Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making
with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901
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There are Smiths and Smiths
I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a great number of intelligent and respected smiths. People that did not know them would ask: "What is he?" and when informed that he is a blacksmith would say: "He doesn't look it; I thought he was a business man"; another, "He looks like a lawyer or a minis. From this you will understand how, in many cases, the blacksmith looks.
A great preacher was announced to preach in a neighboring town, and I went to hear him. Just as I sat down in the pew one of the local smiths walked up to me and sat down by my side. He was a blacksmith and he "looked it." Under his eyes was a half moon in black; on both sides of his nose was a black stripe that had been there since his first day in the shop. His ears, well you have seen a clogged-up tuyer iron. His clothes were shabby and his breath a strong mixture of tobacco and whisky, which made wrinkles on the nose of the lady in front of us. I was somewhat embarrassed, but the sermon began. As the congregation arose, I opened the hymnbook and my brother smith joined, and with a hand that looked like the paw of a black bear, he took hold of the book.
After service I was invited by the smith to dinner. Between a number of empty beer kegs we managed to reach the door of the house and everything inside looked the color of his trade. I looked around for books and other articles of culture and found a hand organ and a pack of cards. The only book or reading matter to be found was a weekly of the kind that tells of prize fights, train robberies and murder. I had a fair dinner and told my host that I had to start for home. By this time I was sick of his language-profanity, mixed with a few other words-and I started to leave. On my way to the livery stable I passed my friend's shop, and he said it would not be fair to leave before I had seen his shop. .. I have," said he, "a very good shop. The shop was a building of rough boards I8x20 the average farmer has a better wood shed.
A big wood block like the chopping block in a butcher shop, was placed so close to the forge that he could only get edgewise between. On this block was to be found, anvil and all his tools, the latter were few and primitive, and would have been an honor to our father Cain, the first mechanic and blacksmith. What thickest thou, my brother smith? Having spent years to learn the trade you must submit to a comparison with smiths of this caliber. Their work being inferior they must work cheap, and in some, perhaps many cases set the price on your work. Smiths of this kind cannot expect to be respected. There might be some show for them in Dawson City or among the natives in that vicinity, but not in civilized America.