Did medieval blacksmiths know much about science and chemistry or did they just use the old knowledge handed down ?
- cosmoLv 71 month ago
Knowing about chemistry, the compositions of various alloys and the crystalline structures of austinitic and martinsidic steel is really not a big help in making good stuff as a blacksmith. Much more important is artisanal technique based on experience.
- D50Lv 61 month ago
For instance, the knowledge of the chemical elements was lacking, but they managed to combine iron and carbon pretty well to make steel.
- The_Doc_ManLv 71 month ago
But what do you think science IS? Just old knowledge handed down and improved upon.
- TomLv 71 month ago
Knowledge handed down--AND EXPERIENCE.
Also note that the products made by the old Smiths were "Smooth" and well formed. The "not quite straight", black,"Hammer marked" items we associate with Blacksmith - made products would NEVER have passed muster in the middle ages--only "Orks" and "apprentices" did such crude work. (Even though we like it for decoration) Smiths had special hammers and surfaces to straighten and smooth out the things they made.
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- PaulLv 71 month ago
Compared to 100 years earlier, they knew a lot more. Compared to today, they knew a lot less.
- busterwasmycatLv 71 month ago
they lacked formal training in science, but that does not mean that they did not experiment and try new things, and learn from the results. They did not have anything close to a modern idea of chemistry (did not understand energy and bonds, and atom size effects on crystal structure or anything such as that), but they could see when a change to method or formula had an effect on the resultant product, and did learn from it.
As to the basic skills, those (just as today) were learned from forebears, from predecessor experts who handed knowledge along.
- CRRLv 71 month ago
Their skill varied from making horseshoes to magnificent and highly functional suits of armour. The best of them might not have understood the science of metallurgy but they knew how to get results.
- MorningfoxLv 71 month ago
Tradition was *very* strong, because they were too poor to experiment. If your batch of shovels breaks and you can't sell them, then you starve. So they were careful to use the old knowledge. The idea of trying different things to see what works and what doesn't, would have seems very strange and dangerous to them.
A few of them might have made some small experiments, like making the fire a bit more or less hot, or adding a bit of tin or copper to something they were making. But mostly these were (1) rare, and (2) just random trials, often by accident.
- billrussell42Lv 71 month ago
little or no knowledge of chemistry then, so they just used what their parents or instructors told them.