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Colonial Artisans

  • Date Submitted: 07/20/2011 11:10 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.7 
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Colonies were filled with crafts persons who spent much of their life perfecting their skill and were proud of the ability to create fine work.

A. Please describe briefly each of the following crafts.


Tailor: Most of the tailors were men. Every customer was important to a tailor, no matter what social or economic status a person has. Most tailors didn’t sell fabric, so people had to buy fabric from a merchant in town and brought it to the tailor.

Blacksmith: Blacksmiths in Williamsburg made agricultural tools for farmers and iron rims for wheelwrights. They made things for household use like andirons, locks, pothooks, and utensils. They could also repair iron things.

Weaver: There were very few weavers in 18th century Williamsburg. Cloth mostly came from England, China, and India. They used natural colors that were safe enough to drink to dye fabrics.

Printer/Binder: William Parks started Virginia’s first newspaper. His shop served as post office, advertising agency, and a bookbindery. Books were harder to produce because they have more pages.

Brick maker: Most of the brick makers in Virginia were slaves and unskilled free laborers. Bricks are made from native Virginia clay being shaped in a wooden mold. Then, they are stacked in the oven to get burned for about six days. The brick makers got very little sleep because they had to stay awake during the burn period to keep the fires burning.

Carpenter/Joiner: The carpenters and joiners were the most useful tradesmen when everything was built from wood. Carpenters laid floors, framed walls, raised rafters, carved moldings, hung doors, and nailed weatherboard. The joiner’s job is joining the pieces of wood together and might also work on door and window frames. Also, slaves that the builders owned accomplished a lot of work.

Cooper: Coopering requires skill, intelligence, and strength. Many coopers...


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