I am super excited about this new book;
History of the Blacksmith in Photographs
Author Bryan Crawmer is a lifelong student of history; blacksmithing in particular. A blacksmith himself, he's been collecting old photographs of farriers and blacksmiths for many years. This brand new book is a compilation of a portion of his extensive collection, and all the images have detailed text with them, elaborating on the locations, the people, the tools, etc that are shown
The mid-1800's invention of the photograph provides us with invaluable resources to document the blacksmith's services, physical shop, and the tools used for forging. But the people in the pictures help us connect to the very essence of the blacksmith’s trade. There is a proud look on these faces, a look of hope, of self-reliance, of purpose that sadly, today, has been lost in a world of buzzwords like lean manufacturing, downsizing, or outsourcing. These images are a snapshot... one second in a lifetime of working over a hot fire... indelible proof of the existence of those who worked a hard day and enjoyed the satisfaction of a job well done.
Bryan tells me he has enough photos to make several more books; so I am envisioning these becoming a collectible series! Each is hand signed by the author and the price is right at only $14.99. Shown below is page 53, a photo postcard that documents hand forging anchor chain at the Lebanon Chain works in Lebanon Pennsylvania, circa 1905.
The Works were touted as manufacturing "the largest Chain in the World, 3-3/16 inches." The sender noted that the chain was like those used on the USS Pennsylvania - a "Pennsylvania" class super dreadnought destroyer. They also jokingly quipped that the chain would be too big to work with a pocket watch. Typically, a blacksmith and a team of strikers were needed to make these chains, forging one link at a time. The smith would control the process (heating, locating on the anvil, and directing the strikers) and the strikers provided the brute strength it took to form and weld these chains. It was said that these teams could assemble up to eight links per day.
Antique Blacksmith Images - you never know when you might need them! Here's a fun story about HoofPrints Blacksmith Calendar from the archives
A few years ago, I answered the phone and found someone on the other end...
wanting to know all about the blacksmith calendars. This wasn't the typical person that's interested in these - a farrier, or artist blacksmith, or person looking to order a unique gift for the same. This was a set designer.
She was in charge of recreating an authentic blacksmith shop of old - and needed historically accurate photographs of the shops, equipment/tools, and especially the clothing worn by the blacksmiths. Well, she came to the right place. I sat down with my inventory of blacksmith calendar back issues, paging through them to find the the ones with best exemplary photos of the things she was asking for. I popped them into a UPS Next Day Air envelope and they were in her hands the next day.
The result was a series of highly amusing tv commercials for Kraft Cheesy Skillets. They were, indeed, cheesy. The NY Times press release for the campaign is here. Many of the links therein don't work now, but you can see one of the commercials on youtube here. Above is a still from the video - I lightened it up so we could see the details, which for the most part, are fairly accurate. The anvil (on the left) appears to be a Peter Wright, we can see bellows in the opposite corner, though the red hot shoe in his hand is cringe-worthy. If you're up for even more cheesy-ness, the Kraft blacksmith makes a talk show appearance with his forge (stove) and a DONKEY! here
Produced yearly since 2001, HoofPrints Blacksmith Calendars are a remarkable collection of photos, postcards, cartoons, advertising memorabilia and more. Shown are some examples from back issues:
Check out the HOCKS on that horse in the top picture! I bet he doesn't get the luxury of corrective shoes and joint injections.

The second picture is a political cartoon - "Jar the kicker off the anvil and get an election cigar" (not sure what that means) but Satan pounding the anvil and that creepy demon in the background with his tally sheet make an interesting image.

Third is a candid shot of a working blacksmith shop - this is just a small portion of the whole image - which is packed with all sorts of interesting details. Sign behind the guy: IN GOD WE TRUST - OTHERS PAY CASH.

Back issue calendars (2003-2020) are just $1.99 each! This is a great deal for anyone crafty to frame these up, make collages, do scrapbooks, etc. All the cool stuff I was planning to do with them when I got time. I've finally decided to move on and let them go. You can get cheap black frames at the dollar store, frame these up and hang them as a group on the wall in your den or shop. Hang some worn-out tools up there, too!

