The Making of Horseshoes

compiled by Herb Buecher

photos by Wade Pearce

Published in the November 2000 Issue of Anvil Magazine

In 1993 Cooper Industries bought Diamond Tool from the Triangle Corporation. In 1994 the forge operation and manufacture of horseshoes was relocated to its forge facility in Monroe, North Carolina. There the Diamond product line joined the forge operations of Cooper brands such as Crescent, Wiss, H.K. Porter and Plumb. This facility is the largest forge, stamping and investment cast operation in the country. It employs several types of forging methods and the latest stamping processes, along with a state of the art investment casting operation. The plant consumes 20 million pounds of steel, producing over 30 million forgings and castings annually. The facility manufactures over four million horseshoes a year.

Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company was founded by Otto Swanstrom in 1908 and was known as the Diamond Calk Horseshoe Company. Otto, who was working as a blacksmith in the lumber camps, realized that the time-consuming tasks of shoe removal and sharpening of the calk could be improved. At that point Otto invented the removable calk. The company began with two employees manufacturing the patented calk for horseshoes. In 1912 Otto build his first plant and began to manufacture horseshoes. Over the years the Diamond product line expanded to include a full line of farrier tools as well as many other hand tools and hand tool products. (See ANVIL Magazine interview with CooperTool's Herb Buecher, August 1994.)

The horseshoe production process begins with the in-house manufacturing of the required tooling. The dies used in the manufacture of Diamond horseshoes are made on a state-of-the-art high-speed milling machine that will produce the same shoe every time a new die is required.

Steel is purchased from several certified steel vendors. The round bars are then cut to the proper length for each product.

Bars are heated to 2200 degrees and then pre-formed into a horseshoe shape before forging.

The pre-formed bar is now placed between the dies in the Erie air hammers. The forger controls the blow intensity with a foot pedal. The forging is cut off the bar and the process begins again.

The shoes are transferred by conveyor to the trim station and placed in fixtures to punch the nail holes into the crease.
The flashing is then trimmed from around the shoe, completing the process.
From start to finish of the forging process shoes are inspected for weight, shape and nail hole alignment.

The Diamond shoes are then transferred to our finishing cell where specially designed machines grind the backs to remove any burrs from the punching operation and then wire brushes are used to remove any remaining loose scale.

The shoes continue down the cell and are packed into quarter-keg boxes. Color- coded labels are added, identifying the style of shoe and the date of its manufacture.

The Diamond Horseshoes are transferred to the CooperTools distribution center in Apex, North Carolina, where they are available for worldwide shipment with other CooperTools family of products.

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