Smithing is one of the oldest crafts, that has evolved from the second to fourth centuries, when the inhabitants of the Lithuanian territory used quite a lot of iron work tools – knives, axes, scythes, sickles and many other iron items. Some of them were used in the community’s at home, while others in manufacture. Lithuanian smiths were making similar things also in the following years, using different forging techniques and technologies. When towns started to emerge, the number of craftsmen, and also blacksmiths among them, grew.
The town’s blacksmiths had to become more specialized, as the needs of townsmen and merchants were growing and becoming more diversified. Due to this, the specialty and craftsmanship of the blacksmith art was improving. In the 15th to 16th century, metal workers of different specialties in Lithuanian towns, following the artisans of the Western and Central European countries, began to come together to establish guilds. Rapid growth of industry in the end of the 19th century became too competitive to workshops of crafts.
While smithery developed rapidly in the cities, specialised and grew artistically, rural smiths were not so successful. In villages, iron was used sparingly and only where it could not be replaced with other material. By the beginning of the 20th century various monuments and crosses on the graves, in different shapes, became highly widespread throughout Lithuania.* These extremely artistic, geometrically proportional and creatively crafted crosses are still fascinating, and are included in the UNESCO Heritage List of Lithuania.
After the restoration of independence, Lithuanian smithy has experienced a certain time of rebirth. You may not find a city or a town where the work of contemporary masters is not exhibited next to the forged items of ancient times. Owners of private houses, hotels and establishments appreciate the authentic Lithuanian smith works. Lithuanian smiths have taken over the secrets of their craft from grandparents and grandfathers, and pass on this knowledge to young and talented grandchildren.