vulcan was tiny and ugly with a red, upset and crying face. Juno was so disgusted by the sight of baby Vulcan that she hurled him off the top of Mount Olympus.

    Vulcan fell down for a full day and night but eventually landed in the sea. One of his legs broke when he hit the water, and it never quite developed properly. Upon hitting the surface of the water, Vulcan sunk quickly to the cool blue depths of the sea where the sea nymph, Thetis, found him, felt compassion for him and took him to her underwater grotto to raise him as her own son.

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    Vulcan had a very happy childhood as he played with dolphins and had pearls for toys.

    Later on during his childhood, he found the remnants of a fire left by a fisherman on the beach and became fascinated with a red hot coal, still burning and glowing. Mythology tells us that Vulcan quickly shut this red hot coal inside of a clam shell and took it back to his underwater grotto

    He made a fire with the red hot coal. Captivated by the fire, Vulcan stared at it for many hours. The next day, he discovered that if the fire was made hotter with a rush of air from a bellows, some stones would sweat iron, silver or gold. On day three Vulcan pounded the metal into shapes as bracelets, chains, swords and even shields.

    Vulcan made pearl handled knives and spoons for Thetis, his adoptive mother. Vulcan then made a silver chariot for himself. He made bridles for seahorses so that they could transport him to wherever he needed to go very quickly. Vulcan is said to have even made slave girls out of gold to cater to his every desire and do his bidding.

    Roman mythology says that later on, Thetis attended a party on Mount Olympus and wore a beautiful necklace of silver and sapphires that Vulcan had made for her. Juno took note of the necklace and asked where she would look to get one like it. Thetis acted nervous and flustered which ultimately caused Juno to discover that the baby she had once rejected and had thrown from atop Mount Olympus had grown into the most skilled blacksmith.

    Juno, in a fit of rage, demanded that Vulcan return home but he refused. Vulcan did however send Juno a beautifully constructed chair made from silver and gold and ornately inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Seeing the chair, Juno was pleased by the gift. However, as soon as she sat in the chair, hidden springs and bands of metal wrapped her body and held her captive. Being a sinister trap designed for Juno, the more Juno struggled to free herself, the tighter the chair gripped her.

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    After three days of Juno being trapped in Vulcan’s chair, Jupiter decided to make Vulcan a deal. He vowed that if Vulcan released Juno from the chair he would give him Venus the goddess of love and beauty as a wife. Excited at this prospect, Vulcan agreed and he and Venus were married.

    He then built his blacksmith forge under Mount Etna on the beautiful island of Sicily. It was a commonly held belief that any time Venus was unfaithful, Vulcan would grow very angry and would pound the red-hot metal on his anvil with such great force that smoke and sparks would rise up into the air from the top of Mount Etna, creating a volcanic eruption.

    So as you can see, the Romans thought of him as a very powerful and fearsome god. As mentioned earlier, Vulcan was part of the most ancient platform of Roman myth and religion. Worship of Vulcan eventually fell out of favor but he is still remembered today as the great and powerful blacksmith god.

    7. Tom Joyce

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    Tom Joyce is a legit genius and master blacksmith and artist who is still very much alive and well. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and now living in Brussels, Belgium, Tom Joyce is world renowned for his work that is featured in many galleries, museums and landscapes around the globe.

    Joyce said that, “as a pre-teen adolescent, unearthing disparate shards of once complete objects, made from diverse materials, and attempting to visualize the whole form from fragments, has instructed my practice as an artist to the present day.”

    In 1970 Tom Joyce began an informal apprenticeship with neighbor, letterpress printer and blacksmith, Peter Wells, at age 14 when his family moved to El Rito, New Mexico. Joyce learned how to handset type on old foot-operated printing presses from the 19th century. He was taught the fundamental aspects of hand forging while he assisted Peter Wells on a project for the Museum of New Mexico’s Print Shop and Bindery where they worked to restore historic printing equipment.

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    Joyce was offered the blacksmith shop at age 16 when Peter Wells decided to relocate his printing business. Joyce made the decision to quit high school in order to devote his time fully to learning the trade of artistry and blacksmithing. At this time he began developing a classically oriented curriculum by researching and observing pieces of historic ironwork in the many storage collections of museums throughout New Mexico. Tom Joyce was able to support himself and his craft through the completion of commissioned works purchased by a wide array of buyers.

    Needing more space and more inspiration, Joyce moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1977 and created a larger studio in which he could create contemporary objects to be placed in people’s homes, in architectural settings, and to be displayed as public art. in 1979

    Tom Joyce began an apprenticeship program where he offered training to students from all areas of the U.S. and abroad. In 1996 he received a McCune Foundation grant which allowed him to expand the program to include “at risk” middle and high school students which gave many youth in the state of New Mexico the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn metalworking techniques at no cost, in after-school classes.

    Since his very first lecture in 1982 at the University of Wisconsin, Tom Joyce has given presentations at more than 100 institutions, universities and college campuses around the world. Tom Joyce, while lecturing at the First International Festival of Iron in Cardiff, Wales, was honored with the Highest Honorary Fellowship into the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths by being bestowed with the Addy Taylor Cup. This was the first time that award was given to a blacksmith who was not British since 1571 when the charter was formed. 

    8. Jan Liwacz

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    Jan Liwacz was born on October 4, 1898 in Dukla, Poland. Liwacz is an amazing and impressive historical figure in my opinion. Not only was Jan Liwacz a master blacksmith but he was also prisoner at the notoriously brutal Auschwitz concentration camp, which along with other concentration camps, was known for the infamous iron sign saying “Arbeit macht frei” which hung over the camp’s main entrance gate. Jan Liwacz was forced to forge this sign for his captors. The sign, translated from German, says, “work sets you free.”

    Jan Liwacz was first detained and then arrested on  October 16, 1939 in Bukowsko, Poland. He was kept in a number of different prisons in various cities including: Sanok, Krosno, Kraków and Nowy Wiśnicz. He was brought to Auschwitz concentration camp early on in its use during World War II. He arrived at Auschwitz on June 20, 1940 and was assigned the early camp number of 1010. Because Jan Liwacz was a blacksmith and knew how to work metal, he was assigned to a manufacturing unit to work in the fabrication and repair of the camp’s infrastructure elements, working on things like gratings, fences, handrails, gates, banisters, chandeliers). During his time at Auschwitz, he was sent to solitary confinement at the 11th Penal Block, first in June 1942 and then again in March 1943. Altogether Jan Liwacz spent five weeks in solitary confinement at Auschwitz. Finally on December 6, 1944 Liwacz was transferred to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, where he was kept at the Melk and Ebensee subcamps.

    After U.S. troop liberated the Ebensee camp on May 6, 1945, Jan Liwacz left on foot for Poland with Alfons Wrona, his cell-mate from Auschwitz. He finally settled in Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Poland. Once back in Poland, Jan Liwacz began working at a local forge owned by a man named Paul Wolf. When the Wolf family, probably from Germany, was expelled from Poland in 1946, Jan stayed there as an artist blacksmith. In 1953, along with a number of other blacksmiths, and at no charge, Jan Liwacz hand forged a fence for the Holy Trinity sculpture which is located on Freedom Square in Bystrzyca, Poland. After his retirement, Jan Liwacz taught artisan blacksmithing at a local trade school. Jan Liwacz died in 1980 and was laid to rest in Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Poland. On the 110th anniversary of his birth, in 2008, an exhibition was held in Bystrzyca Kłodzka presenting on the life and works of Jan Liwacz. 

    Learn more onArticle: Blacksmithing, the Essential Tools, Techniques and Methods – complete video

    9. Hephaestus

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    Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, had a great palace on Mount Olympus. Here was his workshop that housed his anvil and twenty bellows which worked at his command. Hephaestus crafted many of the amazing and ornate equipment used by the gods. In fact, pretty much any finely wrought metalwork with mystical powers that can be found in Greek mythology is said to have been forged by the hands of Hephaestus. He is known to have designed Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals as well as the Aegis breastplate, the renowned girdle of Aphrodite, Agamemnon’s staff of office, the armor of the Greek hero warrior Achilles, as well as Heracles’ bronze clappers, the chariot of Helios, the shoulder of Pelops, and the bow and arrows of Eros. In later recordings, Hephaestus worked with the help of the subterranean Cyclopes. His primary apprentices or assistants in his forge were the Cyclopes Brontes, Steropes and Pyracmon.

    Hephaestus built automatons (metal human droids or robots) of metal to do his bidding and to work on his behalf. Hephaestus gave his apprentice Cedalion to blind Orion to be his guide. In a number of versions of Greek myth, Prometheus stole the fire that he gave to man from Hephaestus’ great blacksmithing forge. Hephaestus also created the gift that the gods gave to man, the woman Pandora and her pithos (large container). Being a skilled blacksmith, Hephaestus created all the thrones in the Palace of Olympus. As we learned earlier, ancient Roman myth gave this distinction to Vulcan who was associated with Hephaestus as they were counterparts between Roman and Greek mythology.

    Ancient Greek myth and the poems of Homer verified in stories that Hephaestus possessed a special power to produce motion in the metallic creations he forged. For example, he made the gold and silver lions and dogs that guarded the entrance of the palace of Alkinoos so that they could attack intruders who tried to enter.

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    In one vein of ancient Greek mythology, Hera, his mother, ejected Hephaestus from the heavens because he was “shrivelled of foot”. This mythological feature mirrors that of Vulcan and Juno at Mount Olympus. It is said that Hephaestus, like Vulcan, was tossed into the ocean and was raised by Thetis, the mother of Achilles, and the titan goddess Eurynome. Of all the gods exiled from Olympus, only Hephaestus was able to return. Like Vulcan, it is said that Hephaestus gifted his birth mother Hera a magic throne that trapped her when she sat upon it. After a number of days Dionysus decided to get Hephaestus drunk on wine, put him atop a donkey, and brought him back to Olympus to free Hera from the throne.

    The myth of Hephaestus was a common theme among the ancients as we know. Being the blacksmith god of fire, metalworking, architecture and sculpture, Hephaestus was revered by the Greek people and was worshiped as such for many generations.

    10. Kiyochika Kanehama

    There is not a lot of information available about Mr. Kanehama’s personal life and history, but it is known that his forge is attached to his house and that you can visit his forge by appointment. It is customary, as I understand it, to purchase something when you make an appointment to meet with an expert metalsmith of this caliber as they tend to go out of their way to demonstrate the caliber of their work to you. Keep in mind that swords of this quality may run you as much as $15,000 but Kanehama does make items that cost less. It is advisable not to go bothering Kiyochika Kanehama with a visit to his home if you are not in the market for a sword or other bladed instrument like a dagger or letter opener that will cost at least a few hundred dollars.

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    “When I saw my first sword, at a friend’s home in 1974, I was stunned by its power and beauty,” said Kanehama. “I was a college student, studying accounting, but knew instantly I had another calling.” Mr. Kanehama commenting on his first encounter with a treasured sword said, “when I encountered an old sword which was registered as Japanese National Treasure, I was captured by its beauty and warmth. The elegant curve of the blade fascinated me. I discovered … that Japanese swords are not mere weapons, but they are manifestations of the spirit of Japanese culture.”

    Kanehama has told interviewers that he makes a sword that ends up in the hands of a buyer about once a year because the majority of his swords do not meet his expectations.

