Since people began melting metals from ores, blacksmithing has become one of the most important professions performed by a human. In cultures which mastered obtaining metal from ore, blacksmithing was very appreciated. In the Middle Ages locksmithery emerged from it, which deals with cold metal processing. Nowadays, blacksmithing is no longer as popular as it used to be. One of the reasons is that the demand for shoeing horses has largely decreased. Currently, blacksmiths occupy themselves mainly with artistic blacksmithing and creating decorative elements, e.g. gates, grates and various types of architectural details.
A blacksmith can work at a forging plant or run their own workshop. In their work they use methods of hand and machine forging. The forge must be equipped with:
a furnace,which heats up the metal for processing,
an anvil, on which the blacksmith puts the workpiece,
a hammer to shape the metal, tongs, which the blacksmith grabs and holds the heated element that is being processed. It is very important that the blacksmith wears a blacksmith's apron and gloves to protect his or her body during work.
In the blacksmith's profession, one needs such qualities as manual skills, creativity, physical strength, perceptiveness and artistic abilities, especially in case of artistic blacksmithing. Moreover, a good blacksmith also has a developed spatial imagination, the ability to work at a fast pace, good visual‑motor coordination, and is resistant to long‑term effort and work in difficult conditions.
A blacksmith works mainly in closed spaces where there’s high noise level and high temperature and, consequently, a risk of burns. A person who would like to work as a blacksmith must not have visual impairments that cannot be corrected, lung diseases or vertebral defects.