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High School Blacksmith Class, 1915


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Ran across this picture today, it is from Wikipedia and was captioned "High School Black Smith Class, Salt Lake City, UT 1915.  I found it very interesting to look at and figured I would Share. the first thing I noticed was the forges being used....very cool. anyhow what do you all think?. Wish there was a blacksmithing class when I was in High school.

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They are all Buffalo downdraft forges.

Here's another, very cool stuff.
 Blacksmithschool.jpg

 

I was happy to find the real heavy duty version of this downdraft forge this past summer.

I would have loved to started doing this as young as these kids are!

 

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Don't say that it could not happen: we are working with the county school system to have two years of high school trades taught here at our community college, starting next year. The students would be here all day every day for all classes, on our campus as a magnet school. And I run the blacksmith club, and teach summer hobby blacksmith classes, in addition to the curriculum welding classes. We are fighting to have Ornamental Ironwork added to our welding curriculum.

 

Safety Sally :P that I am, I would have them wearing PPE!

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I think the colleges are the only ones who can, the liability insurance has all but elemited shop and science labs from highschools. Some how i find it sad that its ok to criple, kill and subject chieldren to tramatic brain injures on the football feild but its to risky to have a chem lab or auto shop.
Sorry american football, lol

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Charles, I don't think its all a liability issue... A lot of it has to do with interest as well. It seems to me not that many high school aged kids are as interested in learning a trade as compared to computers and technology. I would like to think some trade schools as hopefully where mr. McPherson works is still thriving within these trades and crafts.... But I understand your point across.

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Only thing that even resembles "shop" is FFA and the associated Ag classes. And most of the school admin i have talked to about eliminating chem labs sighted liability. Truth is, at least hear in Oklahoma, a 20 kid sports program is given priority over anything else. Sports is not a bad thing, but when a new ball field trumps a libraries or computer lab something is wrong.
The local school board took offense when I expressed the view that a used oil derrick would have been a better investment. At least the boys could have learned a trade.
Any way, I'll get off my soap box.

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Here in NJ, most high schools have eliminated the "dirty shop" classes of woodworking and metalworking.  At the school I taught at, those classes are surviving, but just barely.   The metal shop is just used three classes a day.  The wood shop still has 5 classes.  The biggest problem here is the lack of teachers certified in the area.  Today "shop" teachers have a degree in Industrial Technology, which means robotics, auto-cad and maybe some graphic design.  They do not know anything about metalworking aside from drilling a hole.  When I retired, they tried to hire two teachers to replace me, since they had the student interest.  Alas, they could only find one, so the programs are slowly being cut back.  There is only one teacher left with the old time certification to teach all areas, and having the knowledge to do so.  The administration is now attempting to make what is left of the shop classes into Technology classes, focusing more on the process instead of project based learning.  I fear my old general metal shop will be history soon.

 

We do have an Ag program that the school supports.  Same problem there with teachers.  The long time Ag teachers have all retired, and the two replacements have no farming background, only a schooling background.  They are good people, but the program is not the same as it was. 

 

I started many students on their careers.  But they went to trade schools, military, schools paid for by their employers, and those don't count by the administrators as success stories.  They did not go to college.  They did not add to the school percentage of "going on to 4 yr colleges".    But they have good paying jobs, with no college debt, and lead good productive lives.  For that, my career has been "priceless".

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I think that the world wide blacksmith community owes itself a collective pat on the back for a job well done.  We have succeeded in keeping this great metalworking skill alive and most of us, at one time or another, have taught someone and have passed on skills and knowledge.  I doubt that anyone of the students pictured in the OP photo in 1915 could have any inkling that one hundred years later we would still be doing this profession and commenting on the photo.

 

Some of us have full time shops producing phenomenal works.  Other do amazing blades.  A lot of us just have fun creating what we want or need.  And some of us preserve many objects and machines of this trade to study what went on in the past, and to preserve some of these no-longer produced items for the future.

 

The internet has brought all of us from around the world together into a great community.  I love the fact that we can post about a place we will be visiting or traveling through, and receive invitations to stop by and visit.   Iron-workers of the world: Thank You for being part of this great community.

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I didn't have the chance to snap any photos once the merit badge classes started, but this was my setup outdoors last month at my son's BSA Winter Camp where I taught metalworking/blacksmithing.  Several of the scouts told me it was the best merit badge class they'd taken since I taught welding two years ago.  The interest is still there! 

 

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I visited a machine tool warehouse a few years back in my town, whole place was piled up with stuff that the local high schools didn't want or couldn't afford to keep anymore. Planers, drill presses, bandsaws, lathes, even a couple of induction furnaces for casting aluminum and a sweet old Beverly shear. Trade crafts are a dying breed, I won't be surprise if kids don't know the right end of a screwdriver give or take a few years from now.

 

Very cool pictures by the way !

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Almost every machine tool in my home wood shop came from schools that closed their wood shops.  Oliver, Powermatic, Delta, Bridgeport, to name a few.  All heavy duty made in America iron.  It will all outlast me, and hopefully go to good new homes someday.

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Greetings All,

 

     Well done Josh..  At 71 I still mentor at a local trade school and will continue to do so as long as I can ....  We have a responsibility to educate our youth. If we do not pass on our trade who will?  Henry Ford recognized that education was the only answer to upgrade his workers and in turn the nations economy .  I have in my possession a copy of his trade school books and the level at that time was much greater than what we are teaching  today.  How can our successors improve on an idea or concept if they never have exposure to how it was done in the past.. I am proud to be part of the blacksmithing community because it is the only group of tradesmen that willing give there time and money to preserve the art and skills.  May it continue for many rears to come.

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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... .For that, my career has been "priceless".

... We have succeeded in keeping this great metalworking skill alive and most of us, at one time or another, have taught someone and have passed on skills and knowledge...

 

Well spoken and great accomplishments, Josh. Bravo!

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I had a metal working class in 8th grade it was one of many that we had to take. Made a sign with scrolls. Turned some stock on a lathe and cast a belt buckle out of aluminum. Still have the belt buckle. The items I made in wood shop and the photos and stamp I made in printing. I teach a course through the community collage in there enrichment section here in town. Have a bunch of dedicated students. I give the students a good start.

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