The author of this book has been prompted by two reasons in the undertaking: First, the phenomenal sale of his first book, “Modern Blacksmithing”; second, by the many letters asking for information on such work as was not treated in that book.
People in general are not aware of the fact that, in our time of manufacture, blacksmithing is almost a lost art, for nearly everything formerly made by the smith is now turned out by machinery. I have never been in a community yet where I did not hear this remark about the smith: “Oh, he is a good smith;” while the fact is, in many instances, that there was not a real smith within hundreds of miles, and they might very appropriately have joined in the lamentation of old, “There is no smith found in all the land of Isreal.”
I think I am safe in contending that not one out of a thousand smiths can make horse nails, which are the simplest articles formerly made by the smith. It takes the author only about three minutes in a shop to tell if the smith who stands behind the anvil is a real smith or a botch. It takes an educated graduate from a medical college just that long to discover a fake doctor who has no education, but has crept into a profession he knows nothing about. Just so, the average smith has opened up his shop after a three-months apprenticeship, and in some cases not even having served that long; but if the people but knew the difference, they would insist on an apprentice law. As it is, we shall only modestly ask every prospective shop opener to study and learn, partly by heart, the teachings given in “Standard Blacksmithing, Horseshoeing and Wagonmaking,” and we shall have a better class of smiths in the future.