330 year old Swedish water-driven hammer-forge comes to life.

300 year old Swedish forge

We at TTAK have made no secret of our fondness for Swedish steel. The long history of nordic bladesmithing, coupled with the budget-friendliness of the offerings from the likes of Mora and Hultafors even manage to find their way into collections and toolboxes of people who would normally cringe at wielding a tool that wasn’t “Made in the USA”.

The Halfa forge first began operations along the Halfa Stream in 1682. The 700kg iron hammer that you see in the above video dates to the 1830’s. While production ceases in 1924, the forge has received various honors and historical markers over the years, and the fires have been rekindled on several occasions as a demonstration.

From the forge’s website:

The factory was granted its privileges in 1683 with the authorisation to produce 45 tons malleable iron yearly. The privileges were granted on the grounds that charcoal produced from own forests was used and that the requirements for pigiron were covered by the factory owner’s tenants.Gamla Hammarsmedjan i Häfla (Fotograf: Jan Erik Petterson)

The beginning of the 18th century large reconstruction’s of the forge as well as of the waterpower plants were made in order to increase the production…

“In 1742 the privileges for production were increased to 90 tons malleable iron. Nora and Linde mining districts were to supply the pig iron.

When the forge was built the iron was refined according to the “German forging method”. At the beginning of the 19th century a long period of experiments for new methods started and in 1882 Lancashire furnace were installed for producing blooms until the forge shut down in 1924.

In 1827 “Skjerforsa mill and sawmill” situated 5 km downstream from Häfla Övre Bruk was purchased. A factory for manufactured iron was erected. This was used for manufacturing nails, fine bar iron, horseshoes, fools and the like.

In 1846 the Häfla works received unrestricted manufacturing rights. During the years 1861 – 1900 the works ran a rolling-mill at the Middle works, where Häfla mill now is situated.”

You can see more images here.  I am constantly amazed with pre-industrial technology and the innovations and sheer power of some of what our fore-bearers created.


  1. sagebrushracer says:

    awesome, great vid and write up. As for these primitive machines, our ancestors did the best they knew how with what they had available. It never fails to impress me either.

  2. Spencer says:

    Swedish steel is very good stuff; two of my knives are made of it and both take and hold nice edges.

  3. bastiches says:

    Would not want to have to train on that machine.

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330 year old Swedish water-driven hammer-forge comes to life.

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