Each calendar has a picture for every month, and some have bonus images, so there is plenty to work with for multiple projects if you're so inclined.
There are still some left! 2021 Blacksmith Calendar is 20th Anniversary
The very first edition was produced by blacksmith Gil Fahrenwald in 2001. That back issue has been sold out for years. So I've decided to commemorate it by repeating the same images for 2021.
January (and the cover) feature an amazing photo of an anvil shoot. Also known as anvil firing, this is the practice of firing an anvil in the air with gunpowder. source
Aside from the obvious dangers, I am most intrigued by the fact that the horses in this photo appear to be unperturbed, and everybody is standing surprisingly close to the action. There are plenty of modern videos on youtube of guys doing this, and they all run for the hills after the fuse is lit.
NEW and HALF PRICE! Ironwork: Dynamic Details - This book has an impressive variety (250+) of beautiful photos of every example of blacksmith work imaginable
And it's not just leaves and flowers like on the cover. There are amazing scrolls, folds, twists, textures, and weaves not normally associated with the hard material.

With heat, hammer, talent, and muscle, modern blacksmiths are forging exciting forms that permeate our surroundings. A casual viewer may overlook details of small elements used to create a magnificent whole, but this book shows how focusing on the iron details of flowers, leaves, and amazing critters makes ordinary fences, gates, and chandeliers extraordinary.

Functional joints become beautiful elements for furniture, fireplace accessories, candlestick holders, and other iron items we use daily.
NEW and HALF PRICE! The Legendary California Hackamore and Stock Horse - Coffee table book with text by famed trainer Bobby Ingersoll, photos by David Stoecklein
This is a fascinating book about the history of the California stock horse and the hackamore style of horse training. Ingersoll's depth of experience and knowledge, combined with Stoecklein's stunning images, result in a volume that will delight and educate readers. It is complete with practical horse training tips, intricate drawings and diagrams, and beautiful photographs.
NEW and HALF PRICE! Cowgirls in Heaven by David Stoecklein - Massive ardcover Coffee Table Book - 232 pages, profusely illustrated with color photos
David Stoecklein's coffee-table books are wildly popular, in this one he features the working cowgirls of the West in all their glory. Stoecklein's photographs capture the beauty of these women as well as their grit, whether they are roping, riding, or just relaxing. These cowgirls all have a true zest for life and it shows in these portraits. They work hard and they also know how to have a good time. Stoecklein has provided his readers with another glimpse into the rich lives of cowgirls across the West. With photos and a short bio of over 30 different contemporary cowgirls, the powerful presence and confidence of each woman shines through in the pages of this wonderful volume.
HALF PRICE - Hero Dogs: How a Pack of Rescues, Rejects, and Strays Became America's Greatest Disaster Search Partners
In 1995, Wilma Melville volunteered as a canine search-and-rescue (SAR) handler with her Black Labrador Murphy in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. At the time, there were only 15 FEMA certified SAR dogs in the US. Believing in the value of these remarkable animals to help save lives, Wilma knew many more were needed in the event of future disasters. She made a vow to help 168 dogs receive search-and-rescue training in her lifetime - one for every Oklahoma City victim.
Wilma singlehandedly established the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to meet this challenge. The first canine candidates - Ana, Dusty, and Harley - were a trio of golden retrievers with behavioral problems so severe they were considered irredeemable and unadoptable.

But with patience, discipline, and love these dogs proved to have the ability, agility, and stamina to graduate as SARs. Paired with a trio of firefighters, they were among the first responders searching the ruins of the World Trade Center following 9/11 - setting the standard for the more than 168 of the SDF’s search-and-rescue dogs that followed.

Beautiful and heart-wrenching, Hero Dogs is the story of one woman’s dream brought to fruition by dedicated volunteers and firefighters - and the bonds they forged with the incredible rescued-turned-rescuer dogs to create one of America’s most vital resources in disaster response.
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories, including the full story behind this lovely picture (that's available here) and more.
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I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com