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Children can learn about blacksmithing

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Provided photo)
Jeff Hammes and Lucio Bortolin are featured blacksmiths at the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center, 921 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb. Bortolin will present special programming on Oct. 13 and Oct. 27, as part of DeKalb Public Library’s Big Read event.

Blacksmithing activities for children will be held at DeKalb’s Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center as part of the annual Big Read celebration, with free admission Sundays, Oct. 13 and 27, sponsored by DeKalb Public Library.

DKPL is once again part of the nationwide program called The Big Read held in October. This year’s book is “True Grit.”

On Oct. 13, from noon to 4 p.m., children can try their skill at blacksmithing at the Glidden Homestead, using clay and a wooden mallet on a wooden anvil. There will be games and activities: horseshoes, drop the clothespin in the bottle and mini-golf. At 1 p.m., Lucio Bortolin will give a 15-minute presentation titled, “What is a Blacksmith?”

Oct. 27 will feature The Blacksmith Trade from noon to 4 p.m., with a presentation from 1 to 1:45 p.m. by Bortolin titled, “The Blacksmith Trade Yesterday and Today.”

On both dates, there will be demonstrations in the Phineas Vaughan Blacksmith Shop, as well as tours of the Homestead.

Bortolin is serving his first term on the Glidden Homestead Board of Directors and is a charter member of the Glidden Homestead Blacksmith Club. A talented metalworker, he designed the Homestead’s scrolled, iron sign frame and led the team that crafted it. Bortonlin is owner of f2 Industries Inc. in Sycamore, a manufacturer of architectural and ornamental metal works as well as metal restorations. He has lived in the U.S. since 1991 and in Sycamore since 2000 after having lived in Italy, Argentina and Brazil. Besides his active participation in the Homestead’s Blacksmith Club, he is a member of the Sycamore Library Photo Club.

The program is among others that will be held throughout the year to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Glidden’s birth.

The Homestead, 921 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, is the site where Joseph Glidden invented and manufactured “The Winner” barbed wire, for which he received a patent on Nov. 24, 1874. The house and barn built in the 1860s still stand on their original site. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

For more information, call 815-756-7904 or visit 

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