Jun 11, 2018
This week I’ve got Bob Bergman from Blanchardville
Wisconsin. He bought an old blacksmith shop 50 years ago in
Postville, Wisconsin. He talks about his beginnings and
traveling through Europe working and learning at 15 different shops
over 2 months. He tells us the history behind the Postville
Blacksmith shop which started in 1856.
What We Talked About
- Bob started working in an advertising agency after college and
immediately knew that business suit and desk were not for him!
- He then accepted a production assistant job for a feature film,
it was 1968, the spring Martin Luther King was murdered. NYC was
becoming electrified, amped up, so Bob decided to move out of state
and look for land in Wisconsin.
- After purchasing 4 acres and a house, his realtor took him by
an old but still operating blacksmith shop that was for sale. He
met the 80-year-old blacksmith, who was the second owner of the
business, and decided to purchase the business from him for $500
(the building, the tools, the land)! The first owner opened the
shop in 1856.
- Bob learned his basic blacksmith skills from a local country
blacksmith, Thomas Kammerude, who lived up the road from Bob’s
newly purchased shop.
- In 1976, Bob attended one of the first ABANA blacksmith
conferences in Carbondale, Illinois. He met Francis Whitaker at
this conference and he wanted to learn more from him, so Francis
told him he had to take a class first at the John C Campbell folk
school. Bob signed up long with Clay Spencer, Ray Nager,
Glenn Gilmore, Jim Batson and more. They would all continue
to take master classes from Francis for the next few years.
- Bob continued to travel through the US and apprentice with
working blacksmiths during his slow winters. In 1985 he also
traveled through Europe, doing a journeyman type program over 2
months, working in 12 to 15 different shops in different
- In the late 1990’s he expanded the shop by adding 4000 sq ft
building and a 3000 sq ft machine shop to complete bigger
- After 50 years in business, Bob is ready for retirement and
looking for a buyer for the business, shop, tools and land. If you
are interested in more details, you can contact Bob here, (608)
527-2494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- One “Golden Client” hired Bob to do a large amount of
architectural work at his private home in Ridgeway CO, most of that
work has been documented in the book called “Heritage in
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