A metalsmith is a craftsman fashioning tools or works of art out of various metals.


The English word smith is cognate with the somewhat archaic word, "smite", which means "to hit" or "to strike". Originally, smiths were craftsmen who shaped or formed metal with hammer blows. However, the old etymological guess of "smite" as the source of "smith" is without foundation. The word smith derives from an old Teutonic word, smeithan, to forge. The root is seen in the Greek word σμίλη, a burin.[1]

As an English suffix, -smith connotes a meaning of specialized craftsmen — for example, wordsmith and tunesmith are nouns synonymous with writer or songwriter, respectively.


In pre-industrialized times, smiths held high or special social standing since they supplied the metal tools needed for farming (especially the plough) and warfare. This was especially true in some West African cultures.

Types of smiths

Types of smiths include:[2]

Artisans and craftpeople

The ancient traditional tool of the smith is a forge or smithy, which is a furnace designed to allow compressed air (through a bellows) to superheat the inside, allowing for efficient melting, soldering and annealing of metals. Today, this tool is still widely used by blacksmiths as it was traditionally.

The term, metalsmith, often refers to artisans and craftpersons who practice their craft in many different metals, including gold, copper and silver. Jewelers often refer to their craft as metalsmithing, and many universities offer degree programs in metalsmithing, jewelry, enameling and blacksmithing under the auspices of their fine arts programs.[4]


Machinists are metalsmiths who produce high-precision parts and tools. The most advanced of these tools, CNC machines, are computer controlled and largely automated.


External links


  • Video of a ring being forged by a metalsmith

es:Herrero fr:Forgeron lt:Kalvystė pl:Kowalstwo pt:Ferreiro fi:Taonta

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