Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Russell, Robert

Committee Member

Ford, Frances

Committee Member

Ward, James L.

Committee Member

Wilson, Ashley

Abstract

A recent discovery of Christopher Werner's account book has inspired and informed this investigation into the life and business of this nineteenth-century ironworker. This book was hidden for many years, preserved by a child's scrapbook clippings. A restoration of this book through the removal of later additions was done, and significant information pertaining to Werner's situation in the nineteenth century was revealed. This provided not only new knowledge on the blacksmith, but also context and perspective for additional research completed.
Comprehensive studies of Charleston craftsmen are scarce. While the products of their skills are appreciated throughout the city, a general knowledge of their individual contributions is lacking. Christopher Werner was one of the city's most well known blacksmiths, working at a time of great prosperity and creating an abundance of ironwork, yet many people today, including some historians, do not know his name. Much of his work remains despite the wars, natural disasters and neglect that have threatened these pieces throughout history. This thesis has uncovered details of his life and business, while systematically identifying Christopher Werner's works. Some items have been thoroughly documented based on primary and secondary sources, and others have been identified through comparative analysis. While this has not been an exhaustive study, it addresses the need for academic research on the topic of the city's craftsmen. This is one part of the larger story, and it is hoped that this will mark the beginning of a better understanding of the Charleston ironwork tradition.

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