    Kiyochika Kanehama says that Okinawa has a long held tradition of nonviolence so swords are not really in demand where he comes from and he respects this cultural value immensely. Kanehama says, “that’s why, even though it is my ultimate desire to devote myself in making swords, I am looking at other ways I can use my talent. To make a living and to continue to make swords, I began to expand my work to other items, such as letter openers and paper weights, something that people can afford and use in their everyday lives,” Kanehama mentioned.

    One great aspect to focusing on forging smaller items is that Kanehama’s wife, Junko, works beside him as part of the process by incorporating her mastery of traditional Okinawan lacquerware. This use of her skill allows her to give a traditional and unique appearance to the cases and hilts of the bladed instruments made by her husband Kiyochika Kanehama.

    And with regard to the smaller pieces he make, Kanehama told reporters, “don’t be fooled. Although much smaller than the katanas, the letter openers have the same spirit as the swords.”

    “The blade which is made out of the same tamahagane, (raw steel made from a particular grade of iron ore) and is forged through the same procedure,” Kanehama said. “It holds the same beauty and can convey the genuine quality of the larger swords. It is a slight deviation from swordmaking, but we need to do this to make a living. At the same time, it is good because these new items are solely for peaceful use.”

    David Allen of Stars and Stripes was the author of an article I used in my research of Kiyochika Kanehama and a number of the quotes, a photo and specific bits of information on the master swordsmith were derived from an article written by Mr. Allen.

    Here is a video of Kiyochika Kanehama forging a sword.

    11. Philip Simmons

    “Philip Simmons is a poet of ironwork. His ability to endow raw iron with pure lyricism is known and admired throughout, not only in South Carolina, but as evidenced by his many honors and awards, he is recognized in all of America.”

    – John Paul Huguley, Founder, School of the Building Arts (now the American College of the Building Arts)
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    Philip Simmons was born on June 9, 1912, in Wando on Daniel Island,  South Carolina. Simmons was raised by his grandparents but at the age of eight, was sent to live with his mother in the city of Charleston and was enrolled as a student at Buist School.

    Of all the Charleston, South Carolina’s iron workers, Philip Simmons was the most awarded and celebrated blacksmith of the 20th Century. Simmons gained his most relevant and essential education from a nearby blacksmith of no relation named Peter Simmons. Peter Simmons owned a bustling shop at one end of Calhoun Street and this is where Philip Simmons learned the craft of the blacksmith. It was in this busy shop on Calhoun Street that Philip Simmons gained the skills and developed the talent that would sustain him as an artistic treasure throughout his career.

    As he walked home from school, Philip Simmons often took notice of the city’s ironwork and found himself intrigued by it. The neighborhood where Philip Simmons lived was a central hub for the many craftsmen who worked to build and repair the metal workings at waterfront businesses. At this early age, Philip Simmons started to frequent the blacksmith forges, shipwright shops, and other craftsmen work spaces in the area. Despite it all, it was the draw of the blacksmith forges that interested him more than anything.

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    The beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina is literally riddled with the amazing iron work of Philip Simmons. From one end to the other, his ornamental gates, window grills, fences and balconies live on as a testament to his 1938 transition into the specialized field of ornamental ironwork.

    Philip Simmons died in 2000 leaving behind him a legacy of truly precious craftsmanship in the iron pieces that carry his mark. 

    12. Ben Lilly

    The legend of Ben Lilly is big! He knew it too. He once commented, “my reputation is bigger than I am. It is like my shadow when I stand in front of the sun in late evening.” Ben Lilly, or Ol’ Lilly as he was called, was quite possibly the most famed tracker and hunter of apex predators in the long history of North American big game hunting. He was also the last mountain man to be active in what is now called the historical American Southwest. A staunch Christian with an unquenchable thirst for absolute freedom to live as he wished, Ben Lilly was described as a man with an “unfathomable Southern wild character.” I can imagine that Ol’ Lilly would have had a lot of interesting stories to tell. He was known to have worked as a blacksmith in Memphis, TN and then in Louisiana before giving it all up to live as a mountain man. Lilly made his own knives using his blacksmithing skills and gained notoriety for supposedly fighting and killing bears and mountain lions with only his knife. In fact, as a guide for President Theodore Roosevelt on one of his hunting expeditions, Ben Lilly regaled the President with his recall of his many epic experiences.  This impressed the President so much he is mentioned in some of Roosevelt’s writings saying:

    “I never met any other man so indifferent to fatigue and hardship. The morning he joined us in camp, he had come on foot through the thick woods, followed by his two dogs, and had neither eaten nor drunk for twenty-four hours; for he did not like to drink the swamp water. It had rained hard throughout the night and he had no shelter, no rubber coat, nothing but the clothes he was wearing and the ground was too wet for him to lie on, so he perched in a crooked tree in the beating rain, much as if he had been a wild turkey. He equaled Cooper’s Deerslayer in woodcraft, in hardihood, in simplicity–and also in loquacity.”

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    Ol’ Lilly was notorious for his large animal hunts. He trained dogs to hunt game and he loved to live out in the wilderness where he felt free and at liberty to live as he pleased. Lilly roamed and hunted from Arizona to Idaho and from Chihuahua, Mexico all the way to Louisiana and as a result of his epic adventures and travels, he became the centerpiece for a great volume of American folktales and folklore. At a stout 5’9″ tall and weighing about 180 pounds, Ben Lilly was known for his strength and stamina which never seemed to leave him even in old age. He was described as, “spare, full bearded, with mild, gentle eyes and a frame of steel and whipcord.” Because of his religious beliefs, Ben Lilly did not partake of smoking nor the consumption of alcohol or coffee, which make him unique among his companions and friends. Ol’ Lilly did, however, love to eat bear and is reported to have favored cougar meat above all other meats. Similar to some Native American belief systems Ben Lilly believed that eating the meat of a large animal allowed him to assume some of the power that animal possessed. He was a prolific and well known houndsmen, demanding but loving with his packs of hunting hounds which were mostly Southern catahoula and coonhound breeds. In 1908, Lilly left the U.S. for Mexico where he followed the Sierra Madre mountains into the Mexican state of Coahuila.  He is known to have hunted grizzly bears and become the central figure in a number of local tales that remain to this day. Most notably there is a folktale of him pursuing a large troublesome grizzly, recognizable by a white star on its fur, that had been terrorizing the locals of Camino Real. He gave a description of the grizzly hunt while in Coahuila, Mexico:

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    “Old man Sanborn set me on him. They was grizzlies, four of them, and I tracked them down by myself and killed them. They was desert bears, light colored with a stripe down their back, but desert or mountain, they didn’t get away and I killed the four of them, brought their skins back to Sanborn.”

    Prior to 1911 Ben Lilly trekked back across the border into the U.S. and settled in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. In 1911 Lilly gained employment with the government and a number of local cattle ranchers to track and kill predators which ended up earning him the most money he had ever made in his entire lifetime. Ben Lilly is credited with killing the last grizzly bear in the Gila Wilderness. In 1912 Ben Lilly is known to have been working as a hunter and trapper for the Apache National Forest in Arizona.  Living near the town of Clifton, Ben Lilly was earning $75 a month at the time. Between the years of 1916 and 1920 he worked for the U.S. Biological Survey as he would send specimens of the animals he killed to the U.S. Biological Survey (today it’s the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The variety of specimens Ol’ Lilly submitted to the agencies included mountain lions, brown bears, black bears, various species of deer, otter, and even some rare animals like the Mexican gray wolf and the ivory-billed woodpecker. Probably the most well known of the specimens hunted by Lilly that went to the Smithsonian Institution was a record-sized grizzly bear that he killed in northeast Arizona.

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    Ben Lilly died at eighty years of age on December 17, 1936  at a ranch in an area known as Pleasanton, which is close to Silver City, New Mexico. Ol’ Lilly is buried in the historic Memory Lane Cemetery in Silver City. The famed adventurer’s tombstone epitaph reads, “Lover of the Great Outdoors.”

    Ben Lilly sounds like my kind of guy with the exception of trying to personally kill every large predator in the continental United States. Of course those were different times and people’s values and priorities often shift over time so I can’t hold that against Ol’ Lilly. I’d love to find and buy an original knife he forged and hunted with; that would be a great relic to have.

    13. Alex W. Bealer

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    Alex W. Bealer is one of my favorite authors of blacksmithing and woodworking books. He was a legitimate old-time craftsman of wood and metal and lived in Atlanta, Georgia. He authored The Art of Blacksmithing (one of my favorite books),Old Ways of Working Wood, The Tools That Built America, and The Successful Craftsman. These are some of the better books to help a new blacksmith or wood worker to get started.  Alex W. Bealer’s blacksmithing books are among those that I have been recommending on this blog for a number of years now.

    Alex W. Bealer was born in Valdosta, Georgia, but was raised in the city of Atlanta. While in Atlanta, Bealer graduated from Boys High School in 1938. Bealer also earned a degree in English from Emory University. He entered the United States Marine Corps in 1943, during World War II, and rose to the rank of captain. He served in the Pacific theater during World War II and was recalled for active duty during the Korean War as well. After his time in the military, Alex W. Bealer made his living as an advertising executive. Woodworking and writing were his passions but were not his full time career at that time. Alex W. Bealer, blacksmith, woodworker, writer and researcher, died working in his shop in 1980 and was laid to rest in Arlington Memorial Park in Atlanta, Georgia.


    14. Simeon Wheelock

    Simeon Wheelock was a notable blacksmith from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, who is remembered primarily for his service as a minuteman in the Massachusetts militia during the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolutionary War. Living through the Revolutionary War, Simeon Wheelock was killed while on militia duty protecting the Springfield Armory during Shays’ Rebellion.

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    Simeon Wheelock was active in the Massachusetts militia in the 1700s and served during the French and Indian War in 1760. He married a woman by the name of Deborah Thayer and they settled in Uxbridge the same year. Together the Wheelock family would have eight children. Simeon worked as a blacksmith in a shop next to his house, which is still standing as a historical building in Uxbridge. Wheeloc was involved in town politics as well and served as the Uxbridge Town Clerk for five years.

    As the American Revolutionary War grew inevitable, in 1774, Wheelock became a member of the committee of correspondence in Uxbridge. Serving as a first lieutenant in Captain Joseph Chapin’s company of Massachusetts minutemen, Simeon Wheelock answered the alarm to arms on April 19, 1775 and fought members of the British army at the battles of Lexington and Concord. Later, during the American Revolutionary War, Simeon Wheelock served as Lieutenant in Captain Samuel Read’s company. His regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Tyler from the alarm of December 8, 1776 until January 21, 1777. His regiment was based in Providence, Rhode Island.

    Simeon Wheelock passed from this world by unfortunate accident on September 30, 1786 at the age of 45. While again answering the call of his state, this time in Springfield, Massachusetts, his horse slipped on the ice while engaged in the suppression of Shays’ Rebellion, a series of protests in 1786 and 1787 by American farmers against state and local enforcement of tax collections and judgments for debts owed.

    15. Masamune

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    Gorō Nyūdō Masamune is most commonly recognized as the greatest swordsmith in Japan’s long history. He forged primarily swords and daggers, which, in the Japanese Soshu tradition are called tachi and tantō respectively. Masamune’s birth and death dates are not precisely known but most historians agree that his swords were made during the late 13th and early 14th centuries or approximately 1288–1328. His family name is unknown although there are a number of claims from various families but these are thought to be ways to increase the standing of those family names and are widely considered to be falsified.

