Thursday, January 29, 2015

Henry Huber Blacksmith Shop


    One of the most important men in early Payson was the blacksmith.  Payson was very fortunate from the time of its founding in 1850 to have the services of numerous blacksmiths available to them through the years.  Among them was Henry Albert Huber.  His shop was located several blocks from the Peteetneet on 200 North near 500 East.
    Several years ago, members of the Huber Family donated much of the equipment from that shop to the Peteetneet.  We now have the Huber Blacksmith Shop as one of our most outstanding exhibits at the museum.
    Henry Albert Huber was born in Payson on May 14, 1879.  He married Emma Hicks and they reared their six children in Payson.  Their children were Earl, Orabell, Marie, Albert, Ernadene and Deon.  Members of the Huber Family have been benefactors of the museum for many years.  We have appreciated not only the donation of items for exhibit but also the monetary generosity of the late Albert Huber made to our museum over the years.  These donations have helped to make our facility that we all enjoy today.
    The term “blacksmith” is derived from the words “black,” meaning black metal and “smite,” meaning to strike hard.  The blacksmith performed a number of services vital to the pioneer community.  The primary service was that of keeping the horse’ hooves in good condition.
    Horses were essential for both work and transportation.  They needed to be shod on a regular basis.  A horse with sore feet could not work.  Good horseshoes, when properly fitted, contributed to the working life of the horse.  Horses needed shoes to protect the hooves.  The blacksmith shaped the shoe to fit the individual horse’s hoof, rasped the hoof, then burned and nailed the shoe on the hoof.
    The blacksmith had a forge where, with the aid of a bellows, he kept his fire hot.  He also had an anvil, which was a sold iron piece on which he could hammer horseshoes fresh from the fire.  Once the shoe was the right shape for the horse’s hoof, it was put into a bucket of cold water to temper the metals and cool them off.  The shoe was then nailed to the hoof of the horse.
    The blacksmith manufactured all kinds of metal items for use in settlers’ homes.  He made everything from nails, to hinges, to axe heads.
    Almost every community had at least one or more blacksmith shops.  The shop was usually near a livery stable (barn).  The main tools of the blacksmith were the forge, the hammer, and the anvil.  Other items in the shop included bellows, tongs,  a vat (tub) for water to cool th heated metal, shears, files and grinders.
    The blacksmith heated metal items in the forge.  He pumped the bellows and forced air through the coals in the forge.  The more he pumped the bellows, the hotter the fire became.  Once the metal (iron) was red-hot, he would use the tongs to hold the metal on the anvil.  He would then hammer the hot metal into different shapes.  He then cooled the metal in the vat of water
    The community relied on the blacksmith to shod (shoe) the horses, to repair a broken ploughshare or wagon.  He was also called upon to repair broken metal tools and equipment.  Some of the items  that a blacksmith made were: ploughshares, door hinges, chains, cow bells, knives, nails, various tools, horse shoes, hooks, wagon parts, pots, pans and tools for the fireplace.
    Take a few minutes of your time and visit the historical and informative Huber Blacksmith Shop at the Peteetneet Museum.  You will find it is time well-spent finding out about our pioneer heritage.

1 comment:

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