20 November 2016

The Botuș Smithery

In the year 2004, the „Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum has acquired a blacksmith’s construction from the area of Câmpulung Moldovenesc, village of Botuș, commune of Fundu Moldovei, Suceava County. The area is host to vast forest lands, a place with ancient mining tradition, the two factors – the necessity for lumber jacking and the wood processing imperative, on the one side, and the existence of raw material for tools, on the other hand, have enabled the opening of smithery shops.

The smithy, Mr. Ciumău Nicolae, was granted a notice of approval from the local administration in 1957, has bought a construction initially used for housing which featured a vestibule, to drop the middle wall and turn it into a blacksmith workshop.

In the village architectonic ensemble, the blacksmith workshop is a simple rectangular construction, oriented with the narrow side towards the main road, built on a short river rock foundation, with straight notched hand-hewn beams and girders, and a gable roof with 80 to 100 cm long shingles arranged on two rows.

The ethnographic value of the blacksmith shop is supplemented considering the variety of tools and furniture pieces, built by Ciumău Nicolae himself, which make up a complete inventory.

The fireplace and smoke collecting chimney are set on the right side of the entrance, followed by a horse skin pair of bellows, also the bellow support. The front side wall is host to a nailed hanging board featuring all types of pliers, next to it, the chair used for wedges of different size, also hammers, a table for the vise, also a tool table set on the left wall. The drilling mechanism for hinges and circles for carriage wheels etc, is attached to the doorjamb on the left, the tool crate is fixated on the wall beams next to it.  On the middle side, a firm oak wood support holds the anvil, next to it, the axe sharpening whetstone, the bard, accompanied by various tools used for wood processing, as well as agricultural tools. Years ago, the blacksmith used to hold a yoke for shoeing horses and oxes, clue to this is the inventory inside the workshop.

Vernacular terminology for objects in the blacksmith workshop include terms such as „holştoc”, „şpiţamăr”, „bomfaier”, „haucling” etc., terms which indicate that the practice of blacksmithing was predominantly carried out in the Bucovina region by German people aided in their shops by Romanian apprentices.

The smithy used to build drills, cant hooks, timber sledges, horseshoes for horses and oxes, bells, window grates, carriage metal work, keys, door handles, locks, chains, anvils for sharpening the scythe, different types of hammer, reaps, plows, plow parts, spades, see-saw blades, metal animal combs, big knives, different types of halberds, hoes, braces and clamps.

Luckily, the owner has resisted the temptation to sell the tools piece by piece (to cover necessities in the household), the people that requested such objects were numerous, testament to this stands the large collection of genuine period pieces found in a workman’s shed in the rural area of the XXth century.