1) Blacksmiths create custom-made, artisan products from iron and steel.
2) The name blacksmith is used because iron is known as “the black metal” due to the black-colored oxides that form in it when heated.
3) Iron is one of the most plentiful metals on earth, but in ancient times it was difficult to obtain it in usable quantities. It first had to be smelted, or separated, from rock in the ground.
4) Iron also comes from meteorites! Before smelting was developed, the only sources of iron were extraterrestrial!
< Cue X-Files theme song.>
5) There are blacksmithing gods in many ancient mythologies. Hephaestus is the Greek god of metal work whose forge was in a volcano. Which, I mean, talk about convenience. He is credited with forging, among other things, Cupid’s arrows.
6) Since its origins over 3,000 years ago (arguably longer), blacksmithing has been practiced continuously across many societies, and continues to be a viable trade today.
7) Farriers are blacksmiths who specialize in making and applying horse shoes. However, blacksmiths often know more about general metalwork than farriers and farriers often know more about horses than blacksmiths.
8) There was a time when blacksmiths dabbled in dentistry. For much of human history, pretty much anyone with tongs or pliers could be a dentist. Ah, the good old days!*
9) You probably already talk like a
blacksmith, you just might not know it. Have you ever used idioms like “strike while the iron is hot” or “too many irons in the fire?” See? You would totally fit in down at the forge.
10) In addition to producing handmade, custom, artisan products, some modern blacksmiths also teach; people who are drawn to this historic trade often love to share it with others. Look for local blacksmithing classes near you!
*Please do not seek any dental advice from Kyle.