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We Made Baldur


Blacksmith Harry Goodman



Photo From the Archives of Manitoba

The Historical Edition  of the Baldur Gazette from March 14, 1940 in recalling the earliest businesses established in the new village of Baldur notes that:

“G. W. Cramer built a blacksmith shop, manned by Harry Goodman, who had deserted his trade to go on a homestead five miles east of town” Thus he first two blacksmith shops in Baldur in 1890, were operated by Harry Goodman and Wm. McKnight.  Harry Goodman's blacksmith shop sat where The Baldur Hotel is now situated. He lived in a house to the north of it. Harry and his son Frank, worked at blacksmithing there until 1911, when Alex Mitchell bought the shop and house.

Mr. Goodman served as blacksmith for many years. He af-terwards moved to Transcona where he became foreman in the car shops of the C.N. railway.

Adapted from Come into our Heritage, page 152.

A Day in the Life of a Blacksmith

For the early settlers, the blacksmith was perhaps the most essential tradesman. Not only did he make the iron parts for the
first farming implements, he also could repair all iron objects by hammering them by hand on an anvil.

After heating the iron until white-hot, the blacksmith would then shape and wield a multitude of objects from it, including
carriage bolts and wheels, iron work, cooking utensils, and most importantly, horseshoes.

Blacksmiths who made horseshoes were called farriers, derived from the Latin word for iron. At a time when horses were the
only means of transport, the blacksmith was important to not only individual farmers and travelers, but also to merchants
whose businesses depended on transporting their goods to other places. Also, because they spent much of their time shoeing horses, blacksmiths gained a considerable amount of knowledge about equine diseases.

The new industrial output of the late 1800s allowed the smith to improve his shop. With a small boiler, steam engine, and a
system of overhead shafts, pulleys, and leather belts, the formerly hand operated shop equipment like the post drill, the blower, and other equipment could he easily powered. The small belt powered machines like the Little Giant trip hammer
or its blacksmith built counterpart took its place in many small shops. Later, the "steam" part of the steam driven leather belt
systems were replaced with small gasoline engines or electric motors. In time, many power hammers were fitted with their
own electric motors.

Many blacksmiths were manufacturers as well.Wagon boxes, the setting of wagon and buggy tyres, lathe turned parts for spinning wheels, the single bob manure sleigh, the making of sleigh runners, bolsters, bunks and tongues, and the custom manufacture of truck transfer boxes with cattle hauling equipment were some of the items fabricated with finesse befitting the labourers. Always, along with the aforesaid, there were the innumerable interruptions to repair broken machinery as is
wont to happen in a mixed farming area.

Thiis Buffalo Forge advertising card shows an "old" brick forge and bellows and a "new" style forge and blower.
Note the hood at th back of the new forge.

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