Water smithy – performing holes
The sound of manual punching of holes in hot steel. The recording was realized in the historical water smithy in Gdańsk (Oliwa district) constituting the department of the Museum of Technology in Warsaw.
The holes are performed with the use of blacksmith hole punch – a steel bar narrowing towards its end and embedded in a wooden handle. The blacksmith places a hot piece of steel on the anvil and puts the end of the hole punch on it. Then, the second blacksmith hits the head of the tool with a hammer. In this way, a hole is punched in the processed material.
The water smithy in Oliwa was in operation from at least 1597 to 1945. Not every type of steel was suitable for processing with the use of water power, that is why manual forging was also performed in the smithy. The facility is equipped with two stoves in which the hearths are located very low, as the processed pieces of steel weighed even up to 250-300 kg. Due to their weight, they were picked up with blacksmith tongs and transported to the forging post by 4 – 6 blacksmiths. Depending on the dimensions, the process of heating a piece of steel in the stove could last from several minutes to a dozen hours.
It is estimated that tools for manual forging used in the water smithy in Oliwa were manufactured in the late 19th or early 20th century.
Sound recordist: Monika Widzicka
Photographer: Piotr Leszczyński