can still find representatives of this well respected trade
in the villages of Banat. Their average age is above 65.
None of them has apprentices, although there is a lot of
commissioned work. They make all sorts of tools: hoes, axes,
ploughs, carts and wrought iron ornaments. The horseshoe
is the symbol of this trade.
The blacksmiths' shops are called
"covaci" and they have remained almost unchanged
for the past two centuries. Very few have a forge or a motor
to ventilate the hearth; most of them have the leather fan,
operated manually. Only blacksmiths in large villages have
welding devices; the others combine the parts for ploughs
or the metal band for cart wheels through an ages-old procedure
called "boiling". In the past, an important part
of the trade was the gathering of coal from the mountains.
Today they buy the coal.
One cannot practise this trade by oneself. The blacksmith
needs at least two people to assist him; if he doesn't have
apprentices, he gets help from his own family. Blacksmiths
don't work on holidays. In some cases they barter their
work: they expect help to work the field in exchange for
their own service.