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Historical Blacksmithing in Texas

Wayne Meadows

by Richard Boswell

Wayne Meadows Before HABA there was TABA : Texas Artist Blacksmiths Association, which was created during the period that ABANA was birthed. This group represented Texas because the smiths were few and wide spread at that time, and was an early ABANA Chapter which many still recall. TABA is no longer operating but the State of Texas now has 4 active ABANA Affiliates : Balcones Forge, East Texas Blacksmiths Alliance, North Texas Blacksmiths Association, and our Houston Area Blacksmiths Association.

Andy Quitner from Corpus Christi was TABA'S first President. The second President of TABA was "Uncle Wayne" Meadows of Houston who helped in the original organization. This summary is taken from several meetings with him this year and he is now a HABA Member. Many of HABA's older members will recall this gentlemen who can still be found holding camp and telling stories at our meetings. He has had some tough and sad times recently concerning the illness and passing of his wife in 2003. He exhausted himself in her care which brought upon him a diabetic condition, followed by a triple by pass surgery which still is healing and this limits his travels.

Many people know Wayne from the blacksmith shop he ran in Old Town Spring for 20 years which he recently had to close. He built the shop in 1984 prior to his retirement from Brown & Root in 1985. His carreer started with WM Kelly Plow Company in early '49 after almost completing his degree in Mechanical Engieering from U of Houston. At Kelly he became a welding expert mastering the art of cast iron repair. In 1956 he went to work for a consulting company specializing in pipe lay barge fabrication, and later as a pipe welding expert for Brown & Root. At B&R he was in demand for his troubleshooting skills amd traveled a lot.

In 1985 he became full time blacksmith and was a feature shop of Old Town Spring north of Houston. There he made and sold trivets, racks for pottery, bbq tools, candle sticks, pot racks, and branding irons. He is proud that Willie Nelson has one of his irons that says "IRS".

Wayne has also contributed to many historic restorations in Texas, including the repairs to Mission Espiritu Santo in Goliad. In 1995 he did the carriage and boat hardware for the restored cannon recovered from the La Salle ship in Corpus, which has toured nationwide.

Another of the projects he is fond of is the cabin in Dripping Springs which he "ironed out" using old wagon wheels for the hardware.

He was featured in a December 1994 article in Texas Highways Magazine titled "Texas Blacksmiths Forging Ahead", written by Candice Leslie.

When you sit and talk with Wayne, be prepared for vast technical experience delivered in an East Texas country flavor. He would love to hear from you and his phone is 713-462-1586. Just the other day he encouraged us to publish a membership directory so he could pass on refferrals for work requests he still gets.

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Last updates were on April 25, 2004

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