Tin Smiths in the 1800’s

The Tin Smith
The Tin Smith

What occupation would you have taken up if you would have lived in the 1800’s?  

If you had chosen to be a tinsmith, that would have been a smart move!  

That was an essential craftsman  in any community in the 1800’s and earlier, and a dependable trade.

Go over to the next page and see how the Tin Smith painstakingly made some of the utensils and things we take for granted today.


 Typical Tin Smith Shop

A young man would apprentice as a tinsmith for five to seven years, working under the tutoring of a professional tin smith. 

An aptitude for geometry was critical as pieces had to be calculated to fit properly. 

Occasionally a young woman would apprentice particularly if her father or close relative was a tinsmith. 

A tin smith made good money in his day and and enjoyed social standing making about three dollars a day, where a farmer would make about one dollar.

The tinsmith would purchase any tools and forms that had to be cast from the founder, metal tools he would buy from the blacksmith and the word forms necessary to shape the tin he would get from a carpenter.  

Tin was imported from England Interestingly, Britain means ‘land of tin.’ 

The tinsmith’s raw material was sold in sheets which he had to purchase with hard cash. This, in turn, meant that  he he was generally unable to barter for goods as his supplier expected to be paid in hard money.

Virtually all kitchen tools including bowls, pitchers, coffee pots graters, pans, utensils, graters, and so forth were made by the tinsmith.  Since these thing were a necessity then just as today, the artisan that could make them was an important part of the community. Tinsmith Collage Collage 2 tools of the trade Collage 3 The Process 001 Collage 3 The Process 002 Collage 3 The Process 003 

Thank you so much to all those at This Is The Place State Park in Utah, USA for their help and information, which made this post possible.  Click HERE for their site.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today


  1. As much American History classes, as I took in both high school and college, I never truly lean red or knew much about a tin smith or what exactly they did nor the process in making their goods, but you truly gave such a great and wonderful look into this today and can’t thank you enough for that, Carrie :)

  2. I love all the old tools and items in the pictures. It would be fun to have of few of those to play with. Thanks for sharing another bit of history with us.

  3. Carrie,

    I truly enjoyed reading about how they made useful products like kitchen utinsils in the 1800’s. We often visit Silver Dollar City Theme park in Branson, MO. It is a really neat park where they have 1800’s craftsman working to show you how things were made back them. I enjoy watching the tin and iron worker making things for the kitchen. It is just really interesting to me.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Diane Roark

  4. I was wondering at first if your post started in Nauvoo. We were just there and got to visit the tinsmith among other awesome shops. That’s cool This is the Place has one too. It looks much more interactive. My daughter was so impressed with the punched tin for lanterns!

    • I have never been to Nauvoo Kathryn, but the village at This Is The Place is so interactive and they let you talk to them, they answer all your questions, let you take their pictures, even interview them. I LOVE it there!

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