a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
There are few old
enough to recall the once familiar scene of the village blacksmith shop.
As you entered a small town in early America you could immediately pick
out the sound of metal being hammered on the anvil and identify the smell
of a coal fire. Following a farmer's team of work horses you would
soon see the weathered wooden shop with smoke from the forge spiraling up
from the brick chimney. A group of young boys would routinely gather
in the wide doorway to watch the callused hands of the blacksmith perform
their "magic" and create every day household items out of iron
Inside the shop, standing patiently would be a saddle horse waiting
to have iron shoes custom made for him and skillfully nailed to his feet.
If you politely asked, the blacksmith may have invited you in to observe
as he started with a solid bar of iron and forged a door latch or
hinges or other articles for you. The primitive simplicity of most
items was what gave them their time-enduring artistic appeal.
As with the blacksmiths in days gone by, The American Village
Blacksmith Geronimo Bayard was no mere shoer of horses but also forged useful and unique articles out of red hot iron on the anvil.
Visiting The American Village Blacksmith shop in Oakland, Oregon, you stepped back in
time and witnessed the blazing cherry red coal fire, the shower of pin point
sparks and heard the anvil's ring.
No machine can possibly reproduce the look and feel of a handmade product.
For those who wanted a hand-made functional or decorative item, skillfully forged in
the old manner, one of Geronimo's original creations fulfilled your
desire. Because his forge is now cold, items made by Geronimo are no
longer available for purchase.
Few tools other than forge, anvil and hammer
were used in this work.
Except for Horseshoe Art pieces which are a more modern art form all their
own, all welding was done in the forge. Forge welding is done by
taking the white hot metal from the fire and fusing it together on the
anvil with hammer blows. This is the only authentic way to join
metal as it was done in simpler times gone by.
Measurements given are approximate, for all articles are free hand forged
and are bound to vary somewhat.
Production was definitely limited to what one man could make with simple
tools used with patience and skill in the old-fashioned way.