    Masamune, more than likely worked in the Sagami Province in the final days of the Kamakura Period (1288–1328). He is believed to have been formally trained by a number of legendary swordsmiths from the Bizen and Yamashiro provinces. Some possible swordsmith instructors could be Saburo Kunimune, Awataguchi Kunitsuna or Shintōgo Kunimitsu. Either by birth or by adoption, Masamune was the father of Hikoshiro Sadamune, who in his own right is considered one of the most famous Sōshū masters.

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    A prestigious award for swordsmiths is named for Masamune and is titled “the Masamune prize.” This award is bestowed upon the winner of the Japanese Sword Making Competition. While the award is not necessarily presented every year, it is always presented to a swordsmith who has forged a truly exceptional piece of work.

    Some of Masamune’s most famous swords by name:

    • Kotegiri Masamune
    • Hōchō Masamune
    • Honjo Masamune
    • Fudo Masamune

    16. Seppo Ilmarinen

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    Seppo Ilmarinen is a god and an archetypal artificer based in Finnish mythology. Known as “the Eternal Hammerer”, he was a blacksmith and inventor in the poetry collection derived from ancient runes known as the Kalevala.

    In addition to possessing immortality, he was able to create practically anything.  Despite this power and everlasting life, he seems to have had a little trouble with the ladies.

    Ilmarinen is shown to have worked with the metals that were known at the time. These include brass, copper, iron, gold and silver.

    The greatest of Ilmarinen’s creations include crafting the dome of the skies above and the forging of the Sampo which is a magical artifact that brings good fortune to the one who possesses it. Unfortunately the sampo was lost in battle, so, who knows, maybe it’ll show up in a Finnish yard sale some day.

    17. Didier Diderot

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    Didier Diderot, born September 14, 1685 in Langres, France was a notable blacksmith and craftsman. Didier was born into a family of well known craftsman.

    He was also the father of the world renowned encyclopedist, author and philosopher of enlightenment, Denis Diderot.

    He was particularly well known as a precision craftsman and specialized in the fabrication of medical and surgical cutting instruments like scalpels. His scalpels were sought out and bought by teaching doctors from all over.

    Diderot’s contributions to the improved quality of surgical procedures through the fabrication of exceptional surgical instruments is profound.

    18. Mark Aspery

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    Mark Aspery is one of my favorite authors on the craft of blacksmithing. His texts are instructive, well written and thorough.

    Mark’s work is truly world class and his educational approach will cut years off of a blacksmith’s learning process.

    He has a gift for educating others and leverages that gift both through personal appearances and through his writing. He travels the world educating blacksmiths on the finer aspects of the craft and draws great numbers of people to his seminars and presentations.

    Mark’s work is well established and his understanding of the craft of blacksmithing makes him one of the world’s most sought after authorities on the art and science of blacksmithing.

    I can tell you that every blacksmith I’ve met and interviewed has directed me to delve into the work and writing of Mark Aspery. Their forges and shops have his books in them and they refer to them constantly as they help to develop blacksmithing skills in those who are learning with them. Mark Aspery is both a quality educator and a world class blacksmith.

    Here are 3 of the best books on mastering the skills of a blacksmith written by Mark Aspery

    19. Lorenz Helmschmied

    Lorenz Helmschmied was part of one of the most celebrated blacksmithing families in all of Europe. Their primary specialization was the fabrication of body armor for esteemed clients like the Habsburg court which included the Holy Roman Emperors Frederick III and Maximilian I.

    Lorenz Helmschmied created some of the most technically complex and artistically innovative armors of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

    Documents show Lorenz was an apprentice armorer starting in 1469, and was working as a master armorer from the year 1477. It is in 1477 that the Augsburg city tax records make first mention of his creation of expensive suits of armor for the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III.

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    Sometime in the 1480s, Lorenz created incredibly innovative and unique matching sets of armor for Frederick and his son who was to be the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.

    It was in February of the year 1480 that Archduke Maximilian called on Lorenz Helmschmied to come to Ghent (present day Belgium) to work for him during various military campaigns in the Burgundian Netherlands.

    Lorenz was to remain in the Low Countries until May of 1481. He is mentioned in Burgundian court records as “Leurens de Helmestede armurier demeurant en la ville de Hapsburg en Allemaigne” which, of course, was a great honor and responsibility.

    One garniture (matching sets of armor) that Lorenz created for Maximilian during this time in history is on display even today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. Another set of matching armor suits is the elegant example of the attenuated “late-gothic” style of armor that can be seen as part of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

    Lorenz Helmschmied was officially invested with the title and privileges associated with the position of court armorer in 1491. He held this position for the rest of his life as did Conrad Seusenhofer, an armorer from Innsbrook, Austria.

    The Habsburg imperial armories contained many of the incredible armor pieces created by the Helmschmied workshop during Lorenz’s Helmschmied’s lifetime. These pieces include protections for both a man and his horse and also feature many types of specialized plate armor for tournament and field combat. These and other Helmschmied produced armor pieces can be viewed at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria and the Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain.

    20. Francis Whitaker

    Franciswhitaker 1024x683 8247755

    Article from the New York Times written by Douglas Martin and published on October 31, 1999.

    Francis Whitaker, a blacksmith who never shod a horse but who helped preserve the 3,000-year-old craft of molding iron and elevated it to the level of an art, died Oct. 23 at a hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colo. He was 92.

    Before his own proficiency and that of the hundreds he would teach brought him fame, he studied as an apprentice with the great smiths of Europe and America. Over his long career, he hammered thousands upon thousands of iron bars into artistic shapes to adorn buildings throughout the United States. And in his 70’s, when the craft appeared to be dying, he began a mission to pass his Old World techniques and esthetics to young smiths lured by the magical malleability of the metal. Just a month ago, he helped his son Stephen fashion irons for a house he was building in California.

    At his explicit request, he grasped a hammer at the moment of his death.

    ”Iron has a strength no other material has,” Mr. Whitaker once said, ”and yet it has a capacity for being light, graceful and beautiful. It has this capacity — but no desire. It will do nothing by itself except resist you.

    ”All the desire, and all the knowledge of how to impart this desire to the iron, must come from the smith.”

    Some of Mr. Whitaker’s thousands of delicate, oddly fluid creations can be seen at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Liberty Street in Manhattan, as well as at the former Central Savings Bank building at Broadway and 73d Street; on the intricate gates of the Spanish Revival homes of Carmel, Calif., and on a balcony in Aspen, Colo., that is so sensitively made it appears almost feathery.

    Franciswhitaker1 721x1024 3923288

    Mr. Whitaker, a big, robust man with appropriately bulging biceps, was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1997, but his proudest achievement was working with the hundreds of young artisans eager to follow in his footsteps. He and the handful of other surviving blacksmiths had feared that the acetylene torch and the arc welder, tools developed during World War II, would make working iron as simple as cutting wood or putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Efficiency threatened art.

    But by 1976, increasing numbers of young blacksmiths were banding together to preserve ornamental blacksmithing, an architectural tradition with roots going back to 14th-century Europe. At a conference of the new Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America, Mr. Whitaker had a sort of epiphany.

    ”By the end of the conference,” he said, ”I knew I had a mission. I had never seen so many people hungry for knowledge.”

    He established the Francis Whitaker Blacksmith Schools, one at the Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colo., where he lived, and one at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. He taught at more than 150 blacksmith workshops and wrote many articles and a book, ”The Blacksmith’s Cookbook: Recipes in Iron.” He corresponded extensively with many aspiring blacksmiths.

    ”If it wasn’t for Frank, nobody would be doing this as a profession or even as a token craft,” said Dorothy Stiegler, a blacksmith who lives in Carmel.

    She remembered him telling her how a great blacksmith must look at a hunk of iron and perceive a candlestick or an animal head hidden in the middle. She also recalled him as an exacting taskmaster. ”Now make 100 of these and you’ll probably have it,” he would say after a lesson.

    The effect was to help rescue a dying profession. ”It really was on the wane,” said Tom Joyce, a 43-year-old blacksmith in Santa Fe who was heartily encouraged by Mr. Whitaker. ”There weren’t many blacksmiths of his generation who were willing to share information like that.”

    Mr. Whitaker was born in Woburn, Mass. His father was an architecture critic who became the first editor of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects. His mother, a suffragist who was once beaten in a demonstration, demanded that her four children know the value of hard work and taught them to cook, wash dishes and darn socks.

    By the end of his junior year at an Alabama boarding school, Mr. Whitaker had had enough of formal education. Through his father’s connections, he was accepted as an apprentice by Samuel Yellin in Philadelphia, perhaps America’s most famous architectural blacksmith at the time. He brought few preconceptions.

    ”All I knew about blacksmiths at that time was that they were usually brawny men who sweated a lot and they put shoes on horses,” he said.

    He was dissatisfied with being part of a 200-person shop with large commissions from the Federal Government, because he had no opportunity to take a project through to completion. So after completing that apprenticeship, he went to Berlin as an apprentice to Julius Schramm, also a master blacksmith. In addition to sharpening his skills, he became interested in designing artistic ironwork.

    He then found his way to Carmel, where enthusiasm for Spanish Revival architecture was strong in the 1920’s and 30’s and where he found a ready market for his ironwork.

    During World War II, Mr. Whitaker taught welding in shipyards. He became friends with John Steinbeck, with whom he played cards on the beach. He inspired the pivotal character in Steinbeck’s story ”The Chrysanthemums,” and was also the model for the heroic Connor Larkin in the Leon Uris novel ”Trinity.”

    Always a strong environmentalist, he was on the City Council in Carmel, as he was in Aspen, where he moved in 1963, when he began to feel that Carmel was losing its small-town charm. After he questioned the commercialism of Aspen, he moved to Carbondale in 1988.

    While in Aspen, he married Portia Curlee, who traveled to blacksmithing events with him. She died in 1988. He is survived by a son, Stephen, of Davis, Calif., and a daughter, Sheila Hutchins, of Monterey, Calif.

    He is also survived by four stepsons, all of whom have the last name Curlee: Charles, of Houston; Paul, of Grand Junction, Colo.; John, of Eagan, Minn., and James, of South Bend, Ind.

    Sarah Harkins, a good friend of 50 years, said she and Mr. Whitaker had been planning a train trip to Spain this summer, like many train trips they had taken.

    His brother Rogers, a writer for The New Yorker magazine, who died in 1981, had been one of the world’s most famous train travelers, logging 2.7 million miles by rail during his lifetime. He wrote about the trips under the pseudonym E. M. Frimbo.

    Relatives and friends recalled Francis Whitaker’s words before his recent stomach surgery.. ”Fix it,” Mr. Whitaker told his doctors. ”There is still so much I have to do.”

    Article: Anvil Height, How to Get it Right

    21. Fujiwara Kanenaga

    Fujiwara 1045639

    Renewed interest grew in the craftsmanship of Fujiwara Kanenaga after the Japanese surrender during World War II. The Fujiwara Kanenaga made sword carried by General Tomoyuki Yamashita was confiscated by General Douglas MacArthur when Yamashita was convicted of war crimes. The sword is now on display at the West Point Military Museum. Fujiwara Kanenaga was a highly acclaimed swordsmith who is thought to have developed his own unique type of stainless steel. It is unclear if this is a similar type of stainless steel to that we know of today, but needless to say, this 17th century swordsmith was a master of the craft indeed. Throughout the centuries the Samurai have cherished the swords of Fujiwara Kanenaga and have considered them to be of the highest quality.

    22. Elihu Burritt

    Elihuburritt 3958054

    Elihu Burritt is an interesting character to me partly because we are distant relations.

