women boat

imrix  asked:

Back in your post about marriage ages, you said that blacksmithing was a woman-heavy line of work. Could you explain this, or even just provide a citation? I'm interested in learning more, because my understanding was that once iron came into use, the profession became heavily male-dominated, but thinking back, that's just something my mom speculated about.

I’m so glad you asked!  (I’m supposed to be working right now, but I won’t tell if you don’t!) Women did indeed work the forges!  Keep in mind I’m focusing on Western history as that’s what I know.  I couldn’t tell you what was happening in other part of the worlds because I don’t know enough and I don’t want to be That Kind of researcher.

Here’s part of the Holkham Bible Picture Book, an illuminated manuscript, showing a lady with a wimple going at some nails, one of the stables of the female blacksmith:

Here’s two more women working while their bearded friend works a very exciting looking bellows.

There were rules to this sort of craft, in the highly regulated world of London guilds, a woman was discouraged from becoming a master blacksmith unless she was married.  In fact, for most of Europe Master Craftswomen were expected to be married and only to take on female apprentices.  Read more about it below:

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