A blacksmith shop
A blacksmith shop
 
 
Using the forge
Using the forge
 
 
Pounding the red-hot metal
Pounding the red-hot metal
 
 
Making wagon wheel rims
Making wagon wheel rims
 
 
Heating the metal for a horseshoe
Heating the metal for a horseshoe
 
 
Shaping the horseshoe
Shaping the horseshoe
 
 
A new horseshoe
A new horseshoe
 
Frontier Blacksmith
Topic(s):   Frontier Life

The blacksmith’s shop was often in the center of town. Settlers depended upon him to make and repair basic items and tools. He made hoes and plows for farmers, hinges and nails for carpenters, and wheel coverings for wheelwrights. Most blacksmiths also made shoes for horses and oxen.

The heart of the blacksmith’s shop was a huge, hot forge. A helper fanned the hot fire with giant bellows. The blacksmith heated iron on the forge until it was soft enough to use. The shop was dim so that the blacksmith could easily see the color of the heated iron. It was best to bend and shape it on the anvil when it was yellow-orange. A tub of water stood near the forge to cool the hot iron.

Settlers brought their horses and oxen to the blacksmith for new shoes. The blacksmith removed the old shoes with pincers. He shaped new shoes for a perfect fit. Next, he trimmed the animals’ hooves. He hammered nails into the horny part of the hooves. It did not hurt the animals. Hooves are like fingernails. They do not feel pain.

A horse could stand easily on three feet while the blacksmith put a shoe on the fourth. But oxen have tiny feet compared to their big bodies. They cannot stand on three legs. The blacksmith put oxen into a sling in order to shoe them!

The blacksmith learned a lot about caring for animals. Settlers often asked for his help when horses were sick.

Resource information

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Artisans. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 1983.

Kalman, Bobbie. Early Village Life. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 1981.

Kalman, Bobbie. Tools and Gadgets. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 1992.

Kalman, Bobbie. Visiting a Village. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 1990.

Tunis, Edwin. Colonial Craftsmen and the Beginnings of American Industry. Cleveland: Crowell, 1965.

Watson, Aldren A. The Village Blacksmith. New York: Crowell, 1968.

Teaching History thru the Arts. Lesson: Blacksmithing. Retrieved from http://historythrougharts.org

Citation information

APA Style:        Frontier Blacksmith. (2012, June). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style:       "Frontier Blacksmith." Facts4Me. Jun. 2012. http://www.facts4me.com.

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