Blacksmith Shop

Smithcraft in Myths

According to Ancient Greekmyths, deific blacksmith Hephaestus forged the iron chains that he used a legendary Prometheus to the rock. In the Slavic mythology Hephaestus is identified with supreme god Svarog that sent people blacksmith tongs and taught them to forge. With the advent and development of Christianity Svarog was replaced by Saints Cosmas and Damian. Ancient legends describe how with the help of iron tongs they caught a terrible dragon, put it into a specially forged plough and made it to plow up the field.

Origins

The origins of the smithcraft ascend to antiquity. As early as the 3rd millennium BC blacksmiths were quite numerous and popular in the ancient Sumerian civilization.

In Belarus the smithcraft has been known since 7-6 cc. BC. Our ancestors mauled cold sponge iron to get rid of any recrements. At the end of the first millennium the iron started to be heated to make work with it more convenient. Only smiths knew how to make the iron processible. That’s why probably Slavs considered the smithcraft mysterious and even magic.

Blacksmith Shop

As a rule, the blacksmith shop is a small wooded building without a ceiling and with a dirt floor. As usually blacksmith shops were constructed from wood, to make them more fireproof their walls were sometimes plastered.

Blacksmith Shop Equipment

The central place in a blacksmith shop is a blacksmith forge. It is inside the forge that a metal turns soft and flexible. The working surface of the forge is the place where a small pile of fuel (coal or wood) is burnt to heat bars n it. Traditionally to deliver some air inside the forge either a manually or foot-operated blacksmith’s bellows is used.   

A heated bar is taken by tongs and sledge-hammered to shape it. The metal remains relatively hot to be worked with for just 1-2 minutes. That’s why proficiency and well-trained skills are very important.

The anvil is located right in the centre of the shop not far from the forge. It is fixed on a huge block of wood and is considered the main tool of a craftsman. Neat the anvil there’s a container with water or oil to quench an article in it.

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