A History of Blacksmithing: From Fire to Art




In the early history of metal working a person who formed metal came to be called a smith. As we learned to make and use a wide variety of metals, a distinction evolved based on the color or type of metal worked. Coppersmiths worked in copper and its alloys. Silver and goldsmiths worked in their respective metals. Blacksmiths worked iron and steel, the black metals.

Before the Industrial Revolution, the civilized world revolved around the blacksmith. In the United States, and especially in the west, the word "blacksmith" calls up the image of a man shoeing a horse. This is only one role the blacksmith played. In the 1800's he was the master of all things mechanical. All trades relied on him for their tools and hardware. And since iron improved the useful life of working livestock, he also shod horses and oxen.

During the Industrial Revolution blacksmiths were called upon to design and build the very tools and machines that would render them obsolete by the 1930's. Relieved of the responsibility of providing the bulk of everyday tools and products necessary to modern life, there remained a small demand for art and architectural pieces.

With the back to the land movement in the 1960s and 70s, there was a resurgence in interest in blacksmithing. Many took it up as a hobby and the renewed interest eventually evolved into a growing market for hand forged metalwork.

With the shift in styles toward metals for architecture and furniture, the blacksmith has come into his own again to provide unique solutions to today's needs.

Using the mystique of traditional techniques with fire, hammer, and anvil, we can make your project or design idea a reality.


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McLellan Blacksmithing
John McLellan, Lic# 66706
(916) 652-5790

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