1867 Year Two

April 14

Kavanagh & Smith have made it through their first year. I am sure Joe & George were quite thrilled to make it past that first anniversary. For them, it was work, day to day. Still, when you own a business these markers are out there. You take note, feel some pride, but then you just go about your job and do what’s necessary. They got through their first winter. Imagine winter without heat or electricity. It was a hard life. It was normal at the time and thus, perhaps, more manageable. That all being said. Coppersmithing is a good job in the winter. You spend a lot of time with a torch nearby if not in your hand. One of the unexpected benefits of working with heat and fire. You’re actually colder at home than when in the Shop. They make plans to purchase a horse and cart to move their wares about the city. The company is so new, but there are plans already to grow and expand.

August 12

As great as coppersmithing is in the winter, it’s equally horrible in the summer. Once again, you are holding or near a heat source all day. 90 degrees can feel like 190 degrees when holding a torch in your hand. The summer days are days of oppressive heat and relentless work. As a smith, it’s a hard, physical job, but it’s also one of precision and detail. Every hammer impact is done with some care as a miss-hit could require 3- 5 hits to repair it. So, you have to be cautious. You have to be sure, but you also have to be fast. You can’t take your time as if there is no limit on time. You offer to make something at a price. You have to stick to that price. It’s a balancing act of quality and time management. You have to make a good product, but the smith who doesn’t concern himself with the time involved is a smith who won’t be smithing for long. Fortunately, Joe had George to help with sales and the business end of it. I’m sure George got his hands dirty too, occasionally. Some jobs do need an extra set of hands. Joe was an extremely skilled coppersmith. One thing the Kavanagh generations agree on is his level of skill. The ability to wield a hammer with strength and precision are the most desirable traits in a smith. Joe excelled at both. The heat of an August day, the flame of his torch combine for a laborious summer day. Yet, a day that will be repeated again and again. It’s the job and complaining doesn’t help.




Andrew Johnson is still the President of the United States. He dodges several bullets from Congress then is formally impeached by the end of the year. He’s cleared by one vote in the Senate. Reconstruction goes on. There are 27 states in the Union with the creation of Nebraska on March 1.

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