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Olf English Anvils - Hill and ??? - Any Idea of Age?

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So I was thinking of getting into Blacksmithing as a hobby. I have been acquiring tools for sometime through estate sales and garage sales and have been building up my workshop and finally I came across an Anvil this past Summer so I bought it. It has no identifiable markings on it outside of the stone weight, which is 1-0-25 = 137lbs. It was bought as part of a lot that included many many tools and items. The estate belonged to a gentleman that died at age 93 and had apparently used the Anvil. I know nothing about it, but based on what I have seen on there forums it could be pre-1820 anvil. It was bought in Port Jefferson, NY and based on location and the rounded out horn I suspect I may... (I stress may) have come off a boat.

Because the first anvil seemed so old that I did not want to abuse it with my amateur blacksmithing. So this past weekend I found and purchased a second anvil.  The anvil was pretty rusty and I could not see any markings. Based on size and condition I bought it. Well, it turns out it is marked, it's a Hill anvil, marked Birmingham, weighing in at 1-1-25 for 165lbs. Now, again, based on what I am seeing on these forums this too is an old rare anvil. Any information is helpful, but apparently the Hill anvils were made between 1830 and 1850 or 70?

I am looking for any information on age or manufacture for the first anvil I purchased (the smaller one on top in the photos) and as for the Hill anvil any information or advice on age and whether I should save/preserve it or use it as I attempt to learn blacksmithing on my own with the help of YouTube. Also, any thoughts on price of either would be great, I basically paid $200 each for them.
















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There are not really that many anvil collectors to make "rare" a big deal.  Neither is "old", though the first one you had (second in the pictures) does look to qualify as "old"---over 200 years for an anvil. *Use* them!  That is what they were made for!

As for price you got a better deal on the larger anvil; but still a decent one on the older one.  

BTW you may want to edit your profile so folks don't think you are from Long Island New Zealand or the Long Island in the UK  I have that trouble all the time as my home is in a town 200 miles from where I work; but another town with the same name is 20 miles away from here in the other direction.

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Isaac Hill made anvils at his factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, from 1810. My 350 lb Hill does not have a pritchel hole, but as Thomas P informed me pritchel holes were not introduced until 1830. Compared to my everyday 2 1/2 cwt anvil the Hill is more quiet with a wonderful rebound,I paid £50.00 equivalent to $150.00 for it and love it.

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Thank you guys, I'm finding this all extremely fun and educational. @David Edgar - $150 for a 350lb anvil sounds like a steal, especially from any respectable brand.

The Hill anvil I have does have a pritchel hole (I realize no photos of the top were posed so added some here of top) that does not appear to be retrofitted (based on the underside, but again, I'm giving my best guess).  Does anyone know when Isaac Hill stopped making anvils? Was it 1850? I'd love to know a rough timeframe on it. 1830 to ???

There is also a marking on the foot (picture here), it looks like "1W" but I'll hit it with the wire brush tomorrow and get a better look. Any idea what this marking is/means?

I also added a photo of the top of the older anvil which does not have a pritchel hole. Being a novice when I first bought this anvil after only being educated on anvils via YouTube I was immediately disappointed as I thought I had bought a low-quality anvil. The hardy hole was also fairly small by my measurements. It wasn't until I started reading these forums that I had even a glimpse of the potential age and history of this anvil. What do you guys think, is this a pre-1820 anvil? Like I said, it was purchased in Port Jefferson, NY from the estate of a 93-year old man who was quite handy, he was a hunter, clammer, angler, plumber, carpenter and part-time machinist. My only regret was not buying the pedal grind wheel that day too.

It's just incredible to me to have something like these anvils sitting in my workshop, ready to be used and knowing they've been around for over a hundred years. I love old tools and truly appreciate the antique nature of things, but when things can be this old and still so completely functional and useful, it's truly incredible.






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  • 11 months later...

Okay , so im a year late on the reply but theres not a whole lot of Isaac Hill anvil banter on the internet. Yes im excited about getting involved the forging arts and have had this anvil for years in the back of my shop. Never paid it much attention till recently . I run the transfer station in my small town up here in cow hampshire and have allways had a love for old tools and machinery and the skill and strength and sense to do the tasks of a goneby era. Anyway if I keep this up i'll be a thousand words into this and forget my point. So I brushed off the anvil and gave her a light oil wipe and low and behold an inscription caught my eye , I HILL BIRMINGHAM , on the back the numbers 2  0  16 . So off to google I went and to be honest havent found anything definitive on this man Isaac Hill from Birmingham circa early 1800's to maybe 1870's. I've read he was employed at a facility for the mentally deprived , also that he was yes an anvilmaker and that also at an early age sailed to New Zealand , the town of Nelson as a carpenter , worked many industries and was last listed as an Ironmonger ? Will the real Isaac Hill please stand up ! Any information would be awesome , and Thanks , hope to be back soon !





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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a great anvil.  I love my Hill anvil and am so jealous you have one that heavy.  I want it to go with my 150#!  It's a great anvil and is ready to go to work.  If I remember correctly the Hill family was all in the metal business.  I can't remember the details of who did what but I think there is a thread about it buried somewhere on IFI.  

Oh yeah, welcome to the forum!  Add your location in your profile and do a little intro of yourself on the welcome page.

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  • 3 years later...

Not sure how I can attach some photos to this 

Hi all

I have just the past few days acquired an anvil, for the rather good price of £100

I took a wire wheel on a grinder to the surfaces of the anvil and cleaned it up a bit,  i feel the condition is perfect for me personally as a 19yr old first time hobbyist blacksmith. But there is no denying it’s seen better days.

I could just make out some very feint stampings. So after a bit of chalk and taking rubbings of the stampings I worked out the 3.3 was the weight, 3.3cwt, which was still nearly correct as I then put it on some scales and it came to 25stone 11pound which is as good as 3.3cwt

the other stampings I was unsure about as I don’t know a lot about anvils. After putting some pictures on Facebook, someone said it might be a HILL so I had another look and to my great satisfaction I could just make out the H and the two Ls and also the I above and one or two letters of Birmingham.

So that answers that, what I want to know is did some anvils come without a step/cutting table? Mine doesn’t have one. It’s just the table/face/deck and the horn 

Also what sorta metal is it?   Forged on steel face? 
All forged steel? 

And again really what sorta age might it be? 

Many thanks in advance everyone 

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Well most pictures have to be down sized to fit here.  Then you can just use the "choose files"  to attach them.

English anvils are usually stamped in CWT,  1/4 CWT, and residual pounds  so would that have been (3x112) + (3x28) + 0  or  (3x112) + 0 + 3

Decimals were not used on old anvils.

The London Pattern with horn, cutting step, face is a common pattern; but it's only 1 out of a large number of patterns that were made and used. For instance the Birmingham Pattern has a horn but no cutting step.   (That question reads like---"Did they make cars that were not Fords 100 years ago?")

Wrought iron body with a steel face forge welded to it.

Most likely 19th century. If we had more details we might be able to narrow it down more---like does it have a punched pritchel hole?  If you can identify the maker then you can try to track down the years they were in business.  Very few anvil makers date stamped their anvils, (William Foster did!) A few more stamped a serial number that can be correlated with a date and some the style of the stamping can help as well.

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Welcome aboard Sam, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might discover how many members live within visiting distance. A lot of things depend on location, gatherings, available tools, lessons, group projects, etc. Just networking with other smiths is valuable. Every hour with an experienced smith is worth many hours perhaps days trying to figure it out yourself. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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