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Black Country Living Museum

Lench’s Oliver Shop

Originally built around 1910 by the 'odd worker' Onan Lowe, the Oliver Shop was subsequently taken over in the 1930s by TW Lench of Blackheath, the major nut and bolt manufacturer, to respond to requests for ‘specials’ from customers.

Here the oliversmiths worked at the ten hearths to forge a variety of small wrought iron items known in the Black Country as ‘oddwork’such as pipe clamps, wall hooks and special bolts.

An underground pipe system fed a blast of air to the ten hearths each with an oliver hammer and a treadle operated forging hammer fitted with a pair of shaped tools which enabled the oliversmith to make a wide variety of fittings.

If none of the tools were suitable for making the order the smith would hand craft a new pair.

Demand for oddwork declined after World War II but three oliversmiths were still working at Lench’s until 1979.

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