The History of Blacksmithing

The term “Blacksmith” is believed to originated from “black” referring to the black firescale, a layer of oxides that forms on the surface of the metal during heating; and “smith” from either the old English word “smythe” meaning “to strike,” or from the Proto-German “smithaz” meaning “skilled worker.” The art of working with metals predates the start of the iron age, back to the bronze age and other metals worked using fire. In the medieval period, blacksmithing was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts, and blacksmiths were critical members of their communities.  While there were other trades working with metals, the blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain. Until the industrial revolution, a “village smithy” was a staple of every town and produced everything metal for their communities. Today, the traditions of early blacksmiths live on in welding, foundry, and machine shop trades.

One of the important skills of those early Blacksmiths was welding metals together. This course is a prerequisite for the e-VOTECH welding certification programs as defined by the American Welding Association (AWS). By the end of this course the student will gain an appreciation for the impact of metalworking on civilization, and understand the traditions that guide today’s apprenticeship training and certification programs.


Ron enlisted in the US Navy right after High School graduation and became an Electronics Technician. He received 20 months of vocational-level electronics training before setting foot on his first submarine, and periodic vocational-level training throughout his 22-year career. During his career, Ron gained working knowledge of a number of other specialized trades including welding and foundry work. Ron is also an avid "Do-It-Yourselfer," and to date has completely renovated three homes working together with his wife Weifang. He has a background in carpentry, furniture making, plumbing, and electrical work, as well as electronics.