The importance of a good bellows

Ancient civilizations fascinate me. Ten thousand years ago, laws governing inheritance, property rights, adoptions and more were carved in stone on the Isle of Crete — literally carved in stone. Making multiple copies would have been quite a chore.

There were gods for every occupation, and I’ve always appreciated the Greek and Roman gods of blacksmithing.

A recent coincidence has convinced me I should be thanking one of them.

To get a hot enough fire to heat iron to the point where it loses its tensile strength (1,400 degrees Fahrenheit), you need to either use charcoal or coal.

Charcoal is made by burning wood at a temperature that leaves the carbon and eliminates elements that burn at lower temperatures. Then the charcoal is used to heat iron.

It was the making of charcoal that led to the deforestation of much of Greece and led to its use of stone in building, but that’s not the point.

The point is that whether you are using coal or charcoal, you need to blow a lot of air onto it to get the most heat out of it.

5 shocking things about Trident that whistle-blower William McNeilly has revealed

  1. Erik LeBlanc couldn't safely keep his forge going in the wind outside the classrooms. "But this year, students can pick up hammers and turn the hand-crank blower for the forge," LeBlanc said, adding that the weight of the tools gave them a better feel
  2. He cited examples of security officers barely looking at identity cards, and the identity cards being very easy to forge if someone wanted to. This was backed up by the second whistle-blower, Bryson, who said a shipmate routinely used a blue bank card
  3. Members of the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery have some interesting titles, including the swabber off (who cleans the surface of the anvils), the powder monkey (who handles the powder into positons), the blower up (who tends the forge), the 

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