A Country Blacksmith Shop

The rural blacksmith or "smithy" as he was called, was an important person in the 18th, 19th and the first part of the 20th centuries in America. He performed a vital function in most peoples lives in that era of American life. Usually stereotyped as making horseshoes and shoeing horses, the blacksmith actually did much, much more. He made most of the tools the people used, including his own. Metal hardware including metal fittings for wagons, braces, bars and most metal things used by the people were for a time made by blacksmiths, including lumbering equipment.

The blacksmith shop located on the farm formerly owned by William Laubscher, now occupied by Nelson Laubscher, his son, was built in 1958 and enlarged in 1960. William, who learned his trade from his brother Charles, made most of the tools in the shop, some of which are 60 years old, some older.

Some of the tools found there are various types of tongs to handle the hot metal made soft enough to work, a coal scoop to remove hot ashes from the forge, a vise, hammers to mold the soft metal and cold cuts, special tapered hammers to cut hot iron by fracturing it. Wheel making tools were also present.

In these times blacksmithing is little more than a hobby with a handful of people - few and far between. In the Swissdale area the remnants of a by-gone lifestyle which was more than just an occupation; it was truly an art.

The information listed here was taken from History of Clinton County by Cora Suiter, the History of the Probst Family, Swissdale History by Florence Laubscher. All this can be found in the Ross Library.

**Donated by Dean Laubscher**