Although rapiers ruled the day and transitional smallswords would emerge a century later, this image of Hanns Osterle, a Nuremberg bladesmith at work in 1569, offers a priceless glimpse into history. Osterle sits in front of his anvil and strikes his hammer on a red-hot blade which he holds with pliers. More blades are in the hearth in the background, on the ground, and on the table. Several blades have tangs and fullers formed.
Perhaps Hanns Osterle’s workshop sounded something like this:
Anonymous, 1569. Tempera on parchment, 298 x 207. Courtesy Die Landauerschen Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftung. Band 1. Nürnberg 1511-1706. Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, 279.2° Folio 48 verso (Landauer I).