View Full Version : Blacksmith apprenticeship
20-11-2007, 7:05 PM
I found a short article entitled Apprenticeships in Blacksmithing, which was very informative. The website is called 'anvilfire'.
Should be of interest to those with blacksmith ancestors. Though the article was written about US blacksmiths, I think the basic idea was the same in Europe.
16-02-2009, 11:16 AM
I would just like to add some musings to my old thread.
Where there are generations of blacksmiths within one family (as must be fairly common), was it acceptable for the son to learn from the father, or did he have to be an apprentice to someone else? My own feeling is that the knowledge would have been handed down father-to-son and only if he wanted to become a master blacksmith, would he have had to produce his masterpiece and register with the local guild. Otherwise, his business would thrive or not dependent on the quality of his workmanship.
16-02-2009, 6:34 PM
My blacksmith ancestors traded as such for nearly 400 years in the same town - or the surrounding areas.
I have not found any evidence to say that they were apprenticed elsewhere. However, that is not to say that it did not happen. In later years, when the censuses were around, I can follow various members as they first helped out in their dad's smithy, before either taking it over or branching out on their own. They still used the terms "journeyman blacksmith" even when working for their dad, moving on to "master blacksmith" when they branched out on their own.
Just to buck the trend, although my great, great grandfather was a blacksmith, his eldest son (my great grandfather) ran a laundry instead.
Get 'em dirty, get 'em clean! :D
16-02-2009, 7:10 PM
It would seem likely that sons were apprenticed to their father as this extract from the TNA guidance note (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=295) suggests:
Formal indentures involved some trouble and expense. By the eighteenth century apprenticeships were often undertaken without any formal indenture, especially in common trades such as weaving. In many trades it was expected that men would bring up their sons or nephews to the trade.Certainly I have at least four generations who were blacksmiths/farriers in the 19th century, often several sons went into the business and subsesquently set up in business for themselves. Another (probable) branch (I've not yet formally linked them) were also blacksmiths for several generations.
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