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H. Boker German Trenton Anvil


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I picked up this anvil for $50 about a year ago. Obviously it's in pretty rough condition with the heel being broken off, but the edges are in usable shape and the face is relatively clean with some minor pitting. It has about 80-85% rebound and weighs exactly 200 pounds as is. 

I know that this anvil was made before 1898 in Germany by H. Boker and is marked as 234 pounds but I have a few questions. First off, about what year was this anvil made and where in Germany? (What factory/forge produced it?)

Secondly, how was this anvil made? Was it forge welded together from multiple pieces since there is evidence of forge weld lines (other than the face plate weld), Or was it entirely forged under a hammer from one block of wrought iron with a face plate welded on?

My final question for now is, is this anvil rare? I've only seen a few other anvils exactly like this one on the internet but never around this size (The largest being 166 pounds). The others I've seen had *rare* highlighted in the title.

P.S. How would the heel break off? Was it from forging a hardy tool with sledges and the (possible) butt welded heel simply snapped off?

Thanks for any info.1500420919916699960364.thumb.jpg.91393f0a4753f4656076c45cb874615e.jpg

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Welcome aboard Wyatt, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the Iforge gang live within visiting distance.

I don't see anything unusual or special about your Trenton. I doubt the break has anything to do with the hardy hole or forging a bottom tool. With as little damage as the face has I'm leaning towards a "mill defect". (A flaw in manufacture.) Of course that's speculation.

It's not an unusual size, there are a LOT of Trentons in the 200-250lb range it's a good shop size that wouldn't break the bank to ship a distance. I have one marked as 206lbs. and weighing around 200.  I don't know the age of mine, dating it isn't as important as using it.

As a side note. Everybody, EVERYBODY puffs adds. Any old tool is an antique so you gotta puff harder and call it a RARE!! Antique. Just because the guy selling the car says his grandmother bought it new and only drove it alternate Wednesdays to the Piggly Wiggly to buy groceries doesn't mean you shouldn't have a mechanic check it before handing over a dime.

I don't pay for old and rusty unless something is really special. A seller who gets pushy about how valuable an antique is gets a much reduced counter offer from me and I start cataloging how severely all the damage, wear and neglect reduce the value of such a common tool. Sometimes it even works. ;)

Your anvil looks like a good solid user, very good rebound and good condition, I'd put it to work earning a prettier anvil to impress visitors with. There are a lot of advantages to making and using a portable hole vs. a hardy hole in the anvil.

Good score.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Rare in the fact that most of them are not damaged that way.  Would you pay extra for a 2018 car because it was totaled with less than 20 miles on the odometer?  It's rare!

That is an excellent anvil for using, good weight and face and I would have been putting out the flames on my money from yanking it out of my pocket so fast to buy it myself.

Go hit hot steel on it!

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Wyatt welcome to IFI. I have an anvil that looks an awful lot like yours and of similar size. I have never been able to positively identify the maker but based on its limited markings and features I am leaning toward it most likely being Peter Wright. I'm sure you have noticed that anvils by various makers have characteristics unique to themselves particularly in their shape (I am referring stricly to London pattern anvils here), i.e. the waist of a typical Hay Budden is shaped slightly differently than that of other makers, etc. So one can develop on eye for identifying an anvils maker by its general appearance at a distance before you get closer and begin scrutinizing marks such as stampings. Mine sure looks an awful lot like yours and I have always thought "Peter Wright" but it lacks the markings most PWs have. It has only 2 - 1 - 17 and below that, right where the 3 is on yours where the 234 appears is an upper case B on mine. Thats it, no other markings whatsoever. The shape of mine matches yours, in detail throughout and mine has the shelved feet like yours and lots of PWs I have seen. By the way, I have a 114 lb American Wrought brand anvil with the shelved "Peter Wright" feet and I have seen Soderfors anvils with them as well so PW had no monopoly on that. The underside (base) of mine is also flat like yours, actually flatter/smooth whereas yours appears slightly rippled. All of my handling holes match yours. My hardy hole is 1 1/4" and my pritchel hole is 5/8". When I first posted pics of this anvil here several years ago someone mentioned it may be a Boker made in Germany, the first I had heard of that name.  According to the descriptions of Trenton anvils listed by Matchlessantiques on Worthpoint in previous auctions Hermann Boker was a broker who had anvils made in Germany by Trenton and by Peter Wright in England. I don't know if Herr Boker had any connection with the  Columbus Forge And Iron Company of Columbus Ohio which began production of anvils in 1898 until 1953 with the name Trenton and the same diamond trademark. German production was first, then in Ohio but I don't know when German production ceased or when PW stopped making Trentons for Herr Boker in England. Prior to 1908 Trenton anvils had the concave hourglass underside, those made after that have a concave oval underside. Every Peter Wright I have ever seen including both my 269 lber and my 93 lber have flat bottoms with a handling hole in the center. I will likely never know for certain where or when my anvil was made. Could be Germany, could be England. Could be Trenton, could be PW. Sure, it would be neat to know positively but ultimately it really doesn't matter. Anvils are like children, we don't question their origin we just feel blessed to have them and love them as they are unconditionally.

931065-R1-07-14A_008.jpg

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I forgot to mention the best part. After about a year and a half of looking all over the map I finally found this one (my first) at a barn sale in the summer of 2001, almost tripped over it actually as I stepped into the barn from the bright sunlight before my eyes could adjust. $65. I thought I might have to defibrilate myself with my jumper cables but somehow I managed to pay the lady and not pass out.

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One issue with the general shape theory is that a lot of the folks that started their own anvil manufacturing shops in the UK had first worked at either Mousehole or Peter Wright and so their anvils often look quite like the ones they used to make there.  (You can often tell where they learned from their conformation)

However in general there are only two types of anvils:  Good Using Ones, and Un-good Ones; and the maker doesn't mean much as even a good brand can have face delamination or have lost its temper in a structure fire---which were fairly common back in the days of wood heat and wooden structures---not  to mention thatched roofs!

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3 hours ago, Ferrous Beuler said:

I forgot to mention the best part. After about a year and a half of looking all over the map I finally found this one (my first) at a barn sale in the summer of 2001, almost tripped over it actually as I stepped into the barn from the bright sunlight before my eyes could adjust. $65. I thought I might have to defibrilate myself with my jumper cables but somehow I managed to pay the lady and not pass out.

Wow, i would love to have that kind of luck, that sounds like a dream.

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