By American Farriers Journal Staff
Steeleville, Ill., farrier and blacksmith Raymond L. Schnaare passed away Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, at Coulterville Care Center in Coulterville, Ill. He was 94.
Schnaare was a veteran of the United States Army during World War II. During the war, Schnaare witnessed the efficiency and mobility of the Army maintenance trucks. This experience influenced him greatly in devising his mobile farrier practice when he returned from war.
After starting his family, Schnaare worked in his father-in-law’s blacksmith shop in Campbell Hill. He worked at the mines shoeing mules that were used to move coal.
Schnaare earned his Illinois horseshoeing license two days before Christmas 1949. Becoming a registered horseshoer enabled him to shoe racehorses. He specialized in shoeing harness racers, trotters and pacers.
Schnaare gained notoriety in the horseshoeing industry during the 1950s when he became the personal farrier of W.R. Hayes, who owned the DuQuoin State Fair grounds. He also forged shoes on the side during weekends, selling them to fellow farriers. His product was so popular that he retired from everyday shoeing in 1961 and started Schnaare Horseshoe Works, manufacturing them full-time in Percy.
He built a factory and forged thousands of horseshoes, shipping them all over the country. At the company’ peak in 1978, it sold nearly 150,000 pairs of shoes. As sales dwindled in the mid ’80s, Schnaare decided to forge the remainder of his raw inventory and liquidate the company.
Schnaare Horseshoe Works closed its doors in 1991, having sold more than 1 million pairs of shoes over a 30-year period.