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    Ancient tools and techniques

    Ancient Tools of Italian Goldsmiths


    The Goldsmith "Old" Workplace



    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tools key




    Tanged files

    1


    They derive the name from the end of the attack called the tang that penetrates into the wooden handle, but are also called handles or manicured files. Depending on the section they can be flat, almond-shaped with the two convex sides, round half with a flat face and the other convex, mouse-tailed or conical. Among those exposed, two flat files probably have adapted handles, to one of which was wound the wire in place of the regulatory comma; five have turned handles, with various splits; finally the mouse-tail file has a pear grip. In jewellery the file is used in the metal processing by composing two movements: one of translation and one of rotation.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Tanged files


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - The tongs

    The tongs

    2


    They are also called pincers, tweezers or tongs and have various shapes suitable for different uses to which goldsmiths allocate them. Those with jaws suitable for cutting are also called clippers. The most normal may have flat, flat, round, acute, long, short, hooked, curved, inclined beak with grooves; but often the goldsmith changed his tools to make them more suitable for specific jobs.



    Shears

    3


    Tools formed by two crossed blades permanently connected by a pin, ending with stems folded up to meet. They are used to cut small-sized slabs. Aldred emphasizes that for the ancient craftsman the lack of a cutting tool like the modern and useful shears, had to be a considerable disadvantage, which forced him to use hammer and chisel in bronze or copper first and then iron.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Shears


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Gas blades

    Gas blades

    4


    These tools are also called simple bunsen type because they use the gas + air mixture to make the flame more effective; in fact, they have a horizontal tube to be connected to the gas distribution network and the perpendicular barrel with holes for the air intake. The beak stands in particular on the embedding bench and is used by these to soften the putty that fixes the object to be set on the spindles.



    Cantilever hammers

    5


    Two examples of hammers used by the goldsmith to emboss and chisel the metal plate. The broad head is used to beat on the embossing and chisel irons; the round shaped tail can be used to embed directly onto the metal plate. The handles show an oval enlargement that facilitates grip, while the grooves prevent the tool from slipping into the sweaty hand.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Cantilever hammers


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Bowls for embossing and chiselling

    Bowls for embossing
    and chiselling

    6


    These tools are also called simple bunsen type because they use the gas + air mixture to make the flame more effective; in fact, they have a horizontal tube to be connected to the gas distribution network and the perpendicular barrel with holes for the air intake. The beak stands in particular on the embedding bench and is used by these to soften the putty that fixes the object to be set on the spindles.



    Display of irons

    7


    Zinc plate that the goldsmith built himself and placed on the bench to protect the wood during the weldings. The front part in fact follows the recessed pattern of the bench and in the center a tongue, cut and folded, penetrating between the bench and the stocco, ensures its stability, the other three sides have raised edges, obtained by doubling the welded edge twice at the corners. These barriers were used in particular to hold back the irons that the goldsmith chose for a specific job and that he wanted to be able to grasp quickly without having to choose or extract them from the bottom drawer.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Display of irons


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Ring spindles

    Ring spindles

    8


    These tools are also called simple bunsen type because they use the gas + air mixture to make the flame more effective; in fact, they have a horizontal tube to be connected to the gas distribution network and the perpendicular barrel with holes for the air intake. The beak stands in particular on the embedding bench and is used by these to soften the putty that fixes the object to be set on the spindles.



    Wooden wedge "Stocco"

    9


    The examples shown are stocchi used by setters as both bear the marks left by the tips of the burins that the goldsmith planted in the wood to clean them from the oil collected on the stone. In one of the examples an inclined hole was dug in which the ring spindle penetrates with the right inclination and the mastic stops it allowing the setter to work with both hands.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Wooden wedge


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Team and protractor

    Team and protractor

    10


    Tools for measuring angles. The team, with 90° opening, rests on a bar that forms the pedestal. The goniometer has the division from 0 to 90 and from 90 to 0 on the arc of 180°, on which the hand of the mobile rod marks the exact measurement of the angle.



    Compass

    11


    These tools are formed by two movable arms terminated with a point generally held by a spring ring and pierced by an advent with a nut that locks them in the desired position.An ancient and common use tool, compasses are indispensable in the goldsmith activity to trace circles or measure the distance between two points and bring it back between object and object, or drawing and object.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Compass


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Hand drill

    Hand drill

    12


    The hand drill, also called ball, sail or "drilles", consists of a vertical iron axis, at the lower end of which is inserted a tip or a drill fixed to the spindle; higher up is a metal wheel - in ancient times it was the ball - which serves to give stability and pressure during use. Along the axis there is a generally wooden handle which, moved alternately upwards and downwards, after having wound for some laps the cord that connects it to the end of the drill, determines the movement of the same around its own axis. The tool, among the most common is essential to the goldsmith who uses it in many operations: to drill, with a needle point, a spear, a propeller, for reaming, for milling with a hollow or spherical cutter.



    Goldsmith's box

    13


    Simple box made of poor material that the goldsmith gave to different uses; for example, the collection of small tools and small items, as evidenced by the divisions inside and the boxes without lid. Characteristics are those with the possibility of closing by padlock where at the end of the day the goldsmith put the work not yet finished.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Goldsmith's box


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Torches

    Torches

    14


    Large torches to melt the metals composed of three tubes: the main one carries the gas, the median one, connected to a bellows, is used for the insufflation of air that mixes with the flame, the third with smaller section serves to keep a flame, called "spy", available.



    Stump with anvil

    15


    An upper trunk-conic anvil squares with four well-fixed feet in the stock. The trunk, deprived of the bark and without finishing, has deep splits and some woodworm; in order to soften the hammer blows and to avoid the percussion, three washers and three rubber overhangs are nailed on the lower face. The large hammer, of considerable weight and elegant line, has a square head with rounded corners and a pen with rounded curves. On anvil of this type the goldsmith fights for gold to make it harder and more resistant, and to make it thinner, exploiting the property of the malleability of this metal.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Stump with anvil


    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Wigs

    Wigs

    16


    The name derives from the skein of thin wires of soft iron on which the object to be welded rests; the tangle of the wires allows the heat of the flame to circulate and better heat each point of the metal, facilitating the success of the welding process.



    Goldsmith's bench

    17


    Bench with shaped and profiled front part with rounded wooden edge for stopping tools. Under the spear there is the drawer for tools with internal division; the large drawer below is lined with a zinc plate with internal corners without edges to facilitate the recovery of the gold that fell during processing. The stool is made of wood with a square seat and four legs connected by strips in order to offer greater stability.

    Ancient Italian Goldsmiths tool - Goldsmith's bench