Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

Hello again. I was wondering if anyone here can tell me a short history of the side draft (not blast) forge design (for curiosity more than anything). I have been looking all over to see if I could find the earliest instance of this sort of forge, with little luck. <_<

I thought a good place to start my search is the medieval (I know, very vague term) era, but it seems to me that most medieval forges have full hoods of masonry. I cannot find a date for the beginning of the use of side draft forges.

Any help?

Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the New Engalnd area I see a lot of old masonary forges that are side draft. Perhaps the smiths and the masons that came from Britan and settled this part of our country favored that particular design.

They have a slight taper to the face and a few had eyebrow type hoods attached but it was still a side draft arrangement that went into a standing masonary chimney. I did notice that these forges are closer to the deck than I would prefer but they may have been working heavy stock. Either they were very short or did not mind being bent over all day. There is still one of these working by where I live. Its in the back of a vehicle spring and suspension shop. It was a blacksmiths shop in the day and the family still maintains the forge. Great folks there, they respect the past and have great scrap spring pieces.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well in my egyptian metalworking book they show blow pipes being used by a number of people; however fairly soon after that there is archeological evidence for side draft forges using various early types of bellows.

Much later we have good strong evidence during viking times as the finding of bellows stones indicates the use of side draft. (a flat stone with a hole in it for the air to go into the fire through. Some are carved so that the hole is the mouth of a stylized head.

All the masonry forges of medieval, renaissance and the early industrial revolution were side draft---check De Re Metallica for the 1500's and there is a clear picture of how one is built in Moxon's Mechanics Exercises published in 1703

I can dig out more info when I have access to my research library; but tonight's Bad Movie Night so I won't get to it till Wednesday at best

I have several books on archeological metallurgy that I can probably cite some finds between the egyptians and the vikings to help fill in.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Thomas, I think you are confusing side draft (chimney) with side blast (Tuyere arangement) easily done

Locally to me there is a working forge which has been there for over three hundred years, that is a side draft, the tue is in line with the front of the chimney and surrounded by brick, it does not project into the hearth, and the chimney draws well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a discussion on the Colonial Williamsburg armory page (The structure is getting built currently, with webcam and all) that points the side draft chimney design to the 1750's. Might want to look at it, since it lists some added information

Phil

http://whatsnew.history.org/2011/08/armoury-frame-raising/

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

All the old forges local to me in England are of the side blast water cooled tuyere arrangement. The old estate forges dateing back to the 1700`s are all brick/stone built and set up this way. My only thought is that if you didnt have access to the materials and machinary to cast and make a side blast tuyere it would be easier to manufacutre and mass produce in the early days a bottom blast system and still use the old brick built design for the forge useing the brick chimney as that of a fire flu which would "suck" the smoke out of area given a long enough flu to create a decent backdraft. Ive seen pictures of old american brick built smithys that have looked simmilar to the older forges of europe set up as bottom blast systems with a side draft chimney.

John%2BEastman%2B%28American%2BPainter%2

John Eastman (American Painter, fl 1842-1880) The Blacksmith's Shop 1863
Here you can see what looks to be a brick built construction with small side draft flu - I see no water bosh to cool any sort of tuyere - so its possible that this could be a bottom blast system useing a brick build chimney as a side draft extraction.

082704-24.jpg

A Photo from Bedesbach America where blacksmiths demonstrate horse shoeing and other smithing in an old historical smithy.
Looking closely we can see a raised brick/stone built plinth holding the forge fire, again no back bosh or side blast tuyere to be seen - just the bellows set to presumably a bottom blast system with a side draft flu set at the shop rear wall.



The European system designed and produced the rear watercooled side blast tuyere to allow for a smithy to remain functioning for longer periods of industrialised labour during the industrial revolution and age 1750- mid to late1900`s (They still produce them in england even now //anvils.co.uk/products/view/171?cat=19

It is my thought that perhaps the easier set up of bottom blast side draft smithys where set in place due to their ease of manufacture and build in a early more colonial setting. It would be difficult to transport heavy materials to frontier areas to set up shops of a more standardised and perminant european design and build. Some early mass produced forges for farms / smithys and farriers in the states where of a quick to produce underblast designs for small jobs and the frontier lifestyle as you can see in this old advert.

champforge001-9b.jpg







Sadly after a quick search through my referance material I am also coming up stumped for anything that makes mention of a real history. The unfortunate problem with blacksmithing is that the bulk of its european history has only been recorded with any accuracy in the last 200 years and even then not with much aim towards a historical preservation untill the last 70 years.


This is all just wild speculation really so please feel free to reply back and call me an idiot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually side blast forges are more easily set up and cheaper to build. They do not required the water cooled bosh but can be just a hole in the side wall that the air comes out of---far easier to build than a bottom blast air system that has to deal with ashes and clinker.

Moxon's 1703 edition of Mechanics Exercises shows this type as I recall, Ill drag it out and check tonight.

The bottom blast is a simpler system if you factor in a water cooled bosh---especially hear in the United States where winter temperatures are often far below freezing in the "industrial north" where such things were produced.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually side blast forges are more easily set up and cheaper to build. They do not required the water cooled bosh but can be just a hole in the side wall that the air comes out of---far easier to build than a bottom blast air system that has to deal with ashes and clinker. Moxon's 1703 edition of Mechanics Exercises shows this type as I recall, Ill drag it out and check tonight. The bottom blast is a simpler system if you factor in a water cooled bosh---especially hear in the United States where winter temperatures are often far below freezing in the "industrial north" where such things were produced.


Unfortunatly ive yet to be able to get myself a copy of Moxon`s but im suprised it got a referance, When i checked in Bealer`s Art of Blacksmithing he just referances Moxon`s as containing a shortlist of designs listed being indicative of the start of the industrial revolution. Im aware that the water cooled system wasnt always so, my point i suppose, was that the casting of a suitable tuyere would of been more problomatic than perhaps the production of bottom blast design for colonial purposes - i mean bottom blasts didnt always have the clinker breaker - but as you say side blasts didnt always have a cast tuyere.

It would be interesting for me to find the point of origin for the first bottom blast design, something ill definatly be trying to find more out on.

Thats a neat idea about the climate though - definatly would of made large water bosh`s a pain in the ass to deal with.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a copy of Moxon, Astragal Press, as it's part of my history of ferrous metal working research library (several shelves so far)

Anyone have access to the complete Diderot's encyclopedia? Late 18th century French where Moxon was English and mainly written between 1650 and 1700 IIRC.

I'll check what the American civil war specs for a traveling forge specified too. I tend to think of the cast iron bottom blast systems as being post ACW but I's need to research it more---all this 18th and 19th century stuff is just so modern! Y0K is much more interesting!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...