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Blacksmithing

  


  

From the ancient times, Azerbaijani land Karabakh’s iron-rich ore deposits were instrumental in the emergence of blacksmithing.
Bloomeries furnished with bellows based on primitive production techniques were chiefly in place in Karabakh.
Although it was economically inefficient, high-grade iron was produced through smelting and forging. Consequently, products made from locally smelted iron were very strong and stable.
In the 2nd half of the 19th century, purchased iron in Karabakh was mainly from Baku capitalists.
In the past, the shortage of steel was more observed in Karabakh. In particular, pure steel was saved more as it was obtained with difficulty. When cold weapons (daggers, poniard, sword) making was in vogue, the shortage of steel was striking.
Gunsmiths gave preference for a long time to steel from Damascus and Khorasan. At the same time, gunsmiths from Karabakh also used to produce pure steel by special methods.
Forges across Karabakh were mainly using mixture of iron and steel. They first heated iron and steel of different properties and soldered them together.
Like workshops of other crafts, blacksmiths’ were chiefly concentrated in the marketplaces or in caravansaries in Karabakh. As a rule, the blacksmiths functioned both as workshops and shops.

A considerable number of home things, in particular, cutting instruments (axes, hooks, choppers, scythes, shears, adzes, mincer, knives, pots and so on) were made of iron. For this purpose, welding method was mainly used. First, iron mixed with steel was cast to make cutting tools. Different from pure steel and iron for properties, the mixture of steel-iron was often called “welded iron”.
The most primitive and ancient way of producing iron alloy with steel in Karabagh was pure welding. While producing this, no supplementary means was used to harden the alloy and solder the joins.
As obvious, the Karabakh-based blacksmiths, relying on their centuries-old useful experience, managed to learn properties of metals through profound observation and succeeded in improving production technologies and thus making more perfect tools of labour.
Although welding occupied a key place in the Karabakhi blacksmithing, the making of iron tools, particularly, of cutting tools was connected with a myriad of technological processes.
Depending on the kind of commodity made, in the production process were used - dibchıxarma, kupachma, sulghuc-chıxarma, dishama, novsalma and other technological processes. Most of these operations were of specific nature and applied in the making of a certain group of tools.
In the past, blacksmiths from Karabakh both made new goods and repaired broken, damaged or blunt tools. The vocation of repairs had also shaped peculiar ways of production. Usually, goods of thick form (axes and so on) were repaired by hardening. Another way of repairing broken tools in the Karabakh school of blacksmithing was riveting. Riveting was mainly applied in the repairs of household tools.
Amongst the developed centers of manufacturing iron products, the village of Khojavand of Jabrayil province and the Agdam community of Shusha province distinguished themselves. As a whole, specialization on producing small commodities at town smithies across Azerbaijan started earlier. Thus for the number of smithies, Shusha occupied one of the leading places among the towns in Azerbaijan.



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