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I Forge Iron

The 960# Centennial International Exhibition anvil

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(This is a re-post to something I submitted on the ABANA forums a few months ago in their History and Lore section. It's a side project when I get bored...Looking for any and all info. Mods feel free to move this post if there is a more appropriate place for it. Thanks!)

I just got my copy of AIA, and in the section on Peter Wright anvils , RP says; 

"It was reported in Practical Blacksmithing that they made one weighing 960 pounds for the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I assume it was a Peter Wright because I doubt that Mousehole Forge could make an anvil that large...." 

However, after some quick google-ing, I found in "Memorial of the International Exhibition: Being a Description Written Up by Buildings" (1877) 

"BROOKS & COOPER, Sheffield, Eng.-Mousehole Forge. Household anvils, with best double-shear steel gaces. Vises, hammers, masons' and excavators tools. One anvil nearly 1,000 pounds. A fine display, and very article bearing the impress of excellent work and material. 

PETER WRIGHT & SONS, Dudley Eg.--Same line of work...." 

(link to google book http://tinyurl.com/q8kwyvb

RP also lists that Mousehole Forge won an award at the exhibition...and another award at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition (Australia). This is verified in "Official Record: Containing Introduction, History of Exhibition, Description of Exhibition and Exhibits, Official Awards of Commissioners, and Catalogue of Exhibits" (1882), where it says silver medals were given to the three manufacteres "Brooks and Cooper, Sheffield; Wright, Peter, and Sons, Dudley; Wilikson, J. and Sons, Dudley". 


So who's was the 960 pounder, Mousehole or PW's? What happened to it? Did it stay in the U.S.? Did it end up in Australia at another expo? Is it buried in someones backyard in PA waiting to be found? Could it have been shipped to Australia for another exhibition? 

As an aside, at the Melbourne Centennial, there is an award of merit to "Harper & Sons, Dudley England - Anvils, vyces and tools". I dont find any other reference to "Harper & Sons".... 

Edited by Ashton Flinders
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The big FISHER in the NJ State Museum is about 60" long, the face is 9", and it is about 22" tall.  It is said to be 1400 lb, but has never been weighed on a certified scale.  If it ever comes off exhibit, I will try to borrow it, and the first stop would be a weigh-in.

I am sure the English anvil makers also made big anvils for these exhibitions.  I hope they too survive to this day.

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Josh: I'll bet you could talk to the guys at "Weights and measures" and find out what type scale you'd need to weigh it in place without damaging it or the museum floor. Back when I worked for DOT the truck guys had a portable scale you could roll the truck on that wasn't more than a floor mat thick. Another one was a floor jack and another was an airbag.

I'm betting you could set up a simple "A" frame on floor pads, a chain hoist and scale. The real trick would be getting the museum curator to let you but you never know.

Heck, I have more lifetime museum member cards around Alaska for straightening out their blacksmithing displays. You almost always see a top fuller laid upside down as a "blacksmith's" hammer, The table or whatever between the forge and anvil, etc. Museum folk are rarely experts on what they display and are usually pretty grateful for good info.

Of course that's typical Alaskan "city" and town museums, even Anchorage had some pretty screwy displays.

Just thinking, can't stop myself.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Nothing will happen with the Big Fisher until at least Jan 2018, and NJ gets a new Governor.  The present administration has de-funded the museum so much, that it is operating on a shoe-string budget.  No displays will be changed until then.  They are not interested in any weigh-in.  The museum has the anvil on display in a "made in NJ" section.  They were not interested in displaying any smaller Fisher anvils that reflected what the company produced in quantity.  I offered to lend them anything.

Edited by njanvilman
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