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The History of Forging


Aimee is a digital marketing specialist who loves all things history. She enjoys writing content about topics she finds interesting.


The roots of metalworking predate recorded history; however, we do have an idea of when forging came into play for humankind. Forging has proved to be an extremely valuable skill learnt thousands of years ago that provided us with our some of our first weapons, armour, locks, keys & way more.

The Beginning

Our forging journey starts off in 4500BC – this is when the earliest sign of metalworking dates back. The history of forging metals begins on the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates, Mesopotamia. The Sumerians inhabited this land and were the true founders of metalworking and forging.

Back in this time, possession of metals was seen as a sign of great wealth – Greeks even had Gods known for their forging. One of their Gods, called Vulcan, was a talented blacksmith.

Forging in the 19th Century

Smiths of the 19th century excelled in the open die forging technique – heating metals to shape parts between a top die attached to a ram and a bottom die attached to a hammer, anvil or bolster.

The steam engine was invented, the electric power generated by the engine helped develop forging further, introducing industrial forging. The development of steam and air hammers came after this, meaning the forging industry was no longer dependant on river locations. Smiths then began getting involved in forging parts for the automotive, agricultural & railway industries.

Forging in the 20th Century

Electric motors and induction heaters were invented, causing more advancement in the forging industry.

The impact of World War II also helped develop forging techniques – it allowed for the improvement of forging machines, forging process equipment and forging processes. A World War meant smiths needed to produce more weapons and the spotlight was on the quality of these weapons.

Forging Today

Nowadays, forging is still present in everyday life and has drastically changed from where it was thousands of years ago. Much like many industries, forging can now be completed by computer-controlled machines. These include computer-controlled hydraulic and air hammers.

There are still some human blacksmiths who may make items such as:

  • Tools – chisels, hammers, shovels, axes, vices
  • Jewellery – rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings
  • Agricultural items – horseshoes & cowbells
  • Decorative items – sculptures & artwork
  • Hardware – locks, keys, hooks, handles, hinges, screws

Overall, forging has had a great and long history and is still advancing each day.


© 2021 Aimee


Aimee (author) from United Kingdom on April 22, 2021:

Thank you!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on April 22, 2021:

Nice information.

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