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I feel a little guilty about what I paid for this one, but I'll get over it. This beauty popped up on the Austin craigslist in the free section (said if you can pick it up you can have it for free!) amid all the ridiculously overpriced anvils that frequently show up. The ad said no holds and I was out of town so I hoped the person would be enticed by money and offered $100 if she'd hold it for me. The next day while doing last minute preparations for a Christmas party I got an email back saying she'd gotten over 400 emails inquiring about the anvil but my subject line, offering to actually buy it had gotten her attention. My girlfriend is the best as she released me from my chores to make sure I sealed the deal. A few txt messages later the seller was having seller's remorse as she was beginning to get an idea of the actual value, but to her credit she didn't back out or try to renegotiate. The next challenge was to borrow $100 cash as I'd just paid my rent, bills and credit card, fortunately I have an understanding roommate who loaned me the money. Still worried the seller might bail on the sale, I made the earliest arrangements I could Monday morning to pick it up. As she said she couldn't move it or read any markings on the anvil I had no idea the size or weight but based on the ad in the picture I knew it was going home with me. To be on the safe side I brought along a friend and a dolly. When I got there I realized this was going to be the perfect replacement for the 101 PW that I picked up years ago for $50 (yes, I stole that one too!) My initial impression was that this was a very nice 111 lb Trenton, rebound is at least 90% or greater! The PW has 80-90% rebound with minor edge damage, it's been perfect for blade smithing. Yes, I know it's an anvil, bring it home, put it to use and don't worry about the history or value...but I'm going to do whatever research I can and this forum is invaluable. First thing I noticed is there was no serial number like so many of the Trentons seen here. Then I wondered about the PW like foot ledges, the Solid Wrought circle stamped on the side, flat bottom and un-Trenton like shape. The research I did leads me to believe this is an early H. Boker Trenton that's fairly uncommon, probably made in England due to the circular "Solid Wrought" stamp. I found a post regarding a German Boker that was stamped "Made in Germany", no such marking on this one. The ledges on the feet indicate a Peter Wright influence on the wrought iron base. "According to Anvils in America by Richard Postman this is likely a Boker TRENTON, rather than one made by the Columbus (OH) Forge & Iron Co. Hermann Boker was a broker for the Trenton (NJ) Vise and Tool Company and had TRENTON brand anvils made in both German and England. This one could well have been made for them in England by Peter Wright as it has the classic PW feet and the SOLID WROUGHT in a circle. Anvil lately dates to the last quarter of the 1800s" Sorry for the long rant but I'm very excited about the newest (or oldest addition) to the family. She's in good company with a 200 lb Peter Wright that dates back to the same time period. The little PW pictured above will now eventually find a new home. No fears about any further cleanup, I hit her last night with a wire brush and linseed oil, it's time now to forge on and make beautiful things!
I've been lurking on this forum for a long time soaking up and reading all the material I can. As a newbie to blacksmithing, I wanted to really try my hand at things before asking questions so I avoid asking the same questions I see other newbies asking constantly. Thank you to all who have shared wisdom, skills, and experience on here. It has helped me enter this craft with much more knowledge than I would have had just jumping straight in. I've been an accomplished flintknapper for 15 years making flint reproductions and some plain artwork. As such, I know that you have to put your time in learning all the small skills before you attempt the larger projects. At a show, my booth was set up next to blacksmith doing a demo. I thought to myself "I think I could really do that." A few years later I set up at another show and, you guessed it, was next to the same blacksmith. That sealed it for me, because I really wanted to give forging a try. I borrowed a junky anvil (couldn't even find anything like it in AIA) from my Dad, and got some basic hammers and a set of pick-up tongs and yes a gas forge from Diamond back. I struggled, but each time I've forged I've gotten better and quicker at things. It was obvious thought that I needed a better anvil. A friend's friend's nephew was reported to have lots of blacksmith tools and anvils. I ended up with this anvil, which after consulting AIA I believe it to be an early Boker Trenton made in Germany. Perhaps Black Frog could confirm that. Reading and lurking here helped me get educated on the differences between Peter Wrights, Hay Buddens, Trentons, and the others. Knowing good prices also helped me not make the typical newbie mistake of overpaying. The guy who sold it to me didn't know what it was and thought it was a Peter Wright, but I found the diamond Trenton logo. The feet steps confused me because I knew Trentons didn't have that feature. He thought it weighed 150 lbs so I took his word for it but felt it was a little more than that. I paid $2 per pound for an even $300. $50 more got me an armful of tongs and hammers. It was suggested to me by a farrier friend to have it machined flat and the edges sharpened. Reading extensively here showed me that was a poor decision and I just cleaned it up with a wire wheel and began using it. Thomas Powers' words of wisdom helped me to work with the sway in it and keep this old gal just like I found her. She ended up being 179 lbs, so I paid under $2 in the end. Here's some pictures of my new old gal. Her rebound is pretty good. I welcome any feedback on how early people feel it is. I got a good idea from AIA that I checked out at my local library, but maybe someone like Black Frog has more information. One question I have is what the machined off slant might have been used for on the trenton logo side. It looks specific to some past smith's work.
I am just getting started. Over the weekend, I met with a retired blacksmith of advanced years. He had a number of anvils for sale, including the one below. Once I decided on this anvil, he and I went into his house to figure out which company manufactured the anvil, so we could arrive at a price. We consulted Anvils In America, but the font did not quite fit the Trentons. We chatted about it and he decided to assume it was a more modern Trenton of the early 1900's. I told him I would research it further and let him know what I found. I went home and using some flour, tried to identify it. In addition to the word Trenton, it also has the words Patent and Solid Forged, although the latter was difficult to make out, it is there. My sense is that this is a Boker Trenton of German or English manufacture, but the presence of all three words and phrases makes me uncertain. The blacksmith who sold it to me gave me a very good price, but I believe he sold it without a clear understanding of what is was. I will be calling him and returning it, but I would like to tell him for sure who the manufacturer was. Any help would be appreciated. John