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Blacksmithing continues
August 1990

By Katie Hanigan

Making horse shoes in New Plymouth, the home of the world's largest horse shoe, seems a bit obsolete now, but Tuttle Blacksmith and Welding Shop is still in business after almost 100 years.

The blacksmith and welding business was in the Tuttle family from the time R.G. Tuttle bought the blacksmith shop in 1919. The business has gone through many changes since, adding new equipment, work and location. Tuttle's original shop was on Main Street, but it was moved to its present location on Maple Street in 1927, via skids on the snow-covered roads.

No one in the Tuttle family presently owns the shop, but Dave Clyde, owner since 1988, is carrying on the business as the Tuttles did.

Tuttle's shop began working with horses and wagons, but since the early 1970s, the shop has been developing welding and other areas of the blacksmith field.

As farming practices change, the blacksmith and welding shop must follow suit. Instead of horse shoes and wagon wheels, the business now builds trailers, fixes snow plows and does orchard mower work. THe shop also works with the farmers to build specialized equipment, the kind that big businesses can't make.

Clyde has four employees working with him, including Paul Funk, who has 29 years of experience at the Tuttle shop. Funk is retired, according to Clyde, but comes in to help out when the shop gets busy.

Clyde bought the business from R.G. Tuttle's son, Larry, after three years of working at the shop. According to Clyde, Larry was good at engineering special equipment.

"It's hard to live up to his reputation sometimes," said Clyde.

Blacksmithing machinery has changed little. Clyde still has all of the old equipment, like the forges, trip hammers and a bender. He has added a new welder and plasma cutter, and now can do all types of welding.

One goal Clyde would like to accomplish is doing more ornamental iron work for fences and other uses. He said the shop has the right equipment, but he hasn't had the chance to really concentrate on it because he has "so many interuptions."

Dave Clyde, owner, and Paul Funk, retired but on-call blacksmith consultant, bend some metal at Tuttle's Blacksmith and Welding Shop in New Plymouth.

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