Blacksmith is a professional who works with iron, steel and other metals producing useful equipment and tools, etc. from these metals. A blacksmith is skilled in all aspects of working with different kinds of metals. As working with metals involves a working in fire and blackening of the working environment, that’s where the name blacksmith evolves from. The profession of a blacksmith has its roots in ancient cultures and civilisations. In today’s modern times also, the role of a blacksmith is relevant in the manufacture and repair of various metal instruments. It has applications in various aspects of human life.
The earliest human civilizations in Egypt, Indus Valley [India], Persian, etc. have recorded the use of metals for manufacture of various tools of human life. In fact, in the evolution of the human race, some of the earliest tools used by human were made out of rocks, wood and metal. So the history of metal work starts there. As civilization developed, metal tools were necessary for agriculture, for building homes, for furniture making, etc. And so the profession of blacksmith developed across the world.
The work of a blacksmith involves various activities:
Casting or shaping is a process of melting metal and pouring it into various shaped casts, so that the metal takes that particular shape. This is a way of designing tools and equipment of various shapes and sizes.
Welding is a way of joining together two or more pieces of metal. This is generally done by heating the metal to melting point, so that in the semi-solid state it is easy to fuse together different parts of metals. Welding is used to fix broken metal parts or also to create new tools using different small parts.
Bending metals is a separate skill that also involves melting metals and when they are soft, bending them into desired shapes and sizes.
Hammering is a very useful technique to change shapes, punch holes, etc. in metals. It is a vital tool for any blacksmith.