Surry County man keeps master tinsmith’s work alive

SURRY COUNTY, N.C. -- He was a master tinsmith.

“I learned from my father and my grandfather,” Peter Blum told us back in 1999. “This is what made this country great.”

Blum passed away in February but before he did, he made sure his tin shop wouldn’t become silent.

"I apprenticed for the knowledge. That was my agreement with Pete,” said Michael Kollars.  “No pay, just come here and help him and he would teach me the trade."

Kollars wrote everything down. Years of lessons from the master in his tin shop that is like a museum.

“These are all Pete's patterns,” said Kollars, as he pointed to a wall of over a hundred patterns. “I feel like I've a got a responsibility to take care of it all and I'm trying to do the best I can without him.”

Using the old patterns and old tools it seems like Blum is still here.

“This really keeps him alive in my mind,” he said. “I really miss that man and this is an important part.”

Blum certainly left his mark and now Kollars plans to do the same.

“I hope to continue til I can't no more and hope I can train someone else who wants to carry it on,” Kollars said.

You can find Blum's work, not made by Kollars, at Old Salem and Salem Creek in Winston-Salem.

Kollars can be reached at

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