Francis Whitaker

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Francis Whitaker (November 29, 1906 – October 23, 1999) was a blacksmith in Carmel, California, where he established The Forge in the Forest and in Aspen, CO, The Mountain Forge, which he later relocated when he was named an artist-in-residence at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, CO.[1]

He was born in Woburn, Massachusetts[2] and died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

His training as a smith included a one year apprenticeship under Philadelphia based blacksmith Samuel Yellin followed by a two year apprenticeship under Julius Schramm in Berlin, Germany in the mid 1920's. Upon his return to the states, he began working as a smith in a career that spanned eight decades. During World War ll, Whitaker was hired by the US Navy to teach welding at the Naval Base San Diego, USA.[3]

In addition to maintaining his shop, he wrote or co-wrote four books on blacksmithing.

In 1995, he received the Colorado Council on the Arts Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 1997, he received the National Heritage Fellowship in the Traditional Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.[4]


  • (1986) The Blacksmith's Cookbook: Recipes in Iron. Jim Fleming Publications. ISBN 0-939415-00-3
  • (1995) My Life as an Artist-Blacksmith. F. Whitaker. ISBN 0-9646389-0-8
  • (1997) Beautiful Iron: The Pursuit of Excellence by Francis Whitaker [5]
  • (2004) A Blacksmith's Craft: The Legacy of Francis Whitaker. Volume 1, by George F Dixon.[6]


  1. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships: Francis Whitaker". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  2. ^ Govenar, Alan (2001). "Francis Whitaker: Anglo-American Blacksmith and Ornamental Ironworker". Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary. vol. 2 (K-Z). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. pp. 669–671. ISBN 1576072401. OCLC 47644303.
  3. ^ Whitaker, Francis. (1995). My life as an artist blacksmith. Mansfield, Gary. [Colorado?]: F. Whitaker. ISBN 0964638908. OCLC 38935884.
  4. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 1997". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ Whitaker, Francis (1997). Beautiful iron: the pursuit of excellence. Colorado?: publisher not identified. OCLC 38935839.
  6. ^ Dixon, George F (2004). A blacksmith's craft: the legacy of Francis Whitaker. Volume 1 Volume 1. Huntingdon, Pa.: Blue Moon Press. ISBN 9780970766472. OCLC 57121328.

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