Bond Forged Between Blacksmithing And Chemical Processing

Jan. 26, 2022

My father-in-law’s past is peppered with rough-and-tumble experiences. He was a Green Beret in the U.S. Army and has held gruff occupations since the day he started working. He retired not too long ago as a long-distance truck driver but his true passion and profession was being a blacksmith and a farrier, which he came to out of necessity at the age of 14 when the family couldn’t afford to buy or put shoes on their horse. When I stumbled upon a blacksmithing video from the folks over at American Chemical Society, I obviously had to figure out where the connection was between my world of Chemical Processing and his world of forging metal.

There is parity in the fact that blacksmiths and chemical processing both play a key role in society by making goods. In the chemical industry, it’s done by taking raw materials and processing them into new things. For blacksmiths, they take metals -- usually iron ore that has been processed into a steel alloy -- and then apply extreme heat to move around atoms to create everything from horseshoes and nails (some of my father-in-law’s specialties) to swords and tchotchkes.

Over the years my father-in-law reckons he’s made thousands of horseshoes and shod hundreds of horses -- too many to remember sans one: An Army horse named Black Jack -- the riderless horse who carried a saddle with boots turned backward in the stirrups during President John. F. Kennedy’s funeral procession. I’ve heard the story many times of how my father-in-law happened to be in the right place at the right time to be asked to perform such an honor. And each time I get teary-eyed as I listen to the catch in his throat as he relives that moment.

Apparently, all blacksmiths share a passion for creating -- and now I can point out to my father-in-law that he’s a chemical processor, too. Check out this short video to see the process of making a sword in a forge. 

About the Author

Traci Purdum | Editor-in-Chief

Traci Purdum, an award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering manufacturing and management issues, is a graduate of the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent, Ohio, and an alumnus of the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

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