About me – “Der Blecherne Alex” introduces himself
My origin, my history
My name is Alexander Schmidt and I am “der Blecherne Alex”. I’ve been using that company name for 20 years. This results from the fact that I started with forged animals, door signs, etc. from sheet metal.
The name is like me, unique and not fixable, because I have so many ideas, so that one life is probably not enough to realize them all.
I was born in Hesse and grew up in the small village of Pohl- Göns near Butzbach. It is a very nice village with great people and a great area in the middle of the Wetterau. I have great memories of my childhood, but my youth and growing up were rather mixed. There was a barracks in the neighboring village where American soldiers were stationed. Whenever there were maneuvers, they drove right around the corner from us with their vehicles and tanks, and that has left a great impression on me to this day. The whole house was shaking and once even a kitchen cabinet fell off the wall!
After the maneuver, I used to go with my buddies to look for what they left behind for us and we always found it. I was also in the Boy Scouts, the Grey Riders. That also had a big impact on me. But my character is such that even in the largest group or even among friends, I am often in my thoughts and very happy to be alone to myself.
When I got older I wanted to do something special after my apprenticeship as a plant mechanic and become a fitter, actually in Siberia. But then I landed in the beautiful Allgäu. In 1995 I moved alone to the Allgäu and took over a service station for milk collection trucks, was on the road a lot and got in contact exclusively with the rural population, that was a revelation for me because I was still quite superficial as I think.
One downside was that I also came into contact with the large food industry. And as a fitter you get a lot of insight. When I met Elke (my later wife) and we were expecting our first child, I wanted to settle down more and that’s what I did as an assembler for forklift trucks, which wasn’t so cool anymore, because I wasn’t on the road much, but I was home in the evenings. But again, I got into the food track in the form of the industry.
How it began then
In 2001 I saw a report on Bavarian television about a bearded blacksmith from Bohemia and I was hooked. This report flipped a switch and a trait of mine broke through – don’t blather but act and follow through. And that’s what I did, through my professional activity I knew where and what was standing or knew someone who knew.
I am a metalworker through and through and even during the holidays with my grandfather in the Rhineland I watched him forging, etc.. I came into contact with a great blacksmith and worked for him for a few years in addition to my main job, I always forged at home as a hobby.
In 2005 I went to a craft market for the first time with my door signs and animals and it was an absolute disaster – lots of praise but nothing sold in 3 days, a low blow! But as it is and that’s how I grew up, “get up, fix your hair and straighten up” in life I moved on and it got better the next time.
The long road with the side job “Passion
It went on like that for many years. Besides my main job, making unique pieces, going to markets, etc., that was very exhausting! With time I sold more and more knife at markets and so I focused more on it and it went better and better and as it is then and the financial pressure on the basis of good business decreases the nature changes. You then also radiate it and business goes better. With everything I made, I was always very careful about what I used and where I sourced it from. That’s probably my biggest strength – I know how to get special materials and I’m good with most people, so I’m very proud of the materials I’ve collected over the years. (By the way – I also buy your materials!)
But one thing has never left me. I deal a lot with nature-loving people and everything I produce is related to credibility and authenticity. Does this go along with my main job, I do have a safety net under me, with my main job. AND THE ANSWER WAS, NO!!!
The shackles were blown
That was several years ago and time went by and I became more and more dissatisfied. Business was good, but I had to grind my way to the main job from month to month. The machinations of industry and the future with all its changes, more and more digitalization and automation was no longer my world. When I sat in meetings on these issues, I often had to clench my fists in my pockets and could have screamed. Finally I was ready and quit with full joy, but also humility, because my employer was always very fair to me, I really have to say.
Now I was able to fully engage in my heart’s desire and can proudly claim to have completely worked for it myself, because nothing was given to me as a gift. All those years of hard work have paid off.
My blacksmithing courses are well attended and run in a very intimate, private setting and Elke and I are authentic about what we do.
Everything what is in my shop was made by me exclusively by hand and with honorable materials in the compound.
And now, a matter of the heart:
I specialize in the use of historic steels from long ago eras and the two world wars and for a solid reason:
Against the oblivion, the horror that once sprang from it…
Since my earliest youth I have been occupied with the history of the two world wars, I have visited many places and interviewed contemporary witnesses, I am still firmly rooted in this process. And especially in this day and age, that’s more important than ever. What I do I do very seriously and I want to distance myself clearly from people who now get the idea that I am a glorifier of these times.
Quite the opposite:
I am for creation, diversity and tolerance towards humans, animals and nature!!!!
I would like to separate myself clearly from the eternally yesterday with all their symbolism and confused numbers, I AM NOT ONE OF THEM, I reject these confused ideologies quite strictly! I’m addressing the serious audience who approaches historical steels in a serious way. There is a chance that great conversations will ensue when you explain your knife or piece of jewelry to your acquaintances. My hope is that this will make our history a little less lost. Because if one has listened well to the old contemporary witnesses the following sentence falls again and again:
IF YOU FORGET WHAT HAPPENED THEN IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN!!!
I agree 100%, true to the great man Benjamin Ferencz who says “ALWAYS SAY YOUR TRUTH”!!!! He is the proof that you don’t have to be big and strong to do GREAT!!!!
The biggest pillar of my efforts is sourcing materials, everything I use comes from the immediate area when possible. If that is not possible, then I know the origin and that without exceptions. Red deer antlers all come from the Allgäu, also my skins are from the Allgäu and Tyrol. Wood comes from the Allgäu and from Liguria. Ice Age materials originated in Germany. I personally reject the use of exotic materials!
I look forward to getting in touch with you guys!
DER BLECHERNE ALEX
Now it’s official! The “Blecherne Alex” is now registered as a trademark!
My name and logo is now officially registered as a trademark at the German Patent and Trademark Office. This not only protects my name, I show once again that I am distinctive and unique!