DeKALB – “Blacksmiths Wanted” is not a common ad today, but that is what the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center in DeKalb is looking for – experienced or aspiring blacksmiths.
A blacksmith club has been formed at the national historic site where Joseph Glidden invented his popular style of barbed wire, The Winner, in 1873. The club provides living history demonstrations from May through November in the Phineas Vaughan Blacksmith Shop at the homestead, 921 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.
Both experienced blacksmiths and those interested in learning the trade are welcome to become involved in this endeavor.
The blacksmith shop was as common 120 years ago as the gas station is today. The blacksmith shoed horses, fixed wagons and made anything that a household required out of iron.
Today, few people recognize an anvil or know what it is used for. The Glidden Homestead is recreating that history and teaching the importance of the old trade to new generations.
The Glidden Blacksmith Club meets twice a month to hone skills and learn new techniques from experienced members. Club members provide demonstrations to the public during the homestead’s regular tour season, make merchandise for the gift shop and craft tools and other items to be used at the homestead. Last winter the club crafted the 11-by-8-foot hand-forged iron sign frame recently installed at the entrance to the site.
Blacksmith demonstrations and tours of the homestead are open to the public on the second and fourth Sundays of the month June through October and at special events in May and November. To learn more, visit www.gliddenhomestead.org.