THE BLACKSMITHS
 
         One 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.

 

 

 
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