Blacksmithing was one of the most important occupations since earliest times, because iron was a very valuable raw material. In earlier times it was not deep mined, but only acquired from surface mines. Not a piece was allowed to go to waste - people even kept used nails. There was a blacksmith in practically every castle vicinity or village, who forged almost everything that was needed for agriculture (knives, axes, sickles, ploughs, hoes etc.) Other blacksmiths specialized in making swords, helmets, lances, harness fittings, locks and jewellery.
The forge was most often a shed with a wall. [Its] essential equipment consisted of large bellows, an anvil, tongs, hammers, punches, files etc. In a well-equipped forge, the smith could develop heat of up to 1400 °C.