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Three blacksmiths at work on the anvil

The blacksmith , whose job title was renamed in 1989 in Germany (together with that of the art locksmith ) in the metalworking specialist area of ​​metal design , manufactures products for all possible areas. He manufactures window grilles , gates , banisters , canopies, etc. (i.e. works in the construction industry) as well as decorative items, lights, candlesticks , etc. with the help of various forging techniques.


Forged dragon head (1869)
Interplay of artificial casting and forge (end of the 19th century)

Blacksmithing is an ancient craft in which metals - first copper , then bronze and iron as well as various precious metals - are formed by hammering, pressing or twisting. In addition to the primary shaping of consumer goods, handicraft shaping quickly emerged in the cult area. Logically, the Greek god of blacksmithing Hephaestus forges the necklace of the goddess Harmonia , the wife of Kadmos , the founder of Thebes .

The art of blacksmithing , which was already widespread in the Bronze Age , reached a climax in the Iron Age . Received evidence, however, is primarily handicraft utensils (e.g. vessels and clasps ) made of other metals. The fact that the fibula was purely decorative can be deduced from the fact that buttons that fulfilled the same function had been around since the Stone Age. The temple in particular was designed very differently in different regions and times. As a result, fibula forms are an important reference point for archaeologists as a kind of “guide fossil” when dating finds. The large number of found objects with décor typical of the time and region made it possible to set up a complete typology of successive fibula forms.

Ancient blacksmithing is mainly known from written sources and pictorial representations (vases). Finds of weapons (swords) complete the picture. The forged horseshoe did not come into use until the 9th century. Fittings, grilles, chimneys and candlesticks date from the 11th and 12th centuries. Torch holders and lanterns were made especially in Florence from the 14th century . In the 16th century, Germany was a leader in blacksmithing, especially weapons. The processes of iron cutting , engraving, etching , blueing and gilding that originated from it were also applied to other blacksmith work.

In the baroque and rococo periods , lattice doors, choir grilles, balcony and stair railings, well arbors and tavern signs were created. Above all, the splendid bars in front of the courtyards of castles or the choir area of ​​churches from this period are the most splendid products of the blacksmith's trade. In the early 19th century, the art of blacksmithing was often displaced by iron casting. Machine-made ornaments made of wrought iron, which were sold as individual parts and then simply put together, appeared during this period and contributed to the artistic decline of the craft. It was not until the 20th century that blacksmithing brought back high-quality services. An important branch of the craft today is the restoration of old ironwork.

In addition to anvil , fire and water, the main tools of the blacksmith are various forging hammers and blacksmithing tongs . The blacksmith makes many of his tools himself. So bending devices z. B. often made for particularly frequently curved shapes in order to enable rapid reproducibility.

The blacksmith does not exist as a profession. A blacksmith can produce artistic forging by means of open die forging .

In Austria, the blacksmith is now part of the metal technology-forging technology profession with three and a half years of training.

Metal workers who want to gain further professional qualifications in design can train themselves to become “designers in the craft”, such as B. in Munich at the Academy for Design. The transition from blacksmith or metal designer in the craft to metal sculptor is sometimes fluid, but mostly requires a special creative talent and / or a corresponding artistic training.


  • Hårvard Bergland: The art of forging. The great textbook of traditional technology. 4th, unchanged edition of the German edition. Wieland Verlag, Bad Aibling 2013, ISBN 978-3-9808709-4-8 , pp. 267-308: Chapter 13: Art forging .
  • Max Metzger : Die Kunstschlosserei , Schäferverlag, Hanover (reprint). ISBN 3-88746-135-5
  • Otto Schmirler: Work and tools of the blacksmith Wasmuth-Verlag, 1981, (German / English / French). ISBN 3-8030-5040-5
  • Fritz Kühn , Achim Kühn , Helgard Kühn: Iron and steel - workshop book of blacksmithing . Augustus-Verlag, Augsburg 1989. ISBN 3-8043-2715-X .
  • Julius Schramm : About the blacksmith's craft , (1935), and My life as a blacksmith , (1941), Alfred Metzner Verlag, Berlin. (Library search: Woe = 129805394)
  • Hermann Hundeshagen: The blacksmith at the anvil. A practical textbook for all blacksmiths. Verlag Volk und Wissen, Berlin 1957. Reprint of the 8th edition 1989: Manuela Kinzel, Göppingen, Dessau 2019, ISBN 978-3-95544-120-3
  • Peter Elgaß (text + book design), Alfred Habermann (photos + interviews): Alfred Habermann: Schmied und Gestalter , 175 p., 1999, Verlag Hephaistos, (German / English) ISBN 978-3931951085 (a book on traditional + contemporary blacksmithing culture or . Metal sculpture .)
  • Wolfgang Pöttinger: Geformtes Schmiedeeisen , Oberösterreichischer Landesverlag , Linz 1977. ISBN 3-85214-183-4
  • K.-D. Lietzmann & J. Schlegel: wrought iron. History, art, technology , German publishing house for basic industry (1992). ISBN 3-342-00437-1
  • Kristina von Wieland: The magic of old wrought iron . Rombach Library, Freiburg im Breisgau 1981, ISBN 3-7930-0729-4 .
  • Sample book for locksmiths and blacksmiths: Craftsmanship of locksmiths from the 14th to 17th centuries , reprint Verlag, Leipzig 2008. ISBN 3-8262-1300-9

Web links

Commons : Blacksmith  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Austrian professional profile forging technology: Chamber of Commerce

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Employment Agency: Job titles ( Memento of the original from June 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on May 7, 2013) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Klaus F. Müller: Park and Villa Haas - Historicism, Art and Lifestyle. P. 128–137 Wrought iron - a design element. Verlag Edition Winterwork, 2012, ISBN 978-3-86468-160-8 .