Historical Society sponsors blacksmithing class


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  • On Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, the charcoal fires were red hot as a group of students and their instructor hammered out useful metal objects on anvils behind the historic Bairdís Tavern at 105 Main St. From left, Joe Hearon, professional blacksmith Adriaan Gerber, Robert Schmick, director of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, Cathy Erlean-Goddard, Orion Blake and Vic Stockman.




  • Photos by Roger Gavan Robert Schmick, director of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, demonstrates how holes in metal objects were made by hammering a spike on the hot metal placed over a hole in the anvil. Most of the primitive stoves and tools used in the course came from his private collection.



WARWICK — Strike while the iron is hot.

It was reminiscent of a scene that probably took place when Warwick was the frontier and everything had to be handcrafted.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, the charcoal fires were red hot as a group of students and their instructor hammered out useful metal objects on anvils behind the historic Baird’s Tavern at 105 Main St.

The students were taught basic forging processes necessary to craft the shapes of various everyday products.

Robert Schmick, director of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, had arranged for Adriaan Gerber, a fulltime blacksmith whose specialties are knives, swords, halberds and the like to travel from Maine to teach a blacksmithing class.

According to Schmick, blacksmiths, in colonial days, were necessary to create ordinary objects like knives, nails, cooking utensils and hooks from red hot iron by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut.

Although blacksmiths may make horseshoes, the person who shoes horses today is called a farrier. But in the days when Baird’s Tavern served as a rest and horse changing station for travelers along the Kings Highway like General George Washington, the blacksmith and his apprentice or helper as well as ordinary farmers probably performed both tasks.

Although Schmick is a native of Warwick, most of the primitive stoves and tools used in the course came from his private collection, which he acquired when he lived in Maine.

The Historical Society will offer additional blacksmithing classes in the future and a permanent blacksmith shop and primitive tool display behind Baird Tavern is being considered.

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