This is a special subject and I am not an expert on this.
In all early western towns and villages the blacksmith was usually one of the first to open a shop. This was necessary to shoe the horses, sharpen the plows and repair the wagons. Most smiths made their own tools, and could repair everything from wagons to crutches. After the civil war it was the smiths who made the artificial legs for all those veterans who had their leg shot off. The smiths would make every thing we see in the hardware store today, this not only required his knowledge as to how big to make something but how hard to make the metal (called tempering). I do not know how, but I can remember the smith heating some item he had made, some times he would just let cool by itself; other times stick it in water or oil, other times stick it in sand. All this gave the metal different hardness.
In Lane I will list some of the smiths I have in my files.
1881 I. A. Medor
There are others, and most farmers could shoe a horse.
On a hot summer day with nothing to do I would go by the blacksmith shop to see what was going on. The smith would have a team of very large horses fitting them for shoes. The smith would show no fear of these big horses and would almost crawl under the horses, lift its foot and place it between his legs to work on. I can remember horses trying to bite the smith or do some kicking. One time the smith (Frank Hale) had the rear foot up between his legs and the horse kicked and sailed the smith across the shop, it did not faze him -- right back to the horse and he started over again.
I can remember a farmer bringing a horse to the smith with a festered shoulder. The smith heated an iron cherry red and proceeded to touch or sear the festered shoulder, it smelled awful and I turned my head and left. It must have worked for in a few months the farmer was using the horse again.
I can remember one time a man brought in a fine riding horse which had a crack in its hoof -- after Mr. Frank Hale looked it over, he told the man, tie the horse in one spot for three months, keep the ground wet -- muddy this will help the crack and it will grow fast and then bring him in and we can cut the crack out. I will always think of that horse standing on one spot for three months.
One time in abt. 1935 the river was out of its banks and my cousin needed a gig (spear) to spear fish, Mr. Harris said he could make one, which he did, it took him about a day and charged my cousin 25 cents.