The Blacksmith Fountain (also known as “Hammer and Tongs”) is one of the oldest statues that can be found in Guelph. The fountain was donated to the City of Guelph in 1885 by J.B Armstrong, a local businessman, inventor, politician and owner of the Guelph Carriage Goods Company. The fountain was originally produced by J.L. Mott Iron Works and placed in St. George Square, downtown Guelph.
The Blacksmith Fountain was built to be a tribute to local industry, and to remind citizens about how industry is what drives society forward. The statue itself is cast in metal alloy. The water feature part of this statue comes from the mouth of the eight ram’s mouths that surround the base of the Blacksmith. The water falls down into a red-granite base with an inscription saying “
Presented by J.B. Armstrong 1885”.
Something peculiar about the Blacksmith fountain is that when visited in person, the Blacksmith is raised high on a pedestal. This positioning is interesting because although the Blacksmith represents the working class/blue collard citizens, he seems to demand respect for his craft by forcing the viewer to physically look up to him. On Twitter, the Blacksmith clearly represents this ‘working class’ citizen’s views through his active participation in sharing political opinions during this year’s (fall, 2015) election.
The Fountain has resided in multiple places around the downtown Guelph area. It first was placed in St. George Square in 1885. In 1922, the statue was moved to its current location at Priory Park to create room for the introduction of street cars in the city. Now, in Priory Park, it is said that the Blacksmith overlooks the location of where John Galt, the founder of Guelph, felled the first tree.