The Nation's Blue-Collar Artists

Just as Goth stonecutters who chiseled ornate facades for Europe's grand Gothic cathedrals were master craftsmen of the Middle Ages, tool-and diemakers are premier artisans of the industrial era. Instead of granite or limestone, their medium hard metal. They create the tools that can cut metal into precise patterns and the dies to mold it into complex shapes.

The tradition of tool-and diemaking is as old as the industrial age. Many of the earliest practitioners were blacksmiths who turned their forging talents to toolmaking. In the 18th century, craftsmen gathered in the manufacturing hubs of England, France, Germany and Sweden...

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