Rotary Blowers Replacing Bellows

Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
3
Hello. I am brand new to civilwartalk and am looking forward to participating and learning. As a novice blacksmith's apprentice, I have a question that will help me along in preparing a presentation on changes in blacksmithing from 1860 through 1920. This was an interesting period as technology was catching up with a here-to-fore hands-on trade.

Some time ago, a reenactor told me that blacksmiths with Union (wagon) trains carried rotary blowers in lieu of bellows. I have been unable to confirm this statement and blacksmithing history articles are somewhat contradictory as to when blowers were introduced. Some references indicate introduction as early as 1854 while other--manufacturers' histories--seem to focus on the 1880s or 90s. I would appreciate any information that would help to verify or refute the reenactor's comment.
 

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redbob

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
6,672
Location
Hoover, Alabama
Welcome to the group from middle Alabama and we have several blacksmiths in the group that specialize in Civil War era blacksmithing. Also, try Starkville Civil War Arsenal www.starkvillecivilwararsenal.com and Civil War Blacksmithing by David Einhorn . Good luck on your search.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
698
Welcome from Michigan . I believe bellows were used on the battery forges or traveling forges .
 

dixie1861

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Joined
Feb 15, 2018
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985
Hi and welcome! Glad that you've joined us! Sorry to say that I can't help you out on the info, but someone will come along shortly that will help you out.
 

Seduzal

Brigadier General
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Jun 19, 2013
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5,626
Location
Canton, North Carolina
Welcome to CWT from the Smoky Mountain side of North Carolina. Just jump right in and enjoy.
Just wait a little while and someone will be along to answer your questions. We have a few members here on CWT at are Blacksmiths maybe they can help you.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,608
Location
Midwest
Bellows and blowers are not in detail equated, according to the blacksmiths in the historic village where I'm on staff. Their shop has both types, it being a dual forge. The bellows has the advantage of hands-off function -- you pump it up and it takes some minutes to complete its fall, air blowing consistently all the while, a time in which you can manipulate the piece for even heating if desired.

The blower seems better for functions of forge welding, where the piece needs to reach yellow-white temperature, harder to do via bellows which has less acceleration ability.

U.S. Artillery travelling "A" forge indeed uses an internal bellows - fully adequate for shaping horse shoes after all - but I don't know that a portable blower/pan forge wasn't also carried in the battery wagon.
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
3
Bellows and blowers are not in detail equated, according to the blacksmiths in the historic village where I'm on staff. Their shop has both types, it being a dual forge. The bellows has the advantage of hands-off function -- you pump it up and it takes some minutes to complete its fall, air blowing consistently all the while, a time in which you can manipulate the piece for even heating if desired.

The blower seems better for functions of forge welding, where the piece needs to reach yellow-white temperature, harder to do via bellows which has less acceleration ability.

U.S. Artillery travelling "A" forge indeed uses an internal bellows - fully adequate for shaping horse shoes after all - but I don't know that a portable blower/pan forge wasn't also carried in the battery wagon.
I have found no evidence that blowers were carried as part of the battery forge. My source referred only to their use with blacksmiths accompanying army trains.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,608
Location
Midwest
I have found no evidence that blowers were carried as part of the battery forge. My source referred only to their use with blacksmiths accompanying army trains.
The "A" forges themselves used only bellows; the enclosed box only big enough for tools. That a portable blower forge could easily be carried in the separate battery wagon, and how obviously useful that would have been has to remain speculation, although proving it never happened would be the harder row to hoe.

(btw blacksmiths of the battery qualify as blacksmiths accompanying army trains, so I'm not understanding the distinction).
 
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