Peter Happny Blacksmith

In 1971 while studying at the University of New Hampshire I was enrolled in a course on Early American Architecture.  I got a few questions on the final exam that was related to early Portsmouth architecture incorrect.  Convinced my Professor was wrong, I decided to come to Portsmouth myself to see the Wentworth Gardner House.  After seeing the house and realizing my Professor was indeed correct, I decided maybe I could find a job and learn a few more things.  Thus, I stopped into Strawberry Bank to inquire about a job.  Turns out I ended up running the blacksmith shop there for the next seven years.  Over thirty years later, I was installing a railing in front of the Wentworth Gardner House. I drilled multiple holes into granite for two days with equipment that seemed to have been around as long as when I had first visited Portsmouth.  While sweating in the summer heat and drilling too many holes, I had an epiphany.  If I had not ever visited the Wentworth Gardner House I would not have had to drill so many holes.  Moreover, I would not have pursued a career in blacksmithing.  At this point I have been in the blacksmithing business for thirty-eight years and counting.  I find one of the advantages of being self-taught is that it takes less time to figure out how I solved the problems the last time I produced a similar piece.

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