vulcan’s forge: a weapon is born


Metallurgy appears in Europe in the Bronze Age. In all ancient societies, the art of shaping metal was associated with godly or magical powers to transform natural resources into tools and weapons. At the end of the Middle Ages, the craft evolved into a highly technical profession, alimented by science and dictated by the new needs of warfare.

From the mountains and the forest, and through the fire and water, you can visualise here the processes of turning raw material into an ingot, then into a blade, and finally assembling it with its counterparts (pommel, handle and guard). Skills and secrets are hidden within the tools, the workspaces and the objects, which you can see in the workshop at the time of the proto-industrial production of tempered steel weaponry. Listen to the hammer striking the ingot on the anvil. See the repeated movements on the workbench while the finished blade is polished with watered stones. See the colour of the heated blade changing while being shaped by hammer strikes, or the smoke coming out of the container where the reheated blade is plunged into oil for the tempering. Smell the fire fed by large bellows and the steel dust. Feel the heat of the furnace and the power of the river powering the mechanical hammer.