Village blacksmiths have historically been important figures in rural communities. They were responsible for making and repairing essential tools for farms and households like plough blades, the rims of cartwheels, gates, and chains. They were also often the local farrier whose job was to shoe horses. These tasks required skill in working with iron and steel which were heated in a forge and hammered into shape on an anvil. These photographs of blacksmiths were all taken in the late 1950s by Dr Werner Kissling, a researcher associated with Dumfries Museum. Dr Kissling took the photographs to document the practices of blacksmithing and farriery in Dumfries and Galloway which were being affected by changes in farming and manufacturing. As farming became dominated by tractors the role of blacksmiths changed. They had fewer horses to shoe and less equipment to repair. When Dr Kissling took these photographs, blacksmiths' skills were still in demand for ornamental iron work and some farriery and repair jobs. The country smithies (or smiddies) documented by Dr Kissling gradually closed down as they became unprofitable. However, the skills of blacksmiths to work iron and steel, and farriers to shoe horses are still valuable and the techniques illustrated in Dr Kissling's photographs are still in use. The information alongside these photographs has mostly been drawn from Dr Kissling's own notes. Other contributors have been acknowledged alongside specific photographs. These photographs and captions were put together by Kirsty Kernohan in June 2019 as part of an internship project with the Dr Kissling collections at Dumfries Museum. More of Dr Kissling's photographs can be seen in Werner Kissling: A Retrospective and an online exhibition about his life is available here.  This research was supported by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.      
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