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I Forge Iron

Anvil Poem???

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Each day as I drive to work I pass a statue/ monument with a large anvil on top. (This was really frustrating when I was actually looking and unable to find a real anvil when I started out and had to see this fake one daily) The site belongs to a church and the following poem is on a plaque on the base

The Anvil Of God’s Word

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he; then with a twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages, skeptics blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.
John Clifford

So here is the question. Do anvils really wear out hammners or did the poet, upon seeing a bunch of hammers in the shop, just assume that they must be worn out and not realize that blacksmiths like to have a lot of hammers for different work?

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Yes anvils wear out hammers *and* hammers wear out anvils too but it's a slower process.

You get wear as scale is an abrasive to both hammer and anvil keeping the face of each polished with regular use. I bought one lovely anvil that had a finely pitted face due to condensation rusting from being stored in an unheated shed in a damp location for 50+ years. Rather than grind the pitting off I just left it and about a decade later of fairly infrequent use it's well on the way to being polished out.

You can also get slumping in the anvil from heavy usage with large hammers as well as actual failure---I have a small collection of anvils that have been destroyed through use.

Both anvils and hammers were re-forged and refaced over time historically

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