    Elihu Burritt came into the world on December 8, 1810, in the city of New Britain, Connecticut. As an adult Elihu Burritt was actively involved in many causes especially those surrounding civil liberties, opposing slavery, working for temperance, and working to achieve world peace. The positions and beliefs held by Elihu Burritt and the accomplishments he attained caused President Lincoln, in 1864, to appoint him to the position of United States consul in Birmingham, England. Elihu Burritt first trained as a blacksmith, and people everywhere called him “Learned Blacksmith” as a nickname. In fact, Elihu Burritt is believed to have been the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Village Blacksmith.

    At one point, Elihu Burritt worked for a local forge and earned $12 a month. At this time, his fame as a linguist began to develop rapidly. One fateful day, Elihu offered his services as a translator of German to William Lincoln of Worcester who had a letter than needed to be translated. Being impressed by Elihu Burritt’s language ability, William Lincoln passed on the newly translated letter to Governor Edward Everett who read it aloud before a teachers’ institute. During his presentation, Governor Edward Everett gave Elihu Burritt the name, “Learned Blacksmith” and it stuck! Although he was respected and accomplished as a scholar, Elihu Burritt preferred, as he told Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to consider himself a humble member of the working class. Burritt said, “I shall covet no higher human reward for any attainment I may make in literature or science, than the satisfaction of having stood in the lot of the working man.” That’s a cool dude if you ask me!

    Elihuburritt1 1024x674 1730969

    Elihu Burritt’s role as U.S. consul required him to report on “facts bearing upon the productive capacities, industrial character and natural resources of communities embraced in their Consulate Districts”.  In order to get a good feel for the people and culture he was working with, Elihu traveled great distances from his home in Harborne in southwest Birmingham, England, primarily on foot. He decided that the best way to understand his new home was to walk it and so that is what he did.

    During a trip abroad in 1846 and 1847, Elihu was appalled by the suffering of the Irish working class during the Great Famine (Potato Famine). He decided to found a peace organization known as the League of Universal Brotherhood in 1846. In 1848 Elihu Burritt organized the first international congress of the Friends of Peace in Brussels, Belgium. In 1849, a second “Peace Congress” met in Paris and was presided over by Victor Hugo. Burritt attended a number of “Peace Congresses” namely in Frankfurt in 1850, London in 1851, Manchester in 1852 and Edinburgh in 1853. The outbreak of the Crimean War and the American Civil War influenced his views greatly.

    Burritt came up with the notion that Britain, which had introduced the uniform penny post in 1840, should create an international “ocean penny post” and reduce the cost of mailing a letter overseas from one shilling (twelve pence) to three pence. Burritt argued that this singular action could increase international correspondence, international trade, and therefore would positively impact universal brotherhood. While postal rates were systematically reduced, his goals were not entirely achieved during his lifetime.

    Elihu Burritt published 37 books and articles including a well known work of literature called “Sparks from the Anvil.”

    Elihu Burritt died on March 6, 1879 in New Britain, Connecticut.

    23. Antonio Missaglia

    Antoniom 3535927

    Antonio Missaglia and his brother were noted blacksmith craftsmen that were active as armorers during the 1400s primarily in the northern Italian area around the city of Milan.

    Missaglia’s last name was a nickname taken by the artist based on where he was born. His family’s original last name was Negroni and his purpose for assuming a new name is not known.

    I’m sure everyone who is gaining notoriety may want to change their name at some point if their family is filled with a bunch of weirdos. Whether or not this was the case with Antonio, one can only speculate.

    What is known is that both Antonio and his brother Tommaso created armor by trade, primarily for nobles and knights in the region surrounding Milan.

    Some of Missaglia’s more noteable pieces can be seen at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. One of these, a full suit of amour, is shown on the left.

    24. Peter Madsen Peel

    Peterpeel 1 4824320

    Peter Madsen Peel, born in 1820 was a founder of the city of Mt. Pleasant, Utah.

    He was also the city’s first blacksmith, and a recognized civic leader.

    Today, you can see a replica of his blacksmith shop which is right next to the Relic Hall in Mt. Pleasant. The shop includes a fully operational forge.

    Peel was born in Aakirkeby, Denmark. Sometime, in 1853 or 1854, his family emigrated to the United States, living first in Lehi, Utah. Then, in 1858, the family moved to the area of Sanpete County during the Utah War.

    Peel and a number of other notable figures founded Mt. Pleasant, Utah in 1859.

    In addition to being a founder of the city and also the first blacksmith in Mt. Pleasant, Peel was an investor in an early mill and was the first president of the Birch Creek Irrigation Company. He was also a Mormon leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    25. Kunz Lochner

    Kunzlochner 7827603

    Kunz (Konrad) Lochner (1510–1567) was a well established master armourer from Nuremberg, Germany.

    Like Lorenz Helmschmied, Kunz was the son of a well known armourer of the same name and his family was made up of a long line of blacksmiths.

    His reputation as a blacksmith and armorer was stellar.

    In 1543, he began work for Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor.

    The next year he started working at the court of the future Maximilian II.

    The Kunz Lochner shop produced many of the most magnificent parade armors and ornamental metal fittings that were made during the entire renaissance period.

    Many of Kunz Lochner’s works exist today and can be found in the United States and Europe at museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Livrustkammaren.

    One of his famous pieces is shown on the right.






    Sours: https://theconsummatedabbler.com/2021/08/25-of-the-worlds-most-famous-blacksmiths/
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    1. Wareham Forge Blog | Hammered Out Bits

    Wareham Forge Blog | Hammered Out Bits Ontario, Canada
    Darrell Markewitz is a professional blacksmith who specializes in the Viking Age. He designed the living History program for L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC (Parks Canada) and worked on a number of major international exhibits. A recent passion is experimental iron smelting, 'Hammered Out Bits' focuses primarily on IRON and the VIKING AGE
    4 posts / month ⋅ Mar 2006 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    2. Alec Steele

    Alec SteeleNorwich, England, UK
    Hey! My name is Alec Steele, I'm a blacksmith and Youtuber. This YouTube channel is designed to give you an entertaining insight into the life of a blacksmith in the 21st Century.
    Also inMetal Working Youtube Channels
    56.5K ⋅ 21.5K ⋅ 1 post / week ⋅ Apr 2011 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    3. Blacksmith Designer

    Blacksmith DesignerEngland, UK
    Combining original contemporary design and high quality craftsmanship, James creates work that is firmly rooted in the present. In contrast to much ironwork today, His work is characterized by clean lines and considered details. He is interested in exploring the process of making, combining heat, force and ingenuity to manipulate this most dynamic of materials.
    3.9K ⋅ 445 ⋅ 18.5K ⋅ Mar 2014 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    4. Queen City Forging | Innovation Blog

    Queen City Forging | Innovation BlogCincinnati, Ohio, US
    Welcome to the new Forging Innovations blog by Queen City Forging! We've been a leader in the forging industry for over a century, and during that long history we've accrued a wealth of knowledge about forging. While the basic principles of the process have remained, we have continued innovating forging technology and techniques to provide solutions for leading manufacturers. We use this blog to share our forging expertise and provide information on Forging.
    135 ⋅ 45 ⋅ 6 posts / year ⋅ Oct 2016 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    5. DIY Blacksmithing

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    Welcome to DIY Blacksmithing Blog. Our mission is to provide resources and information to aspiring blacksmiths and to promote blacksmithing as a pastime and a vocation.
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    6. Chandler Dickinson

    Chandler Dickinson Welcome to YouTube channel by Chandler Dickinson. This channel contains videos on the making of various weapons and other materials by the use of a Forge.
    Jun 2010 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    7. Steel Forging

    Steel ForgingChina
    For more than 20 years, Ningbo Fly Drop Forge Co.,Ltd, located in Ningbo,China, are professional steel forging compay specialized in supplying our customers with high quality custom steel forging components.
    1 ⋅ Jan 2017 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    8. Cloverdale Forge

    Cloverdale ForgeWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Located on the windswept prairie of Manitoba, Cloverdale Forge focuses on preserving the craft of blacksmithing while designing to fit modern-day needs.
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    9. RtidForged Blog

    RtidForged Blog We use classic blacksmithing techniques to make beautiful iron furniture. We forge our ironwork the same way it has been done for thousands of years. Some of our machinery is slightly updated, but the ingredients are the same: fire, iron, and blunt force.
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    10. Edmonton Blacksmith Blog

    Edmonton Blacksmith BlogEdmonton, Kentucky, US
    Edmonton Blacksmith Shop is a sister company of Odin Manufacturing and Design Corp. We are a modern full service blacksmith shop dedicated to metalworking excellence. Our blog shows you the latest and greatest techniques in a way that incorporates traditional metalwork.
    Oct 2013 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    11. Blacksmithing by Joey van der Steeg | YouTube

    Blacksmithing by Joey van der Steeg | YouTubeNetherlands
    The main purpose of my channel is to provide amusing and instructional videos. But after a few years now, it has shifted to a personal documentary about myself how I roll deeper and deeper into the craft.
    30 posts / year ⋅ Jan 2009 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    12. Blacksmith Doris

    Blacksmith Doris Blacksmith Doris is a group of women exploring blacksmithing in a friendly, sharing environment. Through skill sharing we teach and learn the craft of blacksmithing with an aim to making traditional and contemporary objects.
    Feb 2012 View Latest Posts⋅Get Email Contact

    Sours: https://blog.feedspot.com/blacksmith_blogs/

    Learning blacksmithing is an endless journey. It continues as long as you keep practicing the craft. So, if you want to keep getting better at blacksmithing, you have to figure out and explore an easy way to learn. One of the best ways to learn is by exploring various blacksmith YouTube Channels.

    There are several ways to gather knowledge about blacksmithing, and online options are one of them. Online options make it easy and convenient to collect valuable information about anything you seek. There are several online platforms, and one of them is YouTube. 

    YouTube is one of the platforms that have contributed immensely to the development and sustenance of modern-day blacksmithing. It also helps enormously in the transition of blacksmithing from the Stone Age to the digital era. Most online courses, videos, and classes are usually available through YouTube channels.

    These blacksmith YouTube Channels are handled by some incredible and unique craftsmen willing to share their knowledge. They are eager to help as many people that are interested in blacksmithing learn with ease.

    The process of exploring YouTube channels is relatively easy and convenient. They are interested in preserving the history of blacksmithing while also contributing to its sustenance. Here are 25 of the best blacksmithing YouTube channels and YouTubers.

    Chandler Dickinson

    Chandler Dickinson blacksmith owns the YouTube channel known as old-school forges. His channel mainly focuses on the making of various weapons and other materials by the use of forge. He produces an average of over four videos a year since he began in December 2007. He has about 172,000 YouTube followers and he has had approximately 23,805,363 views.

    Walter Sorrells

    Walter is a very proficient blacksmith who took his inspiration from the Japanese tradition. He specializes in making YouTube blacksmithing videos about blades that are typically Japanese and he has one of the best blacksmithing YouTube channels. Consequently, most of Walter’s instructional videos outline the significant crafts involved in crafting the Japanese swords and he is one of the most consistent YouTubers with an average of one video per month since his debut in May 2009.


    Do you want to learn from actual blacksmith processes and not simulations? Abom709 is one of the most valuable options to consider. Abom makes a unique video style by taking videos of his work and sharing them online on YouTube. He gives informative and helpful tips about blacksmithing job descriptions. He mainly makes use of machines; hence, he calls his shop a machine shop. He is one of the oldest in the trade since he made his first in Oct 2007. He has an average of 1 video per week with his consistent effort.


