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Southwestern Colonial Ironwork: The Spanish Blacksmithing Tradition from Texas to California Paperback – June, 1980

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Pr (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890131287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890131282
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,843,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good brief book with many pictures and diagrams of ironwork. As a blacksmith and historical interperator it allowed me to duplicate the items and describe what was being used at the time. While it coveres all classes of iron work from the home to the ranch to the mission, there are usually only a few examples of each item. Still it is a great value and no other book I know of covers this field. "Colonial Wrought Iron" by Plummer has more examples of the same period, but in the New England area.
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Format: Paperback
Southwestern Colonial Ironwork, by Marc Simmons and Frank Turley, is a beautifully illustrated little tome about the Spanish tradition of ironworking in northern Mexico and the southwest US.

The authors begin with a brief history of iron working in general, including a very brief overview of ancient techniques of extracting iron from ore, tempering iron to hold an edge, and using a bellows to achieve higher temperatures in processing.

The next chapter, regarding ironworking in Spain, briefly covers the Celts, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, and later the Spaniards. I was much fascinated by the description of the Moslem smiths of Toledo in the 9th century who developed a tempering technique that depended upon the air temperature of balmy Spanish nights and the proximity of the waters of the river Tajo. The authors also review the guild systems that helped to develop a culture of craftmanship, but also stifled innovation at times.

From Spain, the authors turn their attention to Mexico. In the young colony, iron was hugely important for daily life and highly valued. The influence of the guilds waned as the social structures changed in the New World. It was fascinating to read the details of the artifacts of daily life and how these were made.

The authors then cover the spread of ironworking from Mexico to the more northern colonies that would later be called California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Then, the book changes structure and focuses on the various functional aspects of colonial iron work. There are chapters on the Smithy; Farriery; Tool Forging; Ironware for Farm, Ranch, and Trail; Horsemen's Hardware; Iron in the Home; Builders' Hardware; and Mission Iron.
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