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By Jennifer Churchill (ed.)

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Was qu enching rapid cooling of iron by immersion in water. A most sig nificant breakthrough, attributed to th e Romans, was th e development of temp ering, an improvement on simple qu ench hardenin g. Steel could not be tempered until it had been hardened by heating it to a bright cherry-red color and th en rapidly cooling it in a liqu id. The bla cksmith forged a tool fr om th e st eel an d th en temp ered it by rehea ting it to th e correct temperature to bring it to th at degree of hardness and tou ghness required for th e specific tool; files, chisels, axes, saw bl ad es, and bit s for drill ing required differ ent heats.

The guilds, which from th e twelfth century became the organized associations of craftsmen, fost ered a tradition-bound system and did little to engender innovation either in the development of tools or in new meth ods of performing work. N ew types of tools were, of course, developed in th e centuries followin g th e R enaissanc e, but radical changes in hand tools we re not to take plac e until th e nineteenth century, wh en new materials, altered tool-manufacturing processes, and inventi ve mechanical changes were introduced.

Among th e impl ements locat ed with th ese earl iest kn own remain s were hamm erstones, hand axes and chopping tools, chis eledge d impl ements, scrapers, cleavers, and tools similar to burins and awls for making grooves and holes. These tools were mad e of lava, qu artz, quartzite, and fra gme nts of bone. Symm etrical, round stone balls also discovered at Olduvai Gorge were possibl y bola stones, stones attach ed to cords or th ongs made fr om animal skins, whi ch were hurled at anima ls to enta ngle th em.

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