Iron-worker vs blacksmith

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panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hello. I am just wondering if there is any difference between "iron-worker" and "blacksmith". My own guess is that "iron-worker" is a more modern usage whereas "blacksmith" is reserved for the olden days.

Context:

1. When I grow up, I want to be an iron-worker.

2. Jennifer is doing research on the role of blacksmiths in Medieval Europe.

Thanks.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Exactly.

    The word blacksmith immediately conjures up a stereotypical image of a muscular man in a leather jerkin, raising a hammer to bring it down on a red-hot horseshoe on an anvil in a forge.

    The word ironworker comes across as much more modern.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Did you remember to consult a dictionary first, panzerfaust0? An iron worker is a construction worker who works with iron and steel. A blacksmith works at a forge and crafts items such as horseshoes, nails, and other iron tools and implements. They are two different trades.

    [Cross-posted]
     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    Thanks to both.

    Florentia:

    Yes, I did look them up online, and one definition says blacksmiths forge stuff, but I am not sure what "forge" as a verb means, either. I mean, don't iron-workers forge stuff too?
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Not really. They primarily assemble and repair iron and steel construction elements. You may not be able to access the Wikipedia entry for “ironworker,” but here is how it notes the difference:

    “They are distinct from the term blacksmith, which is someone who works with, shapes, and tempers raw iron.”
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it’s fair to say that ironworker is a sort of generic term, whereas blacksmith is a very specific one. So all blacksmiths are ironworkers, but very few ironworkers are blacksmiths.
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Exactly.

    The word blacksmith immediately conjures up a stereotypical image of a muscular man in a leather jerkin, raising a hammer to bring it down on a red-hot horseshoe on an anvil in a forge.

    The word ironworker comes across as much more modern.
    I think that modern blacksmiths would be more likely to prefer to call themselves by the traditional name: blacksmith, and take pride in it as a traditional craft and in themselves for practising it in the 21st century. Certainly the blacksmith who has just made me a fine iron bird-feeder (6ft high and embedded in a huge limestone rock) sees himself in this way.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    These people are iron workers in a U.S. context. They do the construction of the metal elements of buildings, and are most famous for their work on skyscrapers. They do welding (connecting pieces of metal) but don't do forging (making things from raw metal).

    0831_KCRB_SA_02_WEB.jpg

    unnamed.png
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    This photo take at the RCA building in the 1932 is perhaps the most iconic of all images of ironworkers. As they are constructing the structure of the building, they are distinct from blacksmiths. The workers are sitting atop a beam that they had recently installed.

     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Please note the AE/BE difference here.

    The above descriptions of "ironworker" are no doubt correct for the U.S. but other terms are used for that job role in the UK.

    The British equivalent, I believe, is "steel erector".

    "Steel erectors work in the construction and engineering sectors. They install and fix together prefabricated steel girders, pipework and beam sections that make up the framework of buildings and other structures." Source: Job Guide - Steel Erector

    ~~~~~~~~

    @panzerfaust0:

    --- a "steelworker" works in a steelworks (which is a factory that makes steel). Steelworks are typically very large and employ hundreds or thousands of steelworkers.

    --- a "blacksmith" heats up certain types of iron and steel and bends the metal into certain shapes (eg horseshoes) and sometimes toughens/hardens the metal. Blacksmiths usually work alone or in very small groups, rather than factories.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Please note the AE/BE difference here.

    The above descriptions of "ironworker" are no doubt correct for the U.S. but other terms are used for that job role in the UK.

    The British equivalent, I believe, is "steel erector".

    "Steel erectors work in the construction and engineering sectors. They install and fix together prefabricated steel girders, pipework and beam sections that make up the framework of buildings and other structures." Source: Job Guide - Steel Erector

    ~~~~~~~~

    @panzerfaust0:

    --- a "steelworker" works in a steelworks (which is a factory that makes steel). Steelworks are typically very large and employ hundreds or thousands of steelworkers.

    --- a "blacksmith" heats up certain types of iron and steel and bends the metal into certain shapes (eg horseshoes) and sometimes toughens/hardens the metal. Blacksmiths usually work alone or in very small groups, rather than factories.
    While we are at it, we do not have "steel works" in the USA. We have "steel mills".
     
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