Ecomuseum: E. The Mallet
A mallet is a huge water-powered hammer which was used to beat and flatten iron (the iron used here was mainly mined in the village of Comasine located in Val di Peio).
Today you can still see the “prède” or the granite supports inserted deep into the ground on which the large mallets swung. In this forge there were three mallets. The ovens were located closeby and they were used to heat the metal, the forges, the anvils, the grindstones and any other tools associated with metalwork. The large number of mallets which can be seen prove that this was an important local industry at the time, mainly due to the fact that the site was located along the only road which linked Val Rendena to Val di Sole, in addition to the abundance of timber and water.
THE STORY OF THE THREE MALLETS
This is an ancient story that grandparents told their grandchildren during the nineteenth century.
The first huge mallet had the job of shaping and moulding the biggest pieces of iron. Its blows were heavy and slow. Its sound was deep and somber. Its rhythm seemed to say “DEBITON...DEBITON…DEBITON…" (huge debts). Then there was a smaller mallet in front of it, whose blows were faster and more metallic and it seemed to reply “pagheren!… pagheren!… pagheren” (we'll pay them!). To the side, the smallest mallet of all, whose blows were quick and squeaky, and it seemed to say “Con che?! Con Che?! Con che?! (With what?!). This story was probably told for two reasons, firstly to get all the children to fall asleep, and also to make them understand how hard the work was and how little the people earned.
THE MECHANISMS WHICH REGULATED THE MALLETS
The wheel is powered by the kinetic action of the water. It rotates by means of an axle connected to it. The axle then transmits energy to the handle across the blades (these are made of iron and inserted radially). The blades then action the handle by means of the rotating movement hitting against a small blade (this is found on the upper side of the handle). The handle pivots and moves up and down vertically. At the end of the handle is the hammer which in its turn moves in a vertical direction and shapes the metal.
PIANO DI SVILUPPO RURALE - ASSE 4 LEADER
Iniziativa realizzata con il cofinanziamento del F.E.A.S.R.
(Fondo Europero Agricolo per lo Sviluppo Rurale)
e con Fondi Statali e Provinciali