    Jody coordinates the activities on the weldingtipsandtricks which is one of the best blacksmithing YouTube channels. He makes a video every single week. The video combines both entertainment and inspiration and he also gives professional safety advice. He also offers expert advice on training before using welding equipment. He made his debut in November 2007 and has maintained a standard reputation among blacksmiths.  

    The Old Tony

     The old Tony is another reputable YouTuber who is a DIYer that just find pleasure in doing things. His interest does not end with making these things alone, and he is also committed to helping others learn. He uses a comic tone to make his teaching exciting and understandable. The channel teaches various builds, including espresso pot and end mill grinding fixtures. The track has been in existence since 2010. 

    Torbjorn Hman

    Torbjorn Hman is a reputable YouTuber interested in inspiring others about DIY crafts and creating other projects. The channel is not a very big one yet, but it can help do many tasks. The teaching method on this channel can serve as a memorable gift. So, they can help you improve your skills in almost all aspects of blacksmithing with this blacksmithing YouTube channels. 


    6061.com has been operating since May 2009. The YouTube channel’s video length is usually 7 minutes of intensive teaching. The channel posts videos at intervals and helps you learn with ease. The core of the YouTube channel is Aluminum welding and Fabrication. They also offer some miscellaneous videos that are slightly different from aluminum works. It is mostly suitable for construction blacksmiths. 


    Myfordboy has been offering quality YouTube videos for blacksmiths and other DIYers since 2007. The core of this channel model engineering shows how to build engines. Most videos on this channel show how to cast metal parts from craps and other found materials. The YouTube Channel posts an average of one video a week. 

    Build Something Cool 

    Do you want to build something cool as a blacksmith? This channel is for you. This channel will share almost everything you know about metals and their craft. They have maintained a standard reputation for uploading quality videos. The channel uploads over ten videos a year, and they will help you learn almost everything you need to know about metals. 


    Oxtoolo makes things easy for you with learning about meal working. This YouTube video is a journal that contains valuable information. It is a detailed life spent building and designing special instruments, tools, and mechanical devices. These designs are primarily useful for metalworking, medical, scientific, and product development industries. The channel is also interactive, and it is a place to expand and share skills. You can also learn various techniques from other practitioners. 

    Ron Covell 

    Do you need visual illustrations to help you get better with metalworking and forging? Ron Covell YouTube channel is an ideal pick for you. It is one of the oldest tracks for blacksmiths. It has been in operation since September 2007. The channel posts an average of three videos in a month, which contains detailed and valuable information. The owner of this channel also has DVDs on metalworking and welding. 

    Robert Cowan 

    You can learn how to build anything for your garage with Robert Cowan. His YouTube Channel started in March 2008 and posted an average of one video per week. It is one of the few blacksmithing YouTube channels that can help you develop your technical and engineering skills. You can learn how to build robotics, CNC, and more! Following Robert Cowan’s Channel is like an adventure of endless possibilities. You can explore all you want as long as you are interested in the machine aspect of blacksmithing. 


    Lazzemetalshaping started in December 2008 and posted an average of one video a year. Although its video release is not as constant as most other YouTube Channels, it still offers quality videos that will help you learn a lot about metal fabrication. The videos on this channel can help you achieve your dreams with metal fabrication. It is also useful for custom cars, antique cars, restorations, and hot rods. Lazzemetalshaping does not only provide training videos. It also offers expert tips, tricks, how-to, and DIY techniques. This channel can guide you to make metals into anything you want. 


    42Fab is all about Multi-medium Fabrication and metalworking. The channel started in October 2011, and it has helped many professionals grow in their metalworking skills. The channel posts an average of 2 videos per quarter, which are loaded with valuable information. The YouTube channel contains videos that will help you build signs, decorations, and furniture. It includes videos that can help you craft metals professionally. 

    Wide Vision Metal Fab

    Do you want a Blacksmith YouTube Channel that is wholly dedicated to metalworking? Try the Wide Vision Metal Fab. This channel is devoted entirely to metalworking videos. This channel started in April 2014, and it was formerly known as GreatSamson3000. The owner of this channel runs his own metal fabrication business in Rural North West Kansas. The cannel posts an average of one video in a month. 

    Tom Zelickman 

    Tom Zelickman is a reputable YouTuber you can turn to if you want to gain extensive knowledge about metalworking. The owner shares his wisdom and adventures in metalworking, aiming to inspire and teach others. Most projects on this YouTube Channel focus on metal fabrication, CNC plasma cutting, lathe work, milling, and welding. You will also get to learn a lot of medieval and old-fashioned hand-crafted projects. The channel started in July 2006, and they post about two videos per quarter. 

    Stefan Metal Art

    Stefan Metal Art is another impressive YouTube Channel for Blacksmiths. The channel primarily focuses on homemade tools and metalwork. So, the videos work for both professional blacksmiths and hobbyists alike. You will get to learn everything you need to know about the techniques and other know-how of this craft—the channel posts about three videos in a year since it started in April 2020. 

    Small Metalworking Machines 

    Are you looking out to diversify your metalworking skills? Small Metalworking Machines is a reliable channel for learning about various metalworking crafts. This channel posts video about milling machines, small lathes, and some other metal forming machines. The channel is one of the most reliable and consistent channels. The channel started in March 2016, and they post videos frequently without definite intervals. 

    Alec Steele 

    Alec Steel is a name that is popular among most blacksmiths that learn online. The YouTuber is also a full-time blacksmith that carries out several blacksmithing projects. This channel’s primary focus is to help you have an insight into the life of a blacksmith in the 21st century. The videos are entertaining, informative, and inspiring. The YouTube channel started in April 2011 and posts at least one video a week. Alec Steele videos will expose you to the modern lifestyle of a blacksmith. 

    Dirty Smith 

    Dirty Smith is another famous YouTube channel among blacksmithing enthusiasts. The YouTuber is in the family business known as Dragon Forge. He started working along with his father; hence, gathering many experiences over time. He shares a lot of videos of various products and imitates the real-life scenario with no acting. 

    Rowan Taylor 

    Rowan Taylor offers valuable learning access to blacksmiths that love to learn online. If you want to learn more about traditional pieces and develop materials from scratch, this channel is for you. It is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. You can learn how to make auger bits, shears, beginners’ tools, and other similar projects. They consistently post videos that will help blacksmiths learn. 


    Clickspring favors any blacksmith that intends to integrate a little technology into their blacksmithing process. Most videos on this channel focus on clock-making technologies. It also helps you in the best choice of tools for specific operations. YouTube has a whopping number of 356,948 subscribers, and they consistently post videos. 

    Double Boost 

    Do you want videos that will teach you profound techniques with a level of humor? You have it here! John double boost is one of the YouTube channels that use comic ideas to teach blacksmithing. The videos primarily focus on useful machining techniques for blacksmiths that want to move to a more mechanized approach.  

    Reasons You Should Explore Blacksmith YouTube Channels

    As stated earlier, blacksmiths have a lot of means they can learn about trade and craft. The most challenging of them is an apprenticeship, where the aspiring blacksmiths need to be physically present to learn. 

    However, various online options now make things a lot easier, and one of the best online options to explore is YouTube. The benefits of learning via YouTube are immense. A lot of people usually recommend it for learning several skills, including blacksmithing. 

    If you are yet to explore various YouTube options to improve your blacksmithing skills, you miss out. Still need reasons to start exploring YouTube Channels? Below are some of the reasons why you should explore YouTube channels as a blacksmith.

    • Blacksmithing on YouTube is easy, fast, and convenient to practice.
    • It provides quick and fast answers to any question you have about the blacksmithing trade or techniques. 
    • YouTube videos will provide a visual guide that makes learning easy and practical. It is easier to simulate what you read compared to the one you read or audio. 
    • YouTube videos are readily available when you need them. All you need is a mobile device and internet connection. You can even save some of the videos for future references. 
    • YouTube has a limitless pool of knowledge. You can get to learn from different experienced blacksmiths who are specialists in various techniques. 
    • It helps you to beat the hassle of distance and time. You can always learn at your convenient time, and you don’t need to travel far and wide before you get to learn.
    • Most YouTube channels are interactive. So, you get to link up with other blacksmiths from various parts of the world. 
    • It is less stressful and doesn’t cost much. 


    YouTube lessons are significant signs of progress in the blacksmith craft that have made the trade relatively easier. They offer a standard alternative to a physical apprenticeship to learn the blacksmithing trade.

    Consequently, there are some creative and skilled craftsmen behind these videos. They are now masters in this field, and they are ready to share knowledge with those willing to learn. They provide individuals with opportunities to learn at their convenience.

    These YouTubers offer varieties of lessons that will help you to get better. Each channel provides different values, and you can pick the best for you. There is no restriction or limit to the number of channels you can explore. 

    The channels above are some of the available options. There are several others you can use as long as it suits your needs for the moment. Feel free to explore various options. 

    Sours: https://blacksmithcode.com/blacksmith-youtube-channel/

    2020 famous blacksmiths

    Blacksmithing has one of the most considerable histories when compared to other professions. It is a profession that evolved with time and has contributed immensely to humanity’s survival through these ages. Over the years, some specific blacksmiths contributed to blacksmithing as a profession and society at large. Some famous blacksmiths help the sustainability of the craft through these years.

    Many individuals only know blacksmithing as an ancient skill. But it is also essential to understand that many individuals contributed to the development and advancement of the trade. Even those that claim to love blacksmithing don’t know the famous blacksmiths. 

    Some already made their contributions, while the living ones are still making their contribution to the trade. Do you want to know about some of the greatest blacksmiths in history? 

    Here is a list of some notable blacksmiths whose contributions have traveled down history lane. These blacksmiths created both functional and artistic pieces that are much admired today.

    Lorenz Helmschmied [1450-1515, Augsburg, Germany]

    Lorenz is a famous blacksmith in history for being one of the 15th and 16th centuries’ greatest armorers. Since armors are one of the most valuable pieces during this age, Lorenz Helmschmied established himself as one of the best. Despite the low technology at that age, he was able to develop technologically innovative designs and intricate metalworking styles that are still appreciated today. He made a famous helmet named “Sallet helmet” Maximilian I, who was the emperor. This helmet has a personalized fit and a sleek design that is much treasured today in the metropolitan museum of art in New York City.

    Simeon Wheelock [1741-1786, Massachusetts, United States]

    Simeon is an essential mention on the list of most famous blacksmiths in history because of his extensive military service. He worked as a blacksmith in his shop and spent time serving the military, and he served in many wars, including the Indian war and the French war. He also played a significant role during the battle of Lexington and Concord during the American civil war. Wheelock also died while serving in the militia during shay’s rebellion in 1786. Besides his fame as a blacksmith, Simeon Wheelock is also famous for his pivotal role in many wars. He was a Concord during the American Revolution, and he became a minuteman at Lexington’s battle. 

    John Fritz [1822-1913, Pennsylvania, United States]

    Till today, fritz is still considered the US steel industry’s father because of his pioneer role in ironworking facilities and organizations. He also takes credit for the development of various steel forging techniques and amour plates. He also contributed to the manufacturing of rails, which led to the railroad industry’s boom by inventing more effective strategies. John is one of the earliest blacksmiths to explore steel operation on a large scale. 

