Crafts and Trades

Crafts and trades were very important during Colonial times.

There were specific trades that the people would have, and they would oftentimes start at a very young age, even the age of 6 to learn the trade or craft that their father did.


There were many people in Colonial times that had a specific trade.  Some of them were apothecaries, blacksmiths, candlemakers, cabinetmakers, shoemakers, gunsmiths, copper makers, millers, printers, tailors, wheel writes, wigmakers, and more.


An apothecary was someone that made medicine from plants, herbs, and other things and sold them in the stores.


The blacksmiths were very important, and they helped to fix things such as horseshoes.  They used different tools, such as axes and hammers.


Candlemakers were also called chandler’s, and they were important because there was no electricity.  Candles allowed them to be able to see, and candlemakers would make these candles and sell them.


Cabinetmakers would make their own furniture, and this was a special trade that many people in Colonial America had.  They were important and were able to sell quality furniture and make a lot of money.


The shoemaker would make shoes and repair them.  This was important because many men that worked in the farms needed boots to wear.  They would go to the shoemaker and get boots made.


A gunsmith was important because he would help to fix guns and even make new guns.  It was easier for a gunsmith to fix guns, but when he would make guns, most of the time, he would sell them in England.

Copper Maker

A copper maker was a person that would make containers out of copper.  These would be used to hold things like gunpowder, tobacco, wine, and more.

The copper maker would make these containers so that they would be durable, and water couldn’t get in them.


People during colonial times were very smart.  Many of the people were craftsmen, artists, and tradesmen.  These people would make their own things, and many people depended on the craftsman to help make things that were needed.

In places such as Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, having a blacksmith, weaver, cooper, carpenter, farmer, or a crafter was very important, and if you lost your tradesmen or your crafter, then you would be out of luck with getting things that you need.

Here is a list of crafts that the Colonial American’s made:

  • Accipitrary-this is a person that tames hawks and other birds.
  • Antigropelos-a person who makes leggings that are waterproof.
  • Barm Brewer-this is a person who makes yeast.
  • Bibliotheca-this person is a librarian.
  • Birds Nest Seller-this is a person that collects bird’s nests that even have eggs in them and then sells the nest with the eggs. Some of the eggs are hatched, and the birds are kept as pets.
  • Caddy Butcher-this person butcher’s horses to sell the meat.
  • Brabener-a brabener is a weaver.
  • Cartographer-this person makes maps
  • Caulker-this is a person that uses caulking to make seams so that water does not get in the crack.
  • Farrier-a blacksmith
  • Friseur-this person is a hairdresser
  • Jakes-Farmer-the person who empties the cesspools
  • Leech-A doctor
  • Sawbone-A doctor
  • Nimgimmer-a surgeon or an apothecary
  • Peterman-the person who fishes
  • Pigman-sells crockery
  • Pricker-hunts witches
  • Ratoner-a person who catches rats
  • Scavelman-the person who clears the ditches
  • Wainwright-the person who repairs wagons that are broken
  • Wheelwrite-repairs wheels for vehicles

Crafting was an art, and during the Colonial times, you had to be good at the trade that you had so that you could get hired to do work.

All of the crafters worked together to make sure that there was shelter, furniture, food, water, medical care, and more.  If you had to have logs cut for walls or if you needed a roof repaired, you would have to hire someone that had that as a trade-in order to get the work done.

Facts About Colonial America Crafts and Trades:

  • If a person was moving, a craftsman or tradesman would come and burn the house down so that they could reuse the nails and any iron that was used on the house.
  • Iron was an important thing for craftsmen, and they would not waste much of it.
  • Iron was very strong and was important for most of the craftsmen jobs and tradesmen jobs.
  • The craftsman and tradesmen had to be finished with their jobs by winter.
  • If someone wanted to light a lamp, it had to be made by a tinsmith or a bright smith.
  • Women made candles in the fall and were considered craftsmen when they did.
  • If you wanted a barrel to store food, you would hire a copper.
  • Women would also be known as millers because they became experts in sewing clothes and using a spinner.
  • A cobbler would make shoes.

What Did You Learn?

What are a craftsman and a tradesman?
A craftsman and a tradesman is a person that learned how to do a certain skill and would do this skill to help others for money.

When would a tradesman start learning their skill?
Most tradesmen would learn their skills from as young as even six years old.

Were women considered craftsmen?
Women could be a craftsman, and many of them made clothing and candles that they would sell.

Would someone have to hire a certain tradesman or craftsman for certain jobs?
If you had certain things done, you had to hire someone with that craft or trade.

What was the metal that was very important for many craftsmen or tradesmen?
Iron was important for most trades and crafts.