Itinerant Blacksmiths


I don’t have much information about the image above but I like what it is depicting.  Mom working the bellows while Dad heats up something he’s working on while the kids all look on.  Like most travelers in Europe, these (probably Roma) don’t have fancy wagons or accommodations; just carts and some rough tents.

We fear what we don’t understand.  Even though people like this have been ostracized and persecuted for centuries, they filled a vital role in society catering to the poorer elements as blacksmiths, tinsmiths, cobblers, basket-makers and more.

The Simplest Accommodation

Camp CartFrom the Oregon State University Archives:

Camp Cart, Showing Bed
Image Description from historic lecture booklet: “Carpenter in his geographical reader thus describes this kind of wagon:

‘What is that squealing outside the market? It sounds like a pig in the hands of a butcher. They surely cannot kill hogs here in the midst of the city. It is only the creaking of a farm cart which is bringing wheat to the market. There it comes through the door. it has wheels eight feet in height, with hubs as big around as your waist, and an axle as thick as a telegraph pole.

 The cart has an arched cover of reeds over its bed. The kinds which have been sewed to the top are put there to keep the rain off the wheat. Such farm carts take the place of wagons throughout Argentina. they look very rude, but each cart will hold several tons–so much , indeed, that teams of twelve oxen are often hitched to one car.'”

Original Collection: Visual Instruction Department Lantern Slides

Item Number: P217:set 012 039