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Help ID'ing my new anvil

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I could use some help identifying an anvil I acquired. My own digging around online makes me think this is either a Mousehole or William Foster anvil. It was heavily rusted, and at first I made out no distinguising marks. After trying to clean the face with a flap disc on my right angle grinder, and then cleaning the sides with a 3M bristle scotchbrite wheel, I was able to discern at minimum a "25" mark on the right side of the waist, and what looks like a "1" on the left. The center is a little too hard to make out still, but there appear to be dots separating the numbers.


If I squint I think I see "1851" very faintly about 1" above the weight/dots.

To my uneducated eye there also seems to be weld lines which indicate that the front and rear feet were welded onto a central core.

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A few tricks to try that will not hurt the anvil, and may bring out the markings:

1) Take a piece of white printer paper, tape and an old fashioned graphite/wood pencil, tape the paper where it won't move, rub the side of the pencil across the print like a windshield wiper. Save this paper, you now have a unique "fingerprint" of your anvil if it ever gets stolen, and the white page is lots easier to read than a photograph.

2) Lay the anvil on it's side, and do the same thing with a chunk of welder's soapstone right on the metal. Gently blow or wipe off the excess dust to read the letters, then take a photo.

3) Same as #2, just dust the anvil with baby powder.

Powered wire brushes or pads will tend to smear the details if used too aggressively. Hand wire brushing, combined with hand soap and water, will remove only loose rust and dirt. Dry it off, and a wipe-down with non-detergent oil will keep it from rusting.

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  • 1 month later...

You've got a Mouse Hole anvil.
The tell tail ID point is: the under side of the horn is 'sharp' or 'V-shaped'. Only Mouse Hole shaped their anvils in this way. The anvil dates to the mid 1800s.

I think you have helped me ID my anvil. There are faint letters on one side and my eyes aren't good enough to make out any real assemblance of words. I have tried paper rubbings, lumber crayon and wiping off excess, soapstone, steel wool, etc.
What I can make out is the weight #'s 1 1 22 but there are no dots inbetween them. The shape is (in my opinion) identical to New England Ironworks anvil and others I have researched on the web.
Let me know what you think.


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I'm not as sanguine as the previous poster since Postman has identified around 250 anvil manufacturers in England---so far.

If that is a date it is much more likely a William Foster as they were one of the very few companies to date stamp their anvils---I have one from 1828 myself.

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