History of forging dates back to 4500 B.C. Metals such as wrought iron and bronze were forged by man to produce weapons of wars and hand tools. Forging of iron and crucible steel continued until the end of the 19th century.
It progressed until the Dark Ages. It was the time when most scientific, cultural and industrial advancements stopped. Before Dark Ages, possession of metal was considered as a sign of good wealth. People in Rome even had gods dedicated to the forge.
During the Dark Ages, weapon production was progressing fast. European industries and culture was set back because of constant wars. At the same time, iron industry remained intact due to large demands and need of weapons.
Forgings During 19th Century
In the 19th century, people involved in forging work were skilled at open die and hand forging of wrought iron. At that time, the smiths became very skillful particularly in hammer welding. Large shaft forgings that weighted 10 tonnes or more were built up by the process of hammer welding and forging. In 1856, the invention of the Bessemer steel making process was a major breakthrough for the forging industry. At this time, forgers had a plenty of lost cost steel supply for the production of large quantities of forgings. In the USA, the very first cavity steel forging using a closed-die process started in 1862. In the 19th century, steam engine was invented and showed us ways of modern forging.
Today, forging is used in worldwide industry and has significantly contributed to development of modern machinery and equipment.