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I Forge Iron

A little past history lesson


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Many famous names and places can be credited for the resurgence of pattern welding of ferrous and/or nonferrous materials. Just thought I would share this link with everyone. I find it especially interesting since I too am a SIUC graduate, with multiple degrees. See how many names you recognize within the confines of this text.

L. Brent Kington Oral History Interview Conducted by Mary Douglas for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 2001

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Very interesting interview; but some of his research is a bit dated---the idea that crusaders brought back wootz blades and that pattern welding was invented as the European method of trying to duplicate them is still floating around. Unfortunately the hey-day of European pattern welding was about 500 years *BEFORE* the first crusade and pattern welding was not used much at all at the time of the crusades. Pattern welding has pretty much showed up in every culture that used the bloomery process of making wrought iron as one of the steps of refining blooms is to forge them out, cut, stack, and weld them and repeat until you get the quality you need.

As far as patternwelding being a lost craft you can look at the work done in Germany in the 1930's and 40's. Very extensive and well done pieces. It just wasn't known generally in America---we tend to get a bit Americentric over here.

It is interesting to see the changes in the culture over time with "secrets" being hoarded till todays knifeworld where knowlege is almost forced on people when they say they are interested. And that change probably started by some of the people he mentions who were interested but being shut out by the few folks who knew. So when they figured it out they decided to share it! And we all have profited by it!

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