    Tom Joyce [1956-present, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States]

    Tome Joyce is one of the modern-day legendary blacksmiths doing a lot to preserve the history and traditions of Blacksmithing. He widely harnessed scrap metals in the manufacture of historical art pieces. Tom Joyce spent a lot of time moving across borders to practice blacksmithing. He works in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Brussels, Belgium. His works are significant for using metal scraps to effectively convey various political, environmental, and historical themes. He is also teaching Blacksmithing in several institutions across Europe and South America.

    Brad Silberberg [1953-present, Baltimore, Maryland, USA]

    Brad Silberberg is another modern-day blacksmith and one of the most famous blacksmiths in modern age. He started as a wood sculptor but later gained massive popularity in the metalworking industry. Brad Silberberg is one of the few self-taught blacksmiths in history. He learned blacksmith by reading books, and he set up his small workshop in a chicken coop. Brad Silberberg is famous for making jewelry, sculptures, and other decorative arts. Now, he is merging his trade with teaching blacksmithing in Mesa Creative Arts Center, Pennsylvania. 

    Samuel Yellin [1884-1940, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA]

    Born in 1884 in Ukraine, Samuel Yellin started getting familiar with the blacksmithing trade early in his life. He became a blacksmith apprentice at 11 years old and graduated from school at 16 years. He moved with his family to Pennsylvania in 1950, where he continued his blacksmithing education at the Philadelphia school of industrial art. Samuel started his shop in 1909 after graduating and also took up a teaching role in the school. Samuel Yellin is famous for his decorative ironworking. He made a lot of high-end gateways, lighting, and other similar pieces. Some of his works are still available in reputable places like Bryn Mawr College and Bowdoin College. 

    Thomas Davenport [1802-1851, Vermont, United States]

    Thomas Davenport is one of the famous blacksmiths that started his career early. He is famous as an inventor. Thomas Davenport and his first partner, Orange Smalley, purchased an electromagnet. The original use of this electromagnet is to separate iron ores. After a series of experiments, Thomas Davenport and his friend successfully produced rotary motion and made patented electric cars in 1837. He could not push his work to a large scale during his lifetime due to financial constraints. But the significance of Thomas Davenport’s work became famous in the 1900s and is explored for various new-age technologies.  

    Alexander Winker Biller III [1921-1980, Valdosta, Georgia]

    Alexander Winker Biller is one of the famous blacksmiths that contribute immensely to teaching and practicing this historic craft. He practices woodworking and blacksmithing. His practices are similar to the old-time blacksmiths, earning him a spot in the history books. Alexander Winker Biller is particularly famous for his contribution towards blacksmith learning. He is the author of several blacksmithing books, including The Tools That Build America, The Successful Craftsman, and Blacksmithing old ways of working woods. These books are useful for anyone in the blacksmithing trade and those that still intend to start. 


    Blacksmithing is considered a profession with great history because of the useful contribution of some individuals. These individuals did, and some are still doing a lot to create, preserve, and hand over the history and traditions of blacksmithing to the coming generation.

    Aside from those listed above, other notable mentions among the famous blacksmiths include; Yoshino Yoshihara, Brad Silberberg, Jan Liwacz, Thomas Davenport, Alexander Hamilton Willard, Eli Whitney, Joseph Henry, Andre-Marie Ampere of France, Kiyochika kanechama, and so on.

    Sours: https://blacksmithcode.com/famous-blacksmiths/
    Famous Blacksmiths Shop wedding


    Person who creates wrought iron or steel products by forging, hammering, bending, and cutting

    For other uses, see Blacksmith (disambiguation).

    "Blacksmiths" redirects here. For the suburb in New South Wales, see Blacksmiths, New South Wales.

    Kovář při práci (Velikonoční trhy na Václavském náměstí) 055.jpg

    A modern blacksmith exhibiting at a market stall

    Occupation type


    Activity sectors

    CompetenciesPhysical strength, conceptualization

    Fields of

    Artist, Craftsman

    Related jobs


    A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects primarily from wrought iron or steel, but sometimes from other metals, by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut (cf. tinsmith). Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons. There was an historical opposition between the heavy work of the blacksmith and the more delicate operation of a whitesmith, who usually worked in gold, silver, pewter, or the finishing steps of fine steel.[1] The place where a blacksmith works is called variously a smithy, a forge or a blacksmith's shop.

    While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, in former times the blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain.

    Statue of a blacksmith (Monument to John Cockerill in Brussels).


    The "black" in "blacksmith" refers to the black firescale[citation needed], a layer of oxides that forms on the surface of the metal during heating. The origin of "smith" is debated, it may come from the old English word "smythe" meaning "to strike"[citation needed] or it may have originated from the Proto-German "smithaz" meaning "skilled worker."[2]

    Smithing process

    Blacksmiths work by heating pieces of wrought iron or steel until the metal becomes soft enough for shaping with hand tools, such as a hammer, an anvil and a chisel. Heating generally takes place in a forge fueled by propane, natural gas, coal, charcoal, coke, or oil.

    Some modern blacksmiths may also employ an oxyacetylene or similar blowtorch for more localized heating. Induction heating methods are gaining popularity among modern blacksmiths.

    Color is important for indicating the temperature and workability of the metal. As iron heats to higher temperatures, it first glows red, then orange, yellow, and finally white. The ideal heat for most forging is the bright yellow-orange color that indicates forging heat. Because they must be able to see the glowing color of the metal, some blacksmiths work in dim, low-light conditions, but most work in well-lit conditions. The key is to have consistent lighting, but not too bright. Direct sunlight obscures the colors.

    The techniques of smithing can be roughly divided into forging (sometimes called "sculpting"), welding, heat-treating, and finishing.


    A blacksmith forging in Brazil, in 2015

    Forging—the process smiths use to shape metal by hammering—differs from machining in that forging does not remove material. Instead, the smith hammers the iron into shape. Even punching and cutting operations (except when trimming waste) by smiths usually re-arrange metal around the hole, rather than drilling it out as swarf.

    Forging uses seven basic operations or techniques:

    • Drawing down
    • Shrinking (a type of upsetting)
    • Bending
    • Upsetting
    • Swaging
    • Punching
    • Forge welding

    These operations generally require at least a hammer and anvil, but smiths also use other tools and techniques to accommodate odd-sized or repetitive jobs.


    Traditional blacksmith next to his forge of stone and brick

    Drawing lengthens the metal by reducing one or both of the other two dimensions. As the depth is reduced, or the width narrowed, the piece is lengthened or "drawn out."

    As an example of drawing, a smith making a chisel might flatten a square bar of steel, lengthening the metal, reducing its depth but keeping its width consistent.

    Drawing does not have to be uniform. A taper can result as in making a wedge or a woodworking chisel blade. If tapered in two dimensions, a point results.

    Drawing can be accomplished with a variety of tools and methods. Two typical methods using only hammer and anvil would be hammering on the anvil horn, and hammering on the anvil face using the cross peen of a hammer.

    Another method for drawing is to use a tool called a fuller, or the peen of the hammer, to hasten the drawing out of a thick piece of metal. (The technique is called fullering from the tool.) Fullering consists of hammering a series of indentations with corresponding ridges, perpendicular to the long section of the piece being drawn. The resulting effect looks somewhat like waves along the top of the piece. Then the smith turns the hammer over to use the flat face to hammer the tops of the ridges down level with the bottoms of the indentations. This forces the metal to grow in length (and width if left unchecked) much faster than just hammering with the flat face of the hammer.


    Canadian blacksmith in the 1970s

    Heating iron to a "forging heat" allows bending as if it were a soft, ductile metal, like copper or silver.

    Bending can be done with the hammer over the horn or edge of the anvil or by inserting a bending fork into the hardy hole (the square hole in the top of the anvil), placing the work piece between the tines of the fork, and bending the material to the desired angle. Bends can be dressed and tightened, or widened, by hammering them over the appropriately shaped part of the anvil.

    Some metals are "hot short", meaning they lose their tensile strength when heated. They become like Plasticine: although they may still be manipulated by squeezing, an attempt to stretch them, even by bending or twisting, is likely to have them crack and break apart. This is a problem for some blade-making steels, which must be worked carefully to avoid developing hidden cracks that would cause failure in the future. Though rarely hand-worked, titanium is notably hot short. Even such common smithing processes as decoratively twisting a bar are impossible with it.


    Upsetting is the process of making metal thicker in one dimension through shortening in the other. One form is to heat the end of a rod and then hammer on it as one would drive a nail: the rod gets shorter, and the hot part widens. An alternative to hammering on the hot end is to place the hot end on the anvil and hammer on the cold end.


    Punching may be done to create a decorative pattern, or to make a hole. For example, in preparation for making a hammerhead, a smith would punch a hole in a heavy bar or rod for the hammer handle. Punching is not limited to depressions and holes. It also includes cutting, slitting, and drifting—all done with a chisel.

    Combining processes

    The five basic forging processes are often combined to produce and refine the shapes necessary for finished products. For example, to fashion a cross-peen hammer head, a smith would start with a bar roughly the diameter of the hammer face: the handle hole would be punched and drifted (widened by inserting or passing a larger tool through it), the head would be cut (punched, but with a wedge), the peen would be drawn to a wedge, and the face would be dressed by upsetting.

    As with making a chisel, since it is lengthened by drawing it would also tend to spread in width. A smith would therefore frequently turn the chisel-to-be on its side and hammer it back down—upsetting it—to check the spread and keep the metal at the correct width.

    Or, if a smith needed to put a 90-degree bend in a bar and wanted a sharp corner on the outside of the bend, they would begin by hammering an unsupported end to make the curved bend. Then, to "fatten up" the outside radius of the bend, one or both arms of the bend would need to be pushed back to fill the outer radius of the curve. So they would hammer the ends of the stock down into the bend, 'upsetting' it at the point of the bend. They would then dress the bend by drawing the sides of the bend to keep the correct thickness. The hammering would continue—upsetting and then drawing—until the curve had been properly shaped. In the primary operation was the bend, but the drawing and upsetting are done to refine the shape.


    Welding is the joining of the same or similar kind of metal.

    A modern blacksmith has a range of options and tools to accomplish this. The basic types of welding commonly employed in a modern workshop include traditional forge welding as well as modern methods, including oxyacetylene and arc welding.

    In forge welding, the pieces to join are heated to what is generally referred to as welding heat. For mild steel most smiths judge this temperature by color: the metal glows an intense yellow or white. At this temperature the steel is near molten.

    Any foreign material in the weld, such as the oxides or "scale" that typically form in the fire, can weaken it and cause it to fail. Thus the mating surfaces to be joined must be kept clean. To this end a smith makes sure the fire is a reducing fire: a fire where, at the heart, there is a great deal of heat and very little oxygen. The smith also carefully shapes mating faces so that as they come together foreign material squeezes out as the metal is joined. To clean the faces, protect them from oxidation, and provide a medium to carry foreign material out of the weld, the smith sometimes uses flux—typically powdered borax, silica sand, or both.

    The smith first cleans parts to be joined with a wire brush, then puts them in the fire to heat. With a mix of drawing and upsetting the smith shapes the faces so that when finally brought together, the center of the weld connects first and the connection spreads outward under the hammer blows, pushing out the flux (if used) and foreign material.

