Friday 16 June 2023

The Smith-In Blacksmith Festival; Forging Modern-Day Glengarry

The Smith-In Blacksmith Festival hosted by the Glengarry Pioneer Museum this Father’s Day weekend is fast approaching. Patrons will have the chance to catch a glimpse of the skills and techniques that were once used by pioneer blacksmiths at several live demonstrations and displays being held by modern-day blacksmiths traveling in from across Ontario, Quebec and the USA from Saturday, June 17th to Sunday, June 18th. 

Photograph of a reproduction, early 19th century blacksmith's forge cart. Object ID: EDU 2018-001-001.

Visitors to the museum are invited to observe a live workshop hosted by modern-day blacksmiths who will  learn how to forge a Norfolk door latch using tools and techniques of the past at the Williams Pavilion and the historic Olivier Hamlin blacksmith shop on Saturday the 17th. On Sunday the 18th, visitors will have the opportunity watch demonstrations on a reproduction, early 19th century blacksmith’s forge cart with functioning bellows on the museum grounds. The blacksmith's forge cart is depicted in the photograph above. 

    Photographs of a late 18th century handcrafted fire pot hook, known as a “Slabhraidh” in Scottish Gaelic. The photograph on the right displays details of the zig-zag pattern on the outside of the pot hook. Object ID: 1962-039-001.

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is home to many artifacts that were handcrafted using historic blacksmithing methods that will be demonstrated at this weekend's festival. The earliest known of such artifacts in the museum's collection is a fire pot hook, or  “Slabhraidh” in Gaelic according to the University of Glasgow's Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic, which is depicted in the two featured photographs above. This hand forged chain and hook are believed to date to the late 18th century, likely among the items brought be early settlers. 

The hook would have been supported by three large branches arranged in a V-shape in order to hang a large cooking pot over a fire, likely to prepare meals for some of the early Scottish settlers as they worked to clear the land of the Glengarry area during the day. 

We look forward to welcoming all modern-day blacksmiths traveling in from across North America along with all interested visitors at the Smith-In Blacksmith Festival this Father's Day weekend, and we invite you to explore each of the live demonstrations and displays set to take place on Saturday and Sunday while you're here. Children's activities and food will be available onsite.

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