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Colonial Anvil

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (297 items)

    This is a colonial anvil that I purchased at a grist mill auction in Berks Co. PA. This mill is directly across the road from Hunter Forge, a documented forge that made items for General George Washington's Colonial Army. This anvil could have come from Hunter Forge, being so close to the sale site.
    Our colonies were too young to have the means to mfg. anvils so they would import them from Europe in the bellies of boats (for Ballast) to sell to our colonists.
    Colonial anvils were made on or before 1780. They differ from modern anvils in that they don't have a table. The table is the stepped down flat table that is located between the face of the anvil (striking surface) and the horn. In colonial anvils, the horn protrudes directly out of the body of the anvil.
    I took dimensions, photo's, weight, and rubbings of the punch & chisel marks on the anvil and sent them to R. Postman. He is a noted author and historian who wrote the book "Anvils In America".
    I told Mr. Postman that the anvil weighed 100 lb. He said the markings indicated the weight markings (measured in stones) showed 104 lb., and this was understandable due to rust and years of use that it would loose 4 lb. over the years. H dated the anvil in the early to mid 1600's. Imagine that, this anvil could have been here when John Smith met the Indian maid Pokahontas ..... .....hotairfan

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    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Really enjoyed your spiel.
    2. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 7 years ago
      What is the piece on top called?(pics 1 and 4 ) I can never remember!!!!!
    3. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 7 years ago
      I want it ...smiling
    4. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Friend of mine from S. Afrika told me about returning to his farm & finding that his local help had broken the horn off of his anvil. After convincing them that he wasn't angry, he said, "I just want to know HOW?"
    5. hotairfan hotairfan, 7 years ago
      thanks for your interest Gargoylcollector :
      The item that is set on top of photo #1 and inserted into the hole (called a hardie hole) in photo #4, is called a "HARDIE". Hardies can serve many functions on an anvil depending on their shape and the blacksmith's needs. They can be used to swage a piece of iron, twist iron, punch arched holes in iron, etc. Their uses are limited only by the imagination of the blacksmith. This particular hardie is not old like the anvil, but, it has a small square stem that fits the small hardie hole in this Colonial anvil.
      This particular hardie is used to cut a hot piece of iron, sort of like a shear. this one is to cut hot iron like I said due to it's long taper. If the taper were shorter and more acute, it would be a cold cut hardie. this is because cold metal needs a stronger wider angle to the taper so as to not break or damage the hardie during the strike with the hammer. .... hotairfan
      P.S..... Some anvils also have a small round hole near the hardie hole and this is called a pritchel hole (not sure of the spelling). This is used to shape round work, or to bend a job around a round mandrel in the pritchel hole.
    6. hotairfan hotairfan, 7 years ago
      Hi blunderbuss2 thanks for the reply,
      Believe it or not, anvils are not forged in one piece, or maybe I should say that most anvils are not forged in one piece. The horn is installed on to the body as is the tail and the feet. If you look at a good scrap steel anvil, (and this term scrap steel is not derogatory or in any way degrading to the quality of the anvil. Good steel anvils start by hammer welding several layers of high quality scrap steel wired together to form the parts of an anvil, many anvil makers take great pride in stating that their anvils are derived from scrap steel), anyway, I digress, there are small square holes under the tail section, under the base, and under the horn. They are used by the anvil maker to hold a support rod when forging the horn and tail, even the feet are forged onto the body. This could explain how the horn broke off. It could have been due to a bad union to the body, or it could be a cast anvil. Cast iron anvils are considerably weaker than a scrap iron anvil and can break at joints or corners if struck with a hammer ..... hotairfan
    7. hotairfan hotairfan, 7 years ago
      to Roycroftbooksfromme1: thanks for the reply.
      Many of my collector friends hit me up to sell this beauty. I told them to be at my estate sale ..... unless they go first. .... hotairfan
    8. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 7 years ago
      Thanks Hotair!I have a bench plate and all different shaped Hardies that fit in the different size holes, I need to dig it all all and install it in/on my workbench and post here on CW.It came from an old tin shop that started in 1888.
      I worked at an old hardware store and they had a busted anvil,it was struck on a freezing morning and the horn fell off!
    9. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Waiting to see it gargoyle.
    10. hotairfan hotairfan, 7 years ago
      I'm looking forward to seeing your bench plate gargoylecollector.
    11. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 7 years ago
      winter project(1 of many),but I will try to get some pics.
    12. BHock45 BHock45, 6 years ago
    13. BHock45 BHock45, 6 years ago
      I would love to find one of these.
    14. frisco frisco, 6 years ago
      Beautiful Anvil, and Great History Explanation behind it! I have been looking for an anvil for many years, and you just don't see them for sale very often on the West coast, for some reason. So, I continue to use my poor man's railroad track anvil to get by. Please keep showing your collection to us, as I enjoy seeing all your items very much!
    15. BHock45 BHock45, 6 years ago
      for me....this piece is as good as it gets....I can't stop looking at it!!!!

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