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B627 Collection of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools and equipment in wall-mounted display case, wood / glass / metal, made by Frederick Ivory, Erskineville, New South Wales, Australia, before 1934. Click to enlarge.

Display case of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools

Made in Erskineville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, pre 1934.
This is a display of miniature horse shoes and a blacksmith's forge and tools made before 1938 by F. Ivory of the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. As horses were the chief form of transport and source of work throughout the 1800s and early 1900s blacksmiths were located in virtually every city, town and village throughout the country. In the blacksmith's shop horses were shod, carts and drays mended, plough shares and pieces of equipment repaired and various other items welded and riveted. In 1918 the horse population in Australia reached its peak with one horse for every two people.

Until ready-made horse shoes became available, blacksmiths made them from bar steel. It was said that a skilled blacksmith could make four horse shoes in 15 minutes. Shoes varied in form and weight according to the horse, its work and the road travelled. Horse shoes and horse shoe nails came in different sizes, from size 1 to size 14, to fit different feet as shown in this display. Thoroughbred horses had small, rounded feet and low heels, while heavy horses had large flatter feet. Sometimes special shoes were made for corrective wear, like orthotics for humans, while others give a better grip. A shoe for a carriage horse might have weighed 500 grams while one for a draught horse as much as 2 kilograms. They had to be shaped precisely to avoid straining tendons.

The blacksmith removed the old shoe, and trimmed and filed the hoof, then heated up a new shoe in the furnace until it was red hot and soft. It was hammered into shape then placed onto the hoof hot to burn a mark and act as a guide for reshaping the shoe. (This smelt like burning hair but did not hurt the horse). The shoe was repeatedly reheated and reshaped until it fitted properly, then nailed onto the hoof, trimmed and filed with a rasp. Fitting horse shoes was highly skilled work. Horse shoe nails inserted too close to the outside of the hoof could split it, while nails too near the sensitive part could hurt or incur lameness.

Cars and trucks began to appear around 1910 and by about 1925 many country blacksmiths had diversified into operating service stations to cater for the influx of automobiles while their blacksmith's shops turned into welding shops.

Further Reading

'Country Australia', Reader's Digest Services Pty Ltd, Waterloo, NSW, 1989

Dell, Catherine, 'Superbook': Horses, Kingfisher Books, Grisewood & Dempsey Ltd, London, 1985.

Clutton-Brock, Juliet, 'Horse Collins Eyewitness Guides: Horse', HarperCollins, 1992.

Clutton-Brock, Juliet (ed), 'The Visual Dictionary of the Horse: Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries', Readers Digest, Surry Hills, NSW, 1994.

Margaret Simpson, Curator
July 2015

Summary

Object No.

B627

Object Statement

Collection of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools and equipment in wall-mounted display case, wood / glass / metal, made by Frederick Ivory, Erskineville, New South Wales, Australia, before 1934

Physical Description

Collection of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools and equipment in wall-mounted display case, wood / glass / metal, made by Frederick Ivory, Erskineville, New South Wales, Australia, before 1934

Wooden framed showcase, with gloss black finish and clear glass cover. Mounted inside the case are 49 model horse shoes of differing types, made of nickel. These are arranged in rows, nailed to the backing board. At the lower centre is a cluster of 16 miniature wood and metal blacksmithing tools and 3 miniature horseshoe brooches. A row of smaller tools is mounted at lower right. Fixed along the inside lower edge of the case is a model forge with leather bellows, 2 anvils and a metal vice mounted on a wooden block.

Marks

Old MAAS showcase number at upper left corner.

Dimensions

Height

700 mm

Width

520 mm

Depth

115 mm

Production

Notes

Made by Frederick Ivory from the Sydney suburb of Erskineville before 1934.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of F. Ivory, 1934

Acquisition Date

9 August 1934

Cite this Object

Harvard

Display case of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 9 July 2020, <https://ma.as/214354>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/214354 |title=Display case of miniature horse shoes and blacksmithing tools |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=9 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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