Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blacksmith Shop

Today's picture was taken in 1940, and it shows a blacksmith shop. This would have been a time that was pretty much the end of the era for blacksmiths. It is amazing to think about how much things have changed since the days of the blacksmith. Consider the blacksmith shop . . . a blacksmith would shoe horses, fix broken things, and fabricate things. Almost 100% of anything spent in the blacksmith shop would stay in the local community. The blacksmith would no doubt need helpers, so he gainfully employed people in the community. He would probably also hire young people as helpers, and then they would learn the trade through apprenticeship. Almost everything used to operate that way, not almost nothing does.


  1. We had a local blacksmith here in my small Indiana town until around 1985.

    Carl King was a big man, gregarious, funny and an expert on weather forecasting. He became famous for watching 'woolyworms' each fall to predict what Winter would be like. I don't know his success rate, however.

    Carl fabricated all manner of specialty items - anything custom anyone needed made from iron or steel. He also repaired wrought iron fences and railings.

    Despite my best Google efforts, I can' find a single mention of him on the internets except for his step mother's obit from 1962.

    1. any chance he moved to KY?

    2. I saw him come up while searching, but "our" Carl was much older and passed away around 1990 (I think).

      Odd how there's no obvious record. He was somewhat a minor celebrity across the area, with an annual forecast published in the local paper.

  2. Electricity (particularly rural electricty) and electric welders were a big part of the demise of blacksmith shops. My grandfather had his own blacksmith equipment -- he was a farmer in the 20s, 30s, 40s.

  3. My grandfather was a blacksmith on the 'plantation' where he grew up after being abandoned at the age of 6. He was later a boilermaker/repairman in the early oilfield. But he always wanted to be a farmer like his birth father. Last year after I left for Afghanistan, my wife bought a blacksmith shop for me and my sons. It belonged to my grandfather's former brother in law.

  4. There's a smith up in Alaska who makes work bench hold-fasts that I intend to order from soon.
    His products are top-notch and I think a man who builds his own proudcts has more pride in them, and therefore turns out a better product.


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