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Looking for help to identify my new anvil 300# - PW?


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Very proud to say I picked this anvil up last week for my shop, and am looking to identify the brand and vintage.  

This will be my new main forging anvil so I am looking to clean it up and mainly want to know it's story

I think it is a Peter Wright from the research I have done by design of the feet but I am a newbie at anvil identification.

I weighed it and it is a hair under 300 pounds

I believe it is Forged Steel construction.

It has no markings other than a "H" on each side of the front foot. I have cleaned up the sides and nothing. It looks as if the machinists tested there punches on the side face and have destroyed any markers mark, brand stamp, or weight stamping.

It rings like a bell, and has good rebound. I never thought I would own an anvil of this quality and size.

I bought this anvil from an individual cleaning out his deceased fathers old workshop.  He believed his father acquired this anvil from CN (Canadian National) Railway shop, as his father used to work for CN.  

It has seen some serious work which makes sense with the CN Story. I may get it refaced at a local machine shop. Also looking for advice on this.

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Well done. should do you very well.

I would not consider having it machined for a minute. The most I would do to the surface is 120grit sanding disc in an angle grinder to knock down any highlights thrown up by the dings. Even those you would be better off tapping down with a hammer.

Best way to get it how you want/need it is to use it for a few years (decades)…only then consider whether you can really do without the lumps and bumps and various nicks in the edges which enable you to do so much more than a straight line edge would. It is amazing what shapes you need supporting when you are trying to form a particular shape…straight line edge anvils are a total waste of space! They only have one form...you have hundreds, explore and celebrate them!

The hollow you find in the sweet spot is perfect for straightening bars. It enables to the bar to be over-bent and then spring back to straight. A flat surface makes it impossible to straighten anything with a hammer...

Use it, get to know it and most of all enjoy it, is my sage advice...

Alan

p.s. I know that the anvil surface looks like it will put a texture on to anything you forge and that is probably what is making you consider the machining…but you will be surprised how little a ding will transfer to the workpiece surface even when the workpiece is yellow hot. In order for the workpiece to go into a ding, the rest of the workpiece surface has got to be pushed back. A raised ridge thrown up on the edge of a ding is another matter entirely. The pressure is focussed just on the that bit and it will easily put a dent into the hot surface.

If you do find you can hit hard enough on a small enough bit of metal to transfer any marks, you can always make up a finishing block to go into the hardy hole or as a saddle. Alan

Edited by Alan Evans
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I generally tell people to only remove as much of the face of their anvil that they are willing to have removed from their own face---and do their own face first!

The face plate would be steel the rest of the anvil should be forged real wrought iron.  An anvil's face plate is of limited thickness, removing any of it is throwing away decades of the anvils life.  Many times actually destroying it's usability!  

 

And with the flats on the feet; and the location I would guess Peter Wright as well!

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I will defer to experience on the machining, and not do it. I am new to this and I was worried about the divots and bumps transferring to the piece I was working. I will try and hammer out the rises and give it a little clean up. I will take some pictures after completed.  

Did all PWs have brand stamping and weights?

Anyone have any clue as to the "H"'s? I have been googling and seen a few other PWs with one or two of them on the front foot. Inspector? North American Distributor? Importer?

 

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As I said the divots won't transfer but the bumps will! Well-ish.

Definitely use it for a while before you remove any metal from it.

When you have sorted out the bumps I am sure you will find smooth flat areas for the final finishing of small work, they only need to be around the same size as your hammer face. 

I have a Peter Wright which does have the brand and weight marks, but I have also seen very similarly formed anvils and could not find any. There is another Peter Wright thread currently on IFI and Basher has just posted that he has one with no marks.

Given the heritage of yours it would be likely a good quality, probably English anvil, so even if it is not a Peter Wright it will do the job fine!

