Throughout the 19th century the blacksmith’s shop was a central part of American life. Even the smallest forge was kept busy mending and making the variety of tools and implements for home and garden, for workshop and industry, and tack and shoes for mules, horses and oxen. Blacksmiths were critical to transportation, manufacturing and home life. Like today’s auto garage, nearly every substantial crossroads had a blacksmith’s shop.
Better shops included the blacksmith, a fireman, a helper, and sometimes a furrier. In 1850 there were more than 150 blacksmiths in Troy, NY, a city of about 30,000 people, including one woman, Canadian Cyrilla Turcott. About half of these smithies were born in Ireland. More blacksmiths of all skill levels could be found in the city’s wagon, carriage and wheelwright shops, or employed in the city’s booming iron industry. [Read more…] about 1840s Troy: Blacksmith Dan, John Morrissey & Friends