    An artist blacksmith and a striker working as one

    The dressed metal goes back in the fire, is brought near to welding heat, removed from the fire, and brushed. Flux is sometimes applied, which prevents oxygen from reaching and burning the metal during forging, and it is returned to the fire. The smith now watches carefully to avoid overheating the metal. There is some challenge to this because, to see the color of the metal, the smith must remove it from the fire—exposing it to air, which can rapidly oxidize it. So the smith might probe into the fire with a bit of steel wire, prodding lightly at the mating faces. When the end of the wire sticks on to the metal, it is at the right temperature (a small weld forms where the wire touches the mating face, so it sticks). The smith commonly places the metal in the fire so he can see it without letting surrounding air contact the surface. (Note that smiths don't always use flux, especially in the UK.) Now the smith moves with rapid purpose, quickly taking the metal from the fire to the anvil and bringing the mating faces together. A few light hammer taps bring the mating faces into complete contact and squeeze out the flux—and finally, the smith returns the work to the fire. The weld begins with the taps, but often the joint is weak and incomplete, so the smith reheats the joint to welding temperature and works the weld with light blows to "set" the weld and finally to dress it to the shape.


    Depending on the intended use of the piece, a blacksmith may finish it in a number of ways:

    • A simple jig (a tool) that the smith might only use a few times in the shop may get the minimum of finishing—a rap on the anvil to break off scale and a brushing with a wire brush.
    • Files bring a piece to final shape, removing burrs and sharp edges, and smoothing the surface.
    • Heat treatment and case-hardening achieve the desired hardness.
    • The wire brush—as a hand tool or power tool—can further smooth, brighten, and polish surfaces.
    • Grinding stones, abrasive paper, and emery wheels can further shape, smooth, and polish the surface.

    A range of treatments and finishes can inhibit oxidation and enhance or change the appearance of the piece. An experienced smith selects the finish based on the metal and on the intended use of the item. Finishes include (among others): paint, varnish, bluing, browning, oil, and wax.

    Blacksmith's striker

    A blacksmith's striker is an assistant (frequently an apprentice) whose job is to swing a large sledgehammer in heavy forging operations, as directed by the blacksmith. In practice, the blacksmith holds the hot iron at the anvil (with tongs) in one hand, and indicates where to strike the iron by tapping it with a small hammer in the other hand. The striker then delivers a heavy blow to the indicated spot with a sledgehammer. During the 20th century and into the 21st century, this role has become increasingly unnecessary and automated through the use of trip hammers or reciprocating power hammers.

    Blacksmith's materials

    When iron ore is smelted into usable metal, a certain amount of carbon is usually alloyed with the iron. (Charcoal is almost pure carbon.) The amount of carbon significantly affects the properties of the metal. If the carbon content is over 2%, the metal is called cast iron, because it has a relatively low melting point and is easily cast. It is quite brittle, however, and cannot be forged so therefore not used for blacksmithing. If the carbon content is between 0.25% and 2%, the resulting metal is tool steel, which can be heat treated as discussed above. When the carbon content is below 0.25%, the metal is either "wrought iron (wrought iron is not smelted and cannot come from this process) " or "mild steel." The terms are never interchangeable. In preindustrial times, the material of choice for blacksmiths was wrought iron. This iron had a very low carbon content, and also included up to 5% of glassy iron silicate slag in the form of numerous very fine stringers. This slag content made the iron very tough, gave it considerable resistance to rusting, and allowed it to be more easily "forge welded," a process in which the blacksmith permanently joins two pieces of iron, or a piece of iron and a piece of steel, by heating them nearly to a white heat and hammering them together. Forge welding is more difficult with modern mild steel, because it welds in a narrower temperature band. The fibrous nature of wrought iron required knowledge and skill to properly form any tool which would be subject to stress. Modern steel is produced using either the blast furnace or arc furnaces. Wrought iron was produced by a labor-intensive process called puddling, so this material is now a difficult-to-find specialty product. Modern blacksmiths generally substitute mild steel for making objects traditionally of wrought iron. Sometimes they use electrolytic-process pure iron.

    Other metals

    Many blacksmiths also incorporate materials such as bronze, copper, or brass in artistic products. Aluminum and titanium may also be forged by the blacksmith's process. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, while brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Each material responds differently under the hammer and must be separately studied by the blacksmith.


    Hot metal work from a blacksmith
    • Iron is a naturally occurring metallic element. It is almost never found in its native form (pure iron) in nature. It is usually found as an oxide or sulfide, with many other impurity elements mixed in.
    • Wrought iron is the purest form of iron generally encountered or produced in quantity. It may contain as little as 0.04% carbon (by weight). From its traditional method of manufacture, wrought iron has a fibrous internal texture. Quality wrought-iron blacksmithing takes the direction of these fibers into account during forging, since the strength of the material is stronger in line with the grain than across the grain. Most of the remaining impurities from the initial smelting become concentrated in silicate slag trapped between the iron fibers. This slag produces a lucky side effect during forge-welding. When the silicate melts, it makes wrought iron self-fluxing. The slag becomes a liquid glass that covers the exposed surfaces of the wrought iron, preventing oxidation which would otherwise interfere with the successful welding process.
    • Steel is an alloy of iron and between 0.3% and 1.7% carbon by weight. The presence of carbon allows steel to assume one of several different crystalline configurations. Macroscopically, this is seen as the ability to "turn the hardness of a piece of steel on and off" through various processes of heat-treatment. If the concentration of carbon is held constant, this is a reversible process. Steel with a higher carbon percentage may be brought to a higher state of maximum hardness.[3]
    • Cast iron is iron that contains between 2.0% to 6% carbon by weight. There is so much carbon present that the hardness cannot be switched off. Hence, cast iron is a brittle metal, which can break like glass. Cast iron cannot be forged without special heat treatment to convert it to malleable iron.[3]

    Steel with less than 0.6% carbon content cannot be hardened enough by simple heat-treatment to make useful hardened-steel tools. Hence, in what follows, wrought-iron, low-carbon-steel, and other soft unhardenable iron varieties are referred to indiscriminately as just iron.

    History, prehistory, religion, and mythology


    Wayland's smithy in the centre, Níðuð's daughter Böðvildrto the left, and Níðuð's dead sons hidden to the right of the smithy. Between the girl and the smithy, Wayland can be seen in an eagle fetch flying away. From the Ardre image stoneVIII on Gotland

    In Hindu mythology, Tvastar also known as Vishvakarma is the blacksmith of the devas. The earliest references of Tvastar can be found in the Rigveda.

    Hephaestus (Latin: Vulcan) was the blacksmith of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. A supremely skilled artisan whose forge was a volcano, he constructed most of the weapons of the gods, as well as beautiful assistants for his smithy and a metal fishing-net of astonishing intricacy. He was the god of metalworking, fire, and craftsmen.

    In Celtic mythology, the role of Smith is held by eponymous (their names do mean 'smith') characters : Goibhniu (Irish myths of the Tuatha Dé Danann cycle) or Gofannon (Welsh myths/ the Mabinogion )

    In the Nart mythology of the Caucasus the hero known to the Ossetians as Kurdalægon and the Circassians as Tlepsh is a blacksmith and skilled craftsman whose exploits exhibit shamanic features, sometimes bearing comparison to those of the Scandinavian deity Odin. One of his greatest feats is acting as a type of male midwife to the hero Xamyc, who has been made the carrier of the embryo of his son Batraz by his dying wife the water-sprite Lady Isp, who spits it between his shoulder blades, where it forms a womb-like cyst. Kurdalaegon prepares a type of tower or scaffold above a quenching bath for Xamyc, and, when the time is right, lances the cyst to liberate the infant hero Batraz as a newborn babe of white-hot steel, whom Kurdalægon then quenches like a newly forged sword.[4]

    The Anglo-SaxonWayland Smith, known in Old Norse as Völundr, is a heroic blacksmith in Germanic mythology. The Poetic Edda states that he forged beautiful gold rings set with wonderful gems. He was captured by king Níðuðr, who cruelly hamstrung him and imprisoned him on an island. Völundr eventually had his revenge by killing Níðuðr's sons and fashioning goblets from their skulls, jewels from their eyes and a brooch from their teeth. He then raped the king's daughter, after drugging her with strong beer, and escaped, laughing, on wings of his own making, boasting that he had fathered a child upon her.

    Seppo Ilmarinen, the Eternal Hammerer, blacksmith and inventor in the Kalevala, is an archetypal artificer from Finnish mythology.[7]

    Tubal-Cain is mentioned in the book of Genesis of the Torah as the original smith.

    Ogun, the god of blacksmiths, warriors, hunters and others who work with iron is one of the pantheon of Orisha traditionally worshipped by the Yoruba people of Nigeria.

    Before the Iron Age

    Gold, silver, and copper all occur in nature in their native states, as reasonably pure metals – humans probably worked these metals first. These metals are all quite malleable, and humans' initial development of hammering techniques was undoubtedly applied to these metals.

    During the Chalcolithic era and the Bronze Age, humans in the Mideast learned how to smelt, melt, cast, rivet, and (to a limited extent) forge copper and bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper and approximately 10% to 20% Tin. Bronze is superior to just copper, by being harder, being more resistant to corrosion, and by having a lower melting point (thereby requiring less fuel to melt and cast). Much of the copper used by the Mediterranean World came from the island of Cyprus. Most of the tin came from the Cornwall region of the island of Great Britain, transported by sea-borne Phoenician and Greek traders.

    Copper and bronze cannot be hardened by heat-treatment, they can only be hardened by cold working. To accomplish this, a piece of bronze is lightly hammered for a long period of time. The localized stress-cycling causes work hardening by changing the size and shape of the metal's crystals. The hardened bronze can then be ground to sharpen it to make edged tools.

    Clocksmiths as recently as the 19th century used work hardening techniques to harden the teeth of brassgears and ratchets. Tapping on just the teeth produced harder teeth, with superior wear-resistance. By contrast, the rest of the gear was left in a softer and tougher state, more capable of resisting cracking.

    Bronze is sufficiently corrosion-resistant that artifacts of bronze may last thousands of years relatively unscathed. Accordingly, museums frequently preserve more examples of Bronze Age metal-work than examples of artifacts from the much younger Iron Age. Buried iron artifacts may completely rust away in less than 100 years. Examples of ancient iron work still extant are very much the exception to the norm.

    Iron Age

    Concurrent with the advent of alphabetic characters in the Iron Age, humans became aware of the metal iron. However, in earlier ages, iron's qualities, in contrast to those of bronze, were not generally understood. Iron artifacts, composed of meteoric iron, have the chemical composition containing up to 40% nickel. As this source of this iron is extremely rare and fortuitous, little development of smithing skills peculiar to iron can be assumed to have occurred. That we still possess any such artifacts of meteoric iron may be ascribed to the vagaries of climate, and the increased corrosion-resistance conferred on iron by the presence of nickel.

    During the (north) Polar Exploration of the early 20th century, Inughuit, northern Greenlandic Inuit, were found to be making iron knives from two particularly large nickel-iron meteors.[8] One of these meteors was taken to Washington, D.C., where it was remitted to the custody of the Smithsonian Institution.

    The Hittites of Anatolia first discovered or developed the smelting of iron ores around 1500 BC. They seem to have maintained a near monopoly on the knowledge of iron production for several hundred years, but when their empire collapsed during the Eastern Mediterranean upheavals around 1200 BC, the knowledge seems to have escaped in all directions.

    In the Iliad of Homer (describing the Trojan War and Bronze Age Greek and Trojan warriors), most of the armor and weapons (swords and spears) are stated to have been of bronze. Iron is not unknown, however, as arrowheads are described as iron, and a "ball of iron" is listed as a prize awarded for winning a competition. The events described probably occurred around 1200 BC, but Homer is thought to have composed this epic poem around 700 BC; so exactitude must remain suspect.

