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Forging A Society: Metalworking Then and Now

Metalworking has been, by far, one of the most significant contributions to the development of the human race. Dating as far back as 4500 B.C., its development spans millennia, and its techniques come from a multitude of cultures.

Their possession, regarded as a sign of wealth, the earliest metals were hand-formed, using just hammers and heatAmount of forging stock placed in a batch-type furnace at one time.. They were simple: primitive hand tools and weapons.

Then came the Dark Ages. During this period, science, culture, and economic progress may have stalled, but the manufacturing of hand-forged weapons flourished. Living during time of constant battle yielded a high demand for such tools and would lead to leaps forward in innovation and metalworking techniques. Hand forming iron and steel continued to evolve over thousands of years.

Fast-forward to the 1800’s: bringing about what we now know as the “blacksmith”: the modern equivalent of open-die forgingThe process of working metal to a desired shape by impact or pressure in hammers, forging machines (upsetters), presses, rolls, and related forming equipment.. Much like the hammerA machine that applies a sharp blow to the work area through the fall of a ram onto an anvil. The ram can be driven by gravity or power. See also Gravity Hammer and Power-Driven Hammer. and anvil used by the blacksmith back then, even more modern processes yet began emerging with simple, open diesDies with flat surfaces that are used for preforming stock or producing hand forgings.. By the end of the century, as techniques and equipment evolved, the closed-die process was finally born.

Closed (or impression-die) forging moves hot material between two diesThe metal blocks into which forging impressions are machined and from which forgings are produced., forcing it to take the shape of the voids within. This allowed for the mass production of complex shapes and ended the need for major finish(1) The forging operation in which the part is forged into its final shape in the finish die. If only one finish operation is scheduled to be performed in the finish die, this operation will be identified simply as finish; first, second, or third finish designations are so termed when one or more finish operations are to be performed in the same finish die. (2) The surface condition of a forging after machining. (3) The material machined off the surface of a forging to produce the finish machine component.... More work.

Line shaft powered hammers became a thing of the past as both World Wars forced the industry to advance technologically. Forging equipment would see electric motors, hydraulics, and compressed air as their driving force and electric induction-heating units would replace heating with gas or coal.

Today, at Trenton Forging, we use these modern elements to produce a superior product in terms of strength, quality, and dimension control. They help our throughput and place product in the hands of our customers faster than ever before. We are the modern form of an antiquated blacksmith, ever-evolving to meet our customers’ needs and our own, but the cornerstones of our trade are forever forged in history.

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