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  Practical Blacksmithing by M. T. Richardson  

Although there are numerous legendary accounts of the important position occupied by' the blacksmith, and the honors accorded him even at a period as remote in the world's history as the time of King Solomon, strange to relate there is no single work in the language devoted solely to the practice of the blacksmith's art.

Occasional chapters on the subject may be found, however, in mechanical books, as well as brief essays in encyclopedias. While fragmentary allusions to this important trade have from time to time appeared in newspapers and magazines, no one has ever attempted anything like an exhaustive work on the subject; perhaps none is possible.

This paucity of literature concerning a branch of the mechanic arts, without which other trades would cease to exist from lack of proper tools, cannot be attributed to a want of intelligence on the part of the disciples of Vulcan.

It is perfectly safe to assert, that, in this respect blacksmiths can hold their own with mechanics in any other branch of industry.


From their ranks have sprung many distinguished men. Among the number may be mentioned Elihu Burritt, known far and wide as the "learned blacksmith."

 The Rev. Robt. Colyer, pastor of the leading Unitarian Church in New York City, started in life as a blacksmith, and while laboring at the forge, began the studies which have since made him famous.

Exactly why no attempt has ever been made to write a book on blacksmithing, it would be difficult to explain. It is not contended that in the following pages anything like a complete consideration of the subject will be undertaken.

For the most part the matter has been taken from the columns of The Blacksmith and Wheelwright, to which it was contributed by practical men from all parts of the American continent. The Blacksmith and Wheelwright, it may be observed, is at present the only journal in the world which makes the art of blacksmithing an essential feature.


Published in New York by M. T. Richardson, 1888

December 2006

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