Blacksmith forges hammers, and a career, in 1860s shop
The first thing Aaron Cergol ever made was a little playhouse for Beanie Babies.
He built it with a hinged roof that opened and closed, and his dad, a carpenter, let him use some of his power tools. Aaron, at the time, was 4.
Several years and many projects later, he got an Xbox. He can't recall whether it was a present or if he bought it himself, but he does remember that after about a month and a half he grew tired of playing it.
So he did what any sensible teenage boy would do: He sold the Xbox and used the money to buy a forge. He's been pounding on red-hot steel ever since.
"Everyone," said Cergol, who just turned 23 and likes nothing better than to lay a block of almost-molten metal on an anvil and whale on it with a 3-pound hammer, "says I was born a couple centuries too late."
But there's money to be made in the ancient ways. After less than a year of going at it seriously, Cergol is developing a business fashioning hand-forged hammers that sell for $100 and up.
The Industrial Revolution That Never Was
- An anvil is a big steel workbench, where blacksmiths do most of their forging work - that's when you hit the hot steel with the hammer to change the shape of the material. Most people recognise the anvil from Looney Tunes. Wile E. Coyote tries to drop
- Most were bloomeries, glorified blacksmith shops in which an ironmaker – often a slave unable to refuse a dangerous job – would heat a lump of ore over charcoal in a hearth. Standing inches from the hot coals, the ironmaker would reach in with a bar to
- Once the steel turns bright reddish orange, Hatton takes it out of the furnace and onto his 100-pound anvil, where he uses the hammer and horn of the anvil, a blacksmith's best friend, to mold the steel into the curved horseshoe we're familiar with
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