Fortunate circumstances led Al Stephens to an introduction to the art of blacksmithing while on a visit to a historic site in Illinois. He became a volunteer at the park’s blacksmith shop and demonstrated the skills, techniques and lifestyle of a 19th century blacksmith in a shop equipped with a bellows, coal forge, anvil and vise. Through this experience, Al deepened his interest in the craft.
In 2000, Al and his wife Sylvia became entrepreneurs, starting Pequea Valley Forge and producing a line of contemporary cooking utensils, candleholders, and home accessories. Al’s background of working in different environments – in the trades, in a historic setting with minimal tools and in a modern shop creating historical reproductions – have allowed him to be successful in crafting unique hand-forged items.