I always think as blacksmiths we are pretty immune from counterfeit tools. Who on earth... if they have the skills and equipment, would set themselves up to make fake anvils? Where would the profit be? How could you make one sufficiently cheaper? :)

Alan

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Well we do see anvils that are cast in Mexico using old "real" anvils as the positive for the molds. Generally they are not being well fettled and stamped; but theycould be and of course the local Auctioneers are selling them as "antiques"  (This Antique anvil is less than 5 years old and was made incorrectly for use and out of an inferior alloy---who wants to start the bidding at $10 a pound?!")

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Note too that the old anvils in the larger sizes tend to be softer faces than the smaller ones.  I'd try plannishing the face with a mirror polished sledge first if you want it smoother.

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Looks like somebody has already done a bit of welding on one corner.

I wonder what caused the linear scores along one third of the top…almost like it was used as a trestle and something was dragged over it regularly.

@Thomas, I am surprised that fakes would make such a premium to make it worth while. Though I guess the foundry could be just using up their extra after a pour and the villains of the piece are those that pretend it is anything more than a modern garden ornament. However if one is buying it for a garden ornament I suppose it does not really matter whether it is functional or not providing you are not being told it is something it is not. Better a cast iron replica in the flowerbed than something somebody could use. I suppose we are spoiled over here, real anvils seem to be around £1 per lb on ebay. Almost scrap steel price, certainly not much margin even on cast iron cost, let alone moulding, heating, pouring, shipping and risking being found out.

Alan

 

 

 

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I just picked up a 315# Peter and the only markings left are the weight stampings and the "WR" of wrought. everything else is gone. The face of my anvil has almost a 1/4" of sway (mostly to one side) and plenty of gauges. I lightly wiped over it a few times with a worn out flap disk. Haven't used it much, but I don't think I'll be doing much more to it other than using it of course... 

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Hi Randy my latest anvil has worse damage to the lower sections from someone testing punches and chisels and anything else they could hit it with, it also has no marking and a H stamped on each front foot.I am sure mine is a PW one because the guy I bought it from had an identical one which was marked as a PW and secondly Richard postman says in his book Anvils in America "It is rare you cannot find part of the trademark on any Peter Wright anvil. However even without the trademark, should a wrought anvil have four handling holes and the flats across the front and back of the feet under the horn and heel, you can almost always be sure that it is a Peter Wright"

 

 

 

 

 

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Forget where I found the following info, probably on this site sometime ago.

"It is difficult to age a PW after 1860 when they went to the now classic London pattern. If it just says PETER WRIGHT PATENT, then likely 1860-late 1880s. If ENGLAND is added, then late 1880 to early 1900s.

The logo was stamped on in parts. Perhaps when someone did your's they simply forgot where to put the SOLID WROUGHT circle or the weight. Occasionally stamps were put on upside down.


Yes, on Peter Wright anvils. Might be an inspector mark or perhaps it meant it was approved for export. A classic sign of a post-1860 PW are small ledges on the front and back feet.

You may have a very early PW since in 1860 on their typical logo was (stacked): PETER WRIGHT PATENT. Then SOLID WROUGHT in a circle usually with the middle weight number stamped in it. About 1910 they added ENGLAND under PATENT.

A way to help bring out lettering is to lay on side and dust with flour. Brush off excess. What is left in depressions sometimes make stampings very easy to make out. If you do this I'd like to see a photograph of markings. Just click on my name and send as an attachment.


It is not in Anvils in America but I am fairly certain Richard Postman told me Peter Wright did start putting serial numbers on their late production anvils. They started putting ENGLAND on their anvils about 1910 and are thought to have gone out of business about the 1930s.

Peter Wrights seem to be about the most common old anvil in the U.S. judged by the amount which show up on eBay. They must have been exporting them to the U.S. in great quantity.


I recently acquired a Peter Wright anvil and was trying to find out what the marking mean. I have figured out the weight by reading other excellent post but was wondering about the letter stamped under the weight and the numbers stamped on the end under the horn. Mine has the letter "B" under the weight and has "7" then "77" at the bottom under the horn. Any ideas what these mean?

They may have been used to identify the anvil crew, inspector, metal batch number. Apparently almost no records of PW exist today."

Edited by Dan C
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