Smithy (1974)

About the Film

People like Delbert Smith, the blacksmith (so named in the tradition of the smithy going back centuries) inherited their skills from fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers. He was 84 when I filmed him in 1970, making his birth date 1886. His forebears stretched back to before the Revolution.

His blacksmith forge and tools were in the barn behind his house, where they had been for at least three generations. As he notes in the film nobody got paid for their work until the dairy farmers got their money for milk. But in that interlocking world neighbors helped neighbors. There was nothing bucolic or sentimental about this; it was habit and tradition. Not until it's gone do we realize the massive nature of the loss.

Jack Ofield writes…”Regarding Smithy, our short documentary on Delbert Smith, Truxton, NY he made the adze used by Harvey Ward to scoop out his shovels. While filming Harvey I asked about his tools and he sent me down the road from Sidney to Truxton.

After I'd finished filming a session with Del, he invited me to lunch. We gathered eggs in his barn and Mrs. Smith made omelets. I washed up in their kitchen, using the pump on the sink, which I primed with an old tin dipper made by "an old guy in Cincinnatus N.Y. name of John Forshee" who also made pails and other tin ware.

The rest is history. I think you have "Smithy," so the above may be useful context."

Licensing

For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Jack Ofield, the distributor New Pacific Productions - Distribution Services , or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Jack Ofield
  • Produced by: Jack Ofield
  • Cinematographer: Raymond Chow
  • Sound: Amanda Pope
  • Other Credits: An excerpt from the PBS Television Special Inheritance
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • ©1974, Jack Ofield
  • 5 mins, Color
  • Categories:
    AgingArts & Crafts, TraditionalRural LifeWork