Blacksmithing continues to be a very practical field with the farrier, a specialty smith who makes horse shoes. Our topic this month describes blacksmith-like metalworking for very practical purposes while creating works of art. Before we get there, let’s quickly review the history of the trade.
The first evidence of smithing by hammering iron into shape is a dagger found in Egypt dating to 1350 B.C. Although discovered in Egypt, it was likely the product of a Hittite tradesman. The Hittites likely invented forging and tempering, and they kept their ironworking techniques secret. When the Old Testament Hittites were scattered, their ironworking skills were spread to Greece and the Balkans. This early Iron Age occurred about 800-500 B.C. The smith can also be found in the classical mythology of the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and Aztecs.