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I Forge Iron

nice old picture: Anvil Chorus

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I found this picture posted on the Shorpy.com site:

Anvil Chorus: 1905 | Shorpy Photo Archive

If you look real close in the back left corner of the shop, you can see a young Frosty peeking through the door window.;):D

There is a "View full size" link in the description. The detail you can pick up in the picture is amazing. Interestingly, everybody is using ball-piens.


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Wow.....so much stuff to study in this picture.

It's not often you see people black smithing in knickers vests and bow ties ;)

The anchor hanging from the rafter!?!? :confused:

I especially like the display boards on the wall showing all the tools and such.
They still do the same thing at the carpentry school I went to.

Check out the guy in the middle rear part of the photo near the belt-driven machine......He certainly seems a little irked about something :D

It looks like the kid up front is possibly forge welding a chain link? and the kid to the left has what looks like a nail header?

Boy I wish they sold those anvils at Harbor freight!

Thanks for posting this photo!

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Okay so the forges are buffalo forges with a supplied air blast from a central air line. The exhaust was sucked out through a pipe in the pedestal.

I think I see one drill press in the back under the machinery. I wonder if the machinery is also the source of the air blast and or the vacuum for the exhaust? Obviously, one machine wouldn't do both. But there seems to be two honking electric motors so one for supply and one for exhaust.

I can make out two Fisher & Norris Anvils, I think. On the far left, I see the bolt downs on the feet and I believe the eagle. On the far right, just above the tear, I think it is the eagle again.

I have seen some of this gear in the old school text books from the time period but it is so cool to see them set up and in use. Layout diagrams just doesn't give you the feel the picture does.

Thanks for sharing it.


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Cool photo. Looks as if making chain was the order of the day, most of the guys appear to be in some stage of making links. The kid in the middle of the picture must be the "teachers pet" as he has 3 links make up laying on his anvil....always hated those kids, killed the grade curve....:(

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Now thats a great picture!

I wonder what is with the wrap on the kids hand, second from the right, on his holding hand.

Steam heat, I really like the giant sky light!

Odd, where are all of the racks and racks of tools? Not to mention all of the projects, look to be shoved in the back right, by the stairs.

Those lights are very fascinating! Can anyone place them? They apear to be sparky lights, but have a gas light housing above them, curious.

Caleb Ramsby

Caleb Ramsby

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Someone left a square laying on the floor. I think that I have identified the teacher, right front, ring on left hand, vest, long apron and looks older then the rest. The class sure has a variety of ages in it, maybe brought in some ringers for the picture. When I was in metal shop we had to wear coveralls so we didn't go home dirty. The guys that belong in class have aprons or dark work over shirts on. Talk about safety, that sure is a lot of water on floor around the sink and the stairs at the door on the right are stacked with stuff.

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LOL. The irked looking kid towards the top center of the picture was either the class bully, or someone stole his piece of the project. Either way his Ma must of been proud.

Looks like the ventilation was via the one hood in the back of the room. It's quite possible they assumed that was sufficient back then. With all that water on the floor, I don't think safety was an issue back then like nowadays, let alone worry about safety goggles and such.

I would say the kid with the wrapped bandaged hand got up close and personal with a piece of his work.

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Jeff, each forge was individually vented. Check this other school shop photo that shows how it was done.

McKinley School shop power for the air supply and venting was on the back wall.
On edit: note all the Fisher anvils.

Edited by nett
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