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DanielQ

How to determine the age of an older anvil.

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Good afternoon!

This anvil was found in a lot we acquired a little while ago. I don't know much about anvils, but never quite seen one with this texture on the base before. Located in slightly more northenly parts of Sweden, Västernorrland/Västerbotten.

Does anyone dare to guess roughly how old it might be?

Any tips about how I might be able to find enough information to make a guess?

If no, enjoy some pictures of a pretty little anvil :-)

It's about 37 centimeters long. One horn is partially bashed off. The sides have some weird texture, guessing it's from the casting mold.

How was a thing like this cast? The surfaces on the side doesn't look anything at all like the surfaces on more modern anvils. Or might this be because some misuse over the years?

It has one square hole on the top, and one on each side of the base (one side is visible in one of the pictures).

 

//DQ

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That was not cast, it was forged. Built up from scrap wrought iron, which is what you are seeing on the sides and base. Steel face welded on top. I would guess early 19th century, but that is only a guess. I am not as familiar with Swedish anvils.

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boy if that anvil could talk.....................very cool , I'd like to own that !

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The overall anvil design looks quite modern, particularly the foot. But it's definitely forge welded from various bits of iron. Somewhere 19th century would be my best guess.

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Actually, the feet arent really indicative of being modern. there are anvils with feet of various sorts similar to that going back to the 1500s although many of the surviving examples are much more finely shaped with forged in steps or the like. The body itself is shaped like many of the anvils from the 1500s and 1600s, skinny and tall. (the oldest 'dated' anvil of that design that I know is the 'tree anvil' as some people call it because of the 3 tree-like engravings on it above the date, which is 1533) An anvil that they used to have at the Higgins armory before it closed which they had listed as 1500s to early 1600s had feet and a body much like that. That said it has square handling holes in the sides, and I haven't seen anvils built with handling holes like that dating earlier than the 1700s. Unfortunately dating tools like that is a very inexact science. The best that I could say based on the combination of features is "it's old, likely from the 1700s but possibly as late as the mid 1800s"

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Thank you all so much for the information, I do realize that like mr Mercier said, that dating tools like this is a very difficult and inexact science. My family has asked around quite a bit about an axe we've been trying to date, and the most informed response we could get was actually that it was probably made between 1300-1900.. Since despite we had steel/iron industries very early on, bogiron was still being made on a small scale up into the 1900s for personal use.. And small scale productions of tools also persisted for a long time despite factories popping up like mushrooms in the forest floor.

And what a revelation that the anvil was forged, I really had no idea. The only stories I've heard even remotely close to that is how they welded on new steel plates on top of a worn down anvil. But never that the actual body was forged up from scrap pieces. Fantastic.

Thanks again Justin, Jeroen and Alan. And I agree BCROB, what if it could talk...

//DQ

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All anvils except Fisher-Norris were forged until steel casting got good enough in the 1920s. Some makers used scrap for the body, Peter Wright advertised only new iron used (which may be why they tend to get swaybacked). Now all anvils are cast. Peddinghaus used to forge them from solid steel, but stopped around 1998.

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All anvils except Fisher-Norris were forged until steel casting got good enough in the 1920s. Some makers used scrap for the body, Peter Wright advertised only new iron used (which may be why they tend to get swaybacked). Now all anvils are cast. Peddinghaus used to forge them from solid steel, but stopped around 1998.

That's really interesting! Thanks for telling me Alan :-)

 

//DQ

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http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/stories/

 

Check out the story "A day in the life of a blacksmith's apprentice."...It is one of my favorites and will give you a general idea on what you have there. Although what you have is quite a bit more modern.

 

Thanks a lot Brian, I'll be sure to check it out when I get back home. :-)

 

//DQ

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