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
The mechanic that has poor tools will in every case be left behind in competition with the man with good tools in proper shape. There are smiths who will take in all kinds of shows and entertainments within fifty miles, but when it comes to tools, oh, how stingy and saving they are. There is no investment which will bring such a good return as first-class tools do to a mechanic. The old maxim, "A mechanic is known by the tools he uses," is true. Many of the tools used in the shop can be made by the smith. If less time is spent in the stores and saloon there will be more time for making tools.
No other mechanic will try to turn out such a variety of work with so few tools as the blacksmith, even when the smith has and the tools to be had, he has few in proportion to the work. There are classes of smiths who will be content with almost nothing. These men can tell all about the different kinds of tobacco; they can tell one kind of beer from another in the first sip, and the smell of the whisky bottle is enough for them to decide the character of the contents, but when it comes to tools which belong to their trade, they are not in it. It ought to be a practice with every smith to add some new tool every year. But if they are approached on the subject they will generally say, "Oh, I can get along without that." With them it is not a question of what they need, but what they can get along without.
Some smiths have the Chinaman's nature (stubborn conservatism) to the extent that they will have nothing new, no matter how superior to their old and inferior tools; what they have been used to is the best. When the hoof shears were a new thing I ordered a pair and handed them to my horse-shoer, he tried them for a few minutes and then threw them on the floor and said, "Yankee humbug." I picked them up and tried them myself,and it took a few days before I got used to them, but then I found that they were a great improvement over the toe knife. I told my horse shoer to use them and after a while he could not get along without them, but would yet have used his toe knife if it had not been for the fact that he was compelled to use them. If it was not for the conservatism by which we are all infected more or less, we would be far more advanced in everything.