Author Topic: An 1833 Blacksmith shop's work  (Read 1291 times)

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Offline wsdstan

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An 1833 Blacksmith shop's work
« on: June 12, 2016, 09:13:45 PM »
I am reading a Monograph of Hiram Pitt Bennet who was a Pioneer, Frontier Lawyer, and Politician.  He eventually wound up in Colorado and Dakota Territory.  He knew Kit Carson and traveled to Fort Lyon just before Carson died.  When he was young he lived in Galion Ohio and in writing his journal recalls his father's blacksmith shop.

"In the spring of 1832 Father sold his team and moved us in Galion.  There he built a house of black walnut and poplar lumber on the main street opposite Bentley?s tavern.  He also opened a blacksmith shop, and, though still not very well, was able to work a good part of the time.  He was a very ingenious smith, the best in all that region.  He could make anything out of iron or steel that was called for- steelyards, augers, broadaxes, chopping axes, drawing knives for shaving shingles, and knives of all kinds.  All edged tools he tempered just hard enough to take the sharpest edge and not so soft as to bend or break.  The Collins chopping ax was of factory make, brought from the East and sold to woodchoppers.  The steel in them was good, but for some reason it did not hold a good, sharp edge.  Many of the Collins axes, when taken from the country store, would be brought to Father?s shop for him to ?up-set? the blade as it was called, and temper them before they were used.  Many other sizes he made outright from Sweded bar iron for the pole and cast steel for the blade.  The Collins axes were of uniform weight.  Father would make an ax of any weight or shape the customer might want.  He bought his anvil but made his own bellows.
 
My oldest brother, Isiah, was old enough to help Father in the shop.  He would blow the bellows and then swing with both hands the heavy sledge on the iron, which Father held on the anvil with tongs in left hand while giving alternate blows with the hand-hammer in his right.  Work came into the shop faster than Father could turn it out.  There was so much horseshoeing to be done that he was not strong enough to do it all.  But because of the good profit in that work, after a few months he built another forge and took on William Johnson, a stout young fellow from Wooster, Ohio, as a ?jour? or journeyman. 

I thought it interesting about the Collins axes and wish the author had revealed the method his father used to temper them.   
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 02:33:43 PM by wsdstan »
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Offline wolfy

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Re: An 1833 Blacksmith shop's work
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 09:26:42 PM »
Where'd you come by that? :shrug:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: An 1833 Blacksmith shop's work
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 07:50:01 AM »
Where'd you come by that? :shrug:

I was a member of the Colorado Historical Society when I lived there.  We had an upgraded membership that included a series of monographs on Colorado pioneers.  Bennet was the subject of Monograph No. 2.  It was published in 1988.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: An 1833 Blacksmith shop's work
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2016, 12:06:52 PM »
Neat stuff Stan. That's the way it usually is, gimme more details.
 interesting none the less.
Thanks.
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