Smith (metalwork)

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A smith, or metalsmith, is a person who makes things from metal.

Metal smiths were very important before industrialisation because they made metal tools for farming (especially the plough) and weapons for fighting in wars. Because of the importance of smiths, the name of their craft ('Smith') turned into a surname.

Etymology of smith[change | edit source]

The word smith means "to hit" or "to strike". Originally, smiths made things from metal by using a hammer.

As an English suffix, -smith at the end of a word means a craftsmen. For example, a "locksmith" makes locks.

Types of smiths[change | edit source]

Types of smiths include:

Artisans and Craftpersons[change | edit source]

The ancient traditional tool of the smith is a forge or smithy, which is a fire which allows compressed air (through a bellows) to heat the inside until it is hot enough for metal to melt so that it can be made into the shape that is required. .

The term, metalsmith, often refers to artisans and craftpersons who practice their craft in many different metals, including gold, copper and silver. Jewelers often refer to their craft as metalsmithing, and many universities offer degree programs in metalsmithing, jewelry and blacksmithing as part of their fine arts programs.

A tinker is a metalsmith who mends kettles, pots and pans. They were often poor, itinerant workers (walking from place to place looking for jobs).

Machinists[change | edit source]

Machinists are metalsmiths who produce high-precision parts and tools. The most advanced of these tools, CNC machines, are computer controlled and largely automated.