Today’s metal crafting is one that has not truly evolved like other crafts. It’s true that techniques have been perfected and artistic limits may have been exceeded by present day craftsmen compared to those of old, but the techniques themselves are generally the same and have been for almost a hundred years. However, metal craft dates back many centuries all the way to the beginning of recorded history. The earliest metal crafting can be found as sculptures of deities and in churches and temples all over the world. Iron, copper, silver and alloys like bronze, bell metal and white metal were some of the metals used to create these pieces of art.
Beginning the series, we will be reviewing present day metalwork. In today’s world, metal crafting often gets grouped together with manufacturing and in Merriam-Webster, it defines manufacturing as “making (something) on a large scale using machinery.” This is a rather broad statement that unfairly describes what most metal craftsmen consider their profession. Metal craftsmen create unique pieces of art, for a home, for a business or for a park. Whether it’s a sculpture, an iron fence, or door knobs for a renovation, the end result of a craftsmen work is unique to the project and invaluable to those who have it.
Ironworkers over a century ago did not have arc welders or the tools that you regularly see to join metals together as quickly and cleanly as they do today. The first single electrode, portable welding machine was created in 1911 by Lincoln Electric Co. Now, present day metal workers have more resources available than even imagined a century ago. They have the ability to create elaborate pieces of work using a multitude of methods, all of which are derived from the notion of piecing metal together to create genuine, one-of-a-kind designs.
Metal crafting has evolved, but unlike other crafts and not in the sense that one would think. Craftsmen still use the same techniques, albeit revamped, to develop the pieces that are featured throughout the world. Metal pieces expertly crafted by metal workers last a great deal of time and because of this, one can compare the work of today to the work of yesteryear to see for themselves that metal craft has only slightly evolved and for good reason. We will soon begin reviewing metalwork throughout history and how exactly our craft has changed over the years.