Jacob Phillips, Owner of Six-Gen Forge, LLC, started smithing back in 2020. Inspired by the show, Forged in Fire, he has carried the family torch of the smithing tradition. Growing up he always heard his uncle Jeff, fifth generation, talk about smithing and thought it was interesting, but didn’t understand the history as he was so little. Not only is it awesome to keep the family tradition going, but what a unique and awesome hobby! Jacob not only practices different metal fabrication techniques, but enjoys making different knives. He said, “When first forging out a knife it looks like a useless piece of steel. As you mold and change the steel it is amazing the beauty that you can create!"
Jacob also turned to smithing as he saw so many testimonies with success for individuals with mental health. He thought giving smithing a shot may be a great outlet. Jacob said “Mental health is a real thing and can be tough to deal with. Until you have to face it head on, it’s hard to understand what an individual goes through. I am lucky I have the support system I have today otherwise I wouldn’t be here. If you are someone that struggles with mental health, I recommend giving smithing a shot!"
Delos Phillips lived from 1822 to 1901 where he was buried in De Pere, Wisconsin. Delos is the furthest generation we could track back to. He was found in the 1860 U.S. Census registered as a Blacksmith with $1,000 of real estate and $90 of personal assets.
Merrick Phillips lived from 1848-1914 and also lived in De Pere, Wisconsin. His land was located adjacent to Delos. Merrick tombstone is the coolest by far with an anvil and hammer on top. When doing research Merrick was also one of Jacob’s favorite to research due to the way he carried himself.
Julius Phillips lived from 1899 to 1967. He was known in our family for having his blacksmith shop in Medina, Wisconsin. He did mainly general blacksmithing and machinery repair. Julius did do some farrier work, but was well known in the region for his wagon’s tracking. Julius was very meticulous when it came to the tracking of his squaring of the wagon when building. To this day Jacob uses. Also, hanging in the shop is the sign that was hand painted.
Ralph Phillips, Jacob’s grandpa, started off at a very young age apprenticing under his father Julius. His main job was to keep the coal forge stoked and going. As he grew up he start learning different things like farrier work. Ralph enlisted with his brothers into the army and was stationed out of Germany. When he came back to the states he didn’t not pursue blacksmithing and joined the Union Sheet Metal trade. He also taught school for the union where he instructed welding. Once he retired from the trades he continued metal working out of his shop.
Jeffrey Phillips, Jacob’s uncle, is the fifth generation to keep the tradition alive. When Jeff lived down in Tennessee he had his own shop and made many different projects including fireplace sets, tables, and even tried his hand at a wagon. Jeff has enjoyed incorporating leaves into many of his projects. Jeff has helped provide a large portion of the history that has been collected that has been passed along to Six-Gen forge.