Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop was built in 1836.  It replaced an earlier structure that once stood between the General Store and the Blast Furnace.  It contained only one forge and was not able to keep up with the production demands of the village. The new shop had four forges making it one of the largest in New Jersey for its time.

Blacksmithing is the working of iron to produce tools and equipment.  Historically, blacksmiths often called themselves mechanics. The blacksmiths were responsible for repairing wagon tires, producing tools, repairing carriages, maintaining machinery, and shoeing draft animals. Today the blacksmiths of The Historic Village at Allaire produce numerous items for use around the village and for sale in the General Store. Blacksmithing is one of the oldest trades still practiced today.  Because it’s so old, about 22,000 years old, there is a lot of folklore and history associated with it.

While we do not have much information about the specific workers of the Howell Works, we do have some idea of who the blacksmiths were.  Jacob Kisner was a native of Pennsylvania who was first employed by Mr. Allaire around 1825 and possibly earlier. Other Howell Works blacksmiths included John Studer, James Shibla, Britton Newman, Tanis Emmons, and William Riddle, who was a blacksmith and part time farm hand on one of the three farms.  There was at least one, but perhaps two, female smiths who worked for the factory sometime between 1822 and 1825.  We believe their names were Paty and Mary Fowler.

Regardless of a person’s occupation they relied on a blacksmith to repair their goods. (This is much the same way; we modern folk rely on our mechanics.)  So blacksmiths are often seen culturally and in art work as social equalizers; they are able to cross religious, economic, and social boundaries to solve mechanical as well as social problems.