    When historical records resume after the 1200 BC upheavals and the ensuing Greek Dark Age, iron work (and presumably blacksmiths) seem to have sprung like Athena, fully-grown from the head of Zeus. Very few artifacts remain, due to loss from corrosion, and re-use of iron as a valuable commodity. What information exists indicates that all of the basic operations of blacksmithing were in use as soon as the Iron Age reached a particular locality. The scarcity of records and artifacts, and the rapidity of the switch from Bronze Age to Iron Age, is a reason to use evidence of bronze smithing to infer about the early development of blacksmithing.

    It is uncertain when Iron weapons replaced Bronze weapons because the earliest Iron swords did not significantly improve on the qualities of existing bronze artifacts. Unalloyed iron is soft, does not hold an edge as well as a properly constructed bronze blade and needs more maintenance. Iron ores are more widely available than the necessary materials to create bronze however, which made iron weapons more economical than comparable bronze weapons. Small amounts of steel are often formed during several of the earliest refining practices, and when the properties of this alloy were discovered and exploited, steel edged weapons greatly outclassed bronze.

    Iron is different from most other materials (including bronze), in that it does not immediately go from a solid to a liquid at its melting point. H2O is a solid (ice) at -1 C (31 F), and a liquid (water) at +1 C (33 F). Iron, by contrast, is definitely a solid at 800 °F (427 °C), but over the next 1,500 °F (820 °C) it becomes increasingly plastic and more "taffy-like" as its temperature increases. This extreme temperature range of variable solidity is the fundamental material property upon which blacksmithing practice depends.

    Another major difference between bronze and iron fabrication techniques is that bronze can be melted. The melting point of iron is much higher than that of bronze. In the western (Europe & the Mideast) tradition, the technology to make fires hot enough to melt iron did not arise until the 16th century, when smelting operations grew large enough to require overly large bellows. These produced blast-furnace temperatures high enough to melt partially refined ores, resulting in cast iron. Thus cast iron frying pans and cookware did not become possible in Europe until 3000 years after the introduction of iron smelting. China, in a separate developmental tradition, was producing cast iron at least 1000 years before this.

    Although iron is quite abundant, good quality steel remained rare and expensive until the industrial developments of Bessemer processet al. in the 1850s. Close examination of blacksmith-made antique tools clearly shows where small pieces of steel were forge-welded into iron to provide the hardened steel cutting edges of tools (notably in axes, adzes, chisels, etc.). The re-use of quality steel is another reason for the lack of artifacts.

    The Romans (who ensured that their own weapons were made with good steel) noted (in the 4th century BC) that the Celts of the Po River Valley had iron, but not good steel. The Romans record that during battle, their Celtic opponents could only swing their swords two or three times before having to step on their swords to straighten them.

    On the Indian subcontinent, Wootz steel was, and continues to be, produced in small quantities.

    In southern Asia and western Africa, blacksmiths form endogenous castes that sometimes speak distinct languages.

    Medieval period

    A blacksmith monk, from a medieval Frenchmanuscript

    In the medieval period, blacksmithing was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts.

    Prior to the industrial revolution, a "village smithy" was a staple of every town. Factories and mass-production reduced the demand for blacksmith-made tools and hardware.

    The original fuel for forge fires was charcoal. Coal did not begin to replace charcoal until the forests of first Britain (during the AD 17th century), and then the eastern United States of America (during the 19th century) were largely depleted. Coal can be an inferior fuel for blacksmithing, because much of the world's coal is contaminated with sulfur. Sulfur contamination of iron and steel make them "red short", so that at red heat they become "crumbly" instead of "plastic". Coal sold and purchased for blacksmithing should be largely free of sulfur.

    European blacksmiths before and through the medieval era spent a great deal of time heating and hammering iron before forging it into finished articles. Although they were unaware of the chemical basis, they were aware that the quality of the iron was thus improved. From a scientific point of view, the reducing atmosphere of the forge was both removing oxygen (rust), and soaking more carbon into the iron, thereby developing increasingly higher grades of steel as the process was continued.

    Industrial era

    During the eighteenth century, agents for the Sheffield cutlery industry scoured the British country-side, offering new carriage springs for old. Springs must be made of hardened steel. At this time, the processes for making steel produced an extremely variable product—quality was not ensured at the initial point of sale. Springs that had survived cracking through hard use over the rough roads of the time, had proven to be of a better quality steel. Much of the fame of Sheffield cutlery (knives, shears, etc.) was due to the extreme lengths the companies took to ensure they used high-grade steel.[citation needed]

    During the first half of the nineteenth century, the US government included in their treaties with many Native American tribes, that the US would employ blacksmiths and strikers at Armyforts, with the expressed purpose of providing Native Americans with iron tools and repair services.[citation needed]

    During the early to mid-nineteenth century, both European armies[9] as well as both the U.S. Federal and Confederate armies employed blacksmiths to shoe horses and repair equipment such as wagons, horse tack, and artillery equipment. These smiths primarily worked at a traveling forge that when combined with a limber, comprised wagons specifically designed and constructed as blacksmith shops on wheels to carry the essential equipment necessary for their work.[10][11][12]

    Lathes, patterned largely on their woodturning counterparts, had been used by some blacksmiths[13][citation needed] since the middle-ages. During the 1790s Henry Maudslay created the first screw-cutting lathe, a watershed event that signaled the start of blacksmiths being replaced by machinists in factories for the hardware needs of the populace.

    Samuel Colt neither invented nor perfected interchangeable parts, but his insistence (and other industrialists at this time) that his firearms be manufactured with this property, was another step towards the obsolescence of metal-working artisans and blacksmiths. (See also Eli Whitney).

    As demand for their products declined, many more blacksmiths augmented their incomes by taking in work shoeing horses. A shoer-of-horses was historically known as a farrier in English. With the introduction of automobiles, the number of blacksmiths continued to decrease, many former blacksmiths becoming the initial generation of automobile Mechanics. The nadir of blacksmithing in the United States was reached during the 1960s, when most of the former blacksmiths had left the trade, and few if any new people were entering the trade. By this time, most of the working blacksmiths were those performing farrier work, so the term blacksmith was effectively co-opted by the farrier trade.

    Neoclassicism era

    In the final part of the 18th century, forged ironwork continued to decline due to the aforementioned industrial revolution, shapes of the elements in the designs of window grilles and other decorative functional items continued to contradict natural forms, surfaces begin to be covered in paint, cast iron elements are incorporated into the forged designs.

    Main features of Neoclassicism ironwork (also referred to as Louis XVI style and Empire style ironwork) include smooth straight bars, decorative geometric elements, double or oval volutes and the usage of elements from Classical antiquity (Meander (art), wreaths etc.).

    Typical for this kind of ironwork is that the ironwork is painted white with gold (gilded) elements.[14]

    20th and 21st centuries

    During the 20th century various gases (natural gas, acetylene, etc.) have also come to be used as fuels for blacksmithing. While these are fine for blacksmithing iron, special care must be taken when using them to blacksmith steel. Each time a piece of steel is heated, there is a tendency for the carbon content to leave the steel (decarburization). This can leave a piece of steel with an effective layer of unhardenable iron on its surface. In a traditional charcoal or coal forge, the fuel is really just carbon. In a properly regulated charcoal/coal fire, the air in and immediately around the fire should be a reducing atmosphere. In this case, and at elevated temperatures, there is a tendency for vaporized carbon to soak into steel and iron, counteracting or negating the decarburizing tendency. This is similar to the process by which a case of steel is developed on a piece of iron in preparation for case hardening.

    An Artist Blacksmith working with a power hammer in Bodom, Finland, 2011

    A renewed interest in blacksmithing occurred as part of the trend in "do-it-yourself" and "self-sufficiency" that occurred during the 1970s. Currently there are many books, organizations and individuals working to help educate the public about blacksmithing, including local groups of smiths who have formed clubs, with some of those smiths demonstrating at historical sites and living history events. Some modern blacksmiths who produce decorative metalwork refer to themselves as artist-blacksmiths. In 1973 the Artists Blacksmiths’ Association of North America was formed with 27 members. By 2013 it had almost 4000 members. Likewise the British Artist Blacksmiths Association was created in 1978, with 30 charter members and had about 600 members in 2013[15] and publish for members a quarterly magazine.

    While developed nations saw a decline and re-awakening of interest in blacksmithing, in many developing nations blacksmiths continued doing what blacksmiths have been doing for 3500 years: making and repairing iron and steel tools and hardware for people in their local area.

    Notable blacksmiths




    • Elizabeth Brim, noted for feminine imagery of lingerie or shoes in her work, also for the Brim technique of inflating balloons of hot metal with compressed air.
    • Roland Greefkes, wrought iron work
    • Paul Zimmermann, contemporary forge work

    See also

    1. ^"blacksmith | Origin and meaning of blacksmith by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
    2. ^"Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
    3. ^ abDavis, J.R. (1998). Metals Handbook, 2nd Ed. Materials Park, OH 44073-0002: ASM International. ISBN .CS1 maint: location (link)
    4. ^Bonnefoy, Yves (1992) [1981], Doniger, Wendy (ed.), "Asian Mythologies", Mythologies, University of Chicago Press 1991, p. 340, an edited translation based on Dictionnaire des mythologies et des religions des sociétés traditionelles et du monde antique.
    5. ^"Copy Information for Jerusalem The Emanation of The Giant Albion". William Blake Archive. Retrieved Sep 11, 2013.
    6. ^Morris Eaves; Robert N. Essick; Joseph Viscomi (eds.). "Object description for "Jerusalem The Emanation of The Giant Albion, copy E, object 15 (Bentley 15, Erdman 15, Keynes 15)"". William Blake Archive. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
    7. ^"The Kalevala: Rune IX. Origin of Iron". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
    8. ^Schaefer, Bradley E. "Meteors That Changed the World". Meteors. SkyandTelescope.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
    9. ^An Aide-Memoire to the Military Sciences volume 1 by Royal Engineers, British Service, 1845, Col. G.G. Lewis, senior editor
    10. ^# The Ordnance Manual For The Use Of The Officers Of The Confederate States Army, 1863 reprinted by Morningside Press 1995, ISBN 0-89029-033-4
    11. ^# The ordnance manual for the use of officers of the United States army, 1861, reprinted by Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, December 22, 2005, ISBN 1-4255-5971-9
    12. ^Einhorn, David (2010). Civil War Blacksmithing. CreateSpace Publishers. ISBN .
    13. ^Strelinger, Chas. A. (1895). A Book of Tools. Detroit, Michigan: Chas. A. Strelinger & Company.
    14. ^Revay, Pavel A. (2010). Umelecke Kovar. Prague, Czech Republic: GRADA. ISBN .
    15. ^"About". BABA. 2013-08-04. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2014-02-27.


    • Andrews, Jack. New Edge of the Anvil, 1994.
    • Einhorn, David, M. Civil War Blacksmithing: : Constructing Cannon Wheels, Traveling Forge, Knives, and Other Projects and Information, 2010.
    • McRaven, Charles. The Blacksmith's Craft, originally published in 1981 as Country Blacksmithing.
    • Sims, Lorelei. The Backyard Blacksmith — Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith, 2006.
    • Holmstrom, John Gustaf. Modern Blacksmithing, Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making (With Rules, Tables, Recipes, Etc.)

    External links

    Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacksmith

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