mcb

Small Anvil Id

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New guy here.  I did my best to look back through old Anvil ID threads hoping I would see a similar anvil to mine to save you guys another ID anvil thread.  I failed.

My fathers idea of Christmas present a few years ago was to get my brother and I each anvils.  I am presently not forging on it but I do use it around the shop anytime I need something hard to pound something on.  I am starting to use it more with recent projects and earlier today I notice some writing on it.  That got me curious and after messing around a bit with a wire brush and some wax I partial decipher some of the rusted and worn writing.  Then after a lot of Googling with little answers I ended up here.

So here is what I have, any info on it would be greatly appreciated.  I don't have an exact weight but its somewhere a bit over 80lbs base on its measurements.  About 19 inches long, 8.5 inches tall and 3.5 inch wide at the heel.

anvil.jpg

The writing as best as I can make out says:

First Line: SINGE...  maybe SINGEN...

Second Line: NICHOLSON..  Maybe an S on that

Third Line: SHEFFIELD

Forth Line: WARRANTED

writing1.jpg

 

  writing2.jpg

 

Thanks again.  I would love to know something about where and when it is from.  If any other pictures of it would help with the ID let me know.

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Pictures are always good. Sounds like an English anvil, there were many manufacturers but sometimes the shape can help identify.

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Postman's book on Mousehole anvils mentions that there were several manufactures of anvil in Sheffield. When I get time I'll look back at his book and see if I can a reference to that manufacturer, Your anvil was manufactured after 1835 but is still quite old based on its shape and the pointed feet. Most of those old anvils were very well made and still are quite useful. My C&A mousehole was made between 1790 and 1820 and still has excellent rebound. Use it, enjoy it,and take care of it!

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Thanks for the information.  It was bough at a small auction/flee market near East Liverpool Ohio.  I would not have guessed it was made in England.

Couple more pictures:

top2.jpg

It still rings pretty good especially when struck on the heel and horn.  The center seems a touch softer.

heel.jpg

horn.jpg

 

I am curious what the horizontal rectangular holes at the waist are for?  They are blind and do not go all the way through.  I haven't found any other writing or numbers on it yet.  The bottom is flat but has a rectangular hole in the middle of the bottom.  I have a chunk of aluminum bar mortised into the top of the wood stand to engage that rectangular hole.  Between that and the straps its pretty solidly mounted.

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Those are the handling holes that were used to move the anvil as it was being forged. You might imagine that the anvil would be very very hot and it would be tricky to hold it in 

place for the various operations that were needed to create a finished product. By the way, those old "colonial" anvils as they are called are getting to be collectable. I can't tell you how much its worth because its really dependent on where you live but I have seen nice ones in good condition going for more than $3/lb. Ohio seems to be where most of the anvils were bought and used by every person, so there are a lot of them in the area.

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Richard Postman who wrote "Anvils in America" and is currently the best resource on them has identified over 150 (IIRC) english anvil makers many of which may have only a couple of anvils in the USA.  (Mousehole and Peter Wright are probably the most common of the english anvils over here.)  If you correspond with him he might know a lot more about that brand.  He also sometimes attends Quad-State Blacksmiths Round-Up in late September in Troy Ohio; he has graciously identified a couple of anvils I had questions about there.  (Why does my large Fisher have an inset place on the side of it---it was an anvil for a Blacker power hammer,  Who made the anvil that I can only read POWE stamped in it---sadly not a Powers but a Powell, Who made the bottom section of an anvil where the top broke at the waist weld line and has disappeared---most likely a Peter Wright as it has the foot ledges and is weight stamped in CWT..)

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My curiosity got the better of me so I looked in Postman's book on the Mousehole forge and found that Mousehole made anvils for other concerns in the Sheffield area. Among the ones listed are Sanderson, Tillotson and LOMA Forming, but those are only a few. The style of letterig on you anvil matches the anvils pictured in Postman's book.

Postman indicates that you can verify if it is a Mousehole anvil by feeling the underside of the horn. If it has a point or ridge on the underside running from the body towards the point, then it is a Mousehole. Let us know what you find.

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Thanks again guys.  I might have to pick up a copy of the Mousehole Forge book.

I believe the horn does have a ridge on the bottom back near the base although that fads away as you move out the horn.  You can sort of see it in the last image I posted.  I will try to get a better picture under the horn this evening and post it.

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Yep, that's the same as my Mousehole anvils. I think you are safe to assume it was made by Mousehole and is probably rare due to the markings. 

Oh, BTW Postman's book on Mousehole forge is really interesting not just from the standpoint of their anvils but also it gives a very unique perspective on the history and development of iron working in England. 

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It was hard to get  a good picture that showed the ridge under the horn but this one does it OK.

hornunder.jpg

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CBL4823:  Based on what?  There are a couple of Sheffields in the USA but none I recall associated with anvil manufacturing; combined with the  smallish sharp topped feet would make me inclined to an English source.

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The evidence and the info you guys have shared with me so far has me fairly convinced it is English but if not I would love to hear evidence and reasoning supporting another origin.  Knowing a little history on where my anvil came from is what I am after.

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Search "Singer & Nicholson Co." , They made anvils back in the mid-1800s in Pittsburgh, PA at Sheffield Steel Works.

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Interesting, that makes some sense as the anvil was bought by my uncle at a flee market outside East Liverpool Ohio.  Pittsburgh is only about 40 miles away.  I can only find one reference to Singer, Nicholson & Co in the following link:

http://www.mygenealogyhound.com/pennsylvania-biographies/pennsylvania-allegheny-county-biographies/john-f-jennings-genealogy-allegheny-county-pennsylvania-pittsburgh.html#

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I think cbl4823 raises an interesting question however I don't know if a true answer about this anvil can exist until someone with a Sheffield OH anvil can come forward to show the style of construction and that can be compared to your small anvil. I have an open mind on this and would love to see the correct answer. i still go back to Postman's description of Mousehole anvils and he is very definitive about how a Mousehole is recognized. He basically says that the ridge on the underside of the horn is only found on Mousehole's.

Hopefully, someone out there has a real Sheffield OH anvil and would be kind enough to share it with us. It appears from the reference provided above Singer, Nicholson was only the the anvil making business for a very few years?

 

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I could see either origin being very plausible.  Hopefully some more information will come to light to sway us one way or the other.  Either way It is still likely to have been made in the mid to late 1800's and that is pretty cool in and of itself.  I think it may be one of the oldest things I currently own.

I popped it off its base tonight and took a picture of the bottom.  I was hoping to find more clues but there was no writing on anything else that jumped out at me.

 

bottom.jpg  

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For what it's worth, my Queens Dudley has a fairly pronounced ridge (comparable to the Mouse Hole that I used to have) so unless Mouse Hole made anvils for other companies I'm not sure it can be a smoking gun.

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