Iron working in peasant civilization
A collection that exhibits the processing and use of iron in the local peasant civilization to testify its history and culture, through the observation of work tools.
A little bit of history
At the birth of agriculture (Mesolithic) man was already able to use different stone tools, then he began to use metals (copper in 6000 BC) and iron (2000 BC) to make more resistant and effective tools. Out of passion for the history of his territory, Leonardo Rudasso has dealt with the finding and restoration of the iron tools that are now on display, aiming to stop their deterioration while preserving their genuine and original appearance; some pieces have belonged to our family for several generations and formed the basis and the starting point for the collection.
This has been growing over time thanks to Leonardo’s continuous research and attention in identifying objects congruent with the collection, now traced in the local barns, now donated by their owners. A farmer has the advantage of knowing and practicing some activities of the carpenter, the blacksmith, the grinder, the farrier and more recently the mechanic, to repair and keep his tools in full working order. It was completely normal, in the extended families of the past, to find peasants who, when necessary, practiced artisanal skills, with less than professional equipment, but suitable for limited use.
In the culture of Costa Bacelega and almost all of Liguria, olive growing is not specialized: each humble family independently carries out every phase of cultivation and uses almost exclusively the resources it owns; the family members, who work personally in all stages of production, own farms, buildings, vehicles and tools which therefore necessarily have a small scale.
The oldest pieces date back to the Early Middle Ages, up to 1959. The discourse that binds them is metallurgy, from mineral rock and forging to the finished piece, following the technological evolution of processing. In a few meters a millennium of history is described: it starts from the forge, then comes to semi-finished and finished products, such as cutting and common agricultural use tools.
- Witness the history of local communities;
- Know the hand techniques of metal working;
- Review the tools maintenance gestures;
- Observe work tools;
- Spread the peasant culture which saw the dawn of civilization and formed the historical, economic and cultural basis of today’s society;
- Remember and pass on.
In the countryside
Some tools, for example cutting tools such as sickle, machete, shears and billhook lose their edge due to repeated contact with vegetable stems or small branches and accidental impact with stones, consequently sharpening the blades is a part of the work of the farmer directly in the field and several times a day with the hand whetstone (very fine-grained stone). A grinding wheel, which consists of a rotating abrasive stone usually lubricated and cooled with water, is suitable for remaining in the warehouse and is used to sharpen heavier tools. Sometimes a thin tool can break and a farmer can bring the parts together using the forge, anvil and hammer.