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John Richards, Blacksmith
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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John Richards was a blacksmith in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, long after blacksmiths were "supposed" to be gone. In rural communities, blacksmithing skills, which involve the shaping of iron and metal, were still useful long after manufactured items could have replaced them. A smith often worked as a farrier, or someone who custom-makes and fits horseshoes. And until manufactured goods became much cheaper, many farmers preferred to purchase blacksmith-made items such as door straps, hinges, and gate handles. The number of blacksmiths, already small by the end of World War II, became vanishingly tiny in the years after.
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