Open furnace for heating metal ore and metal for working and forming, or a workshop containing forge hearths and related equipment. From earliest times, smiths (see smithing) heated iron in forges and formed it by hammering on an anvil. A bellows operated by an assistant or by a foot treadle provided the forced draft for raising the temperature of the fire. Later, a waterwheel or animal power was often used to operate the bellows; modern forges have mechanically powered bellows or rotary blowers.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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