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I Forge Iron

Help To Date My Anvil Please!

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Hello Guys,

                        I hope somebody can help me date my newly acquired anvil.   I'm posting three pictures with this in the hope that it helps.

I'm not looking to value it, because it's not something I'll ever sell. So the value really means nothing to me. Unless it's to stick on the insurance. But I suspect any casual burglar would have a great deal of trouble shifting it anyway! Given that it's 224Lbs in weight. And will be twice that once I fasten it to the stand.

It's a Wilkinson Anvil...  The first picture shows the general over all look of it. It's a forged wrought iron body, with stamped lettering  and a forge welded top plate.  The top plate looks to have had a repair done at some point in the past, as the front section is clearly a welded in plate replacement.  That however doesn't in any way affect it's usability as the rebound seems to be pretty identical over the whole surface.  And it's a good rebound at well over 80% doing the ball bearing test...  The top plate is generally in superb condition, with no bad sag to it and mostly good clean edges. Over all has a small amount of surface rust, nothing serious, but is actually better than it looks in the photographs.  It also has a very good ring over the entire surface. The body appears quite old... and the letter stamps are very worn. To the point of being barely readable. 

Here's the best part.... It was the property of a professional smith. Who kept it under a bench as his spare, for 60 years. So in that time it's had very little use.  And he was kind enough to offer it to me as a gift, because of my interest in all things metal and metal working.  So it has cost me, the grand sum of nothing at all. It's a beautiful tool that I will treasure and use for the rest of my life. Before somebody else gets the use of it.


The first picture is the overall look....


This second picture, shows the lettering as it is.... with a bit of flour rubbed in to make it more visible...


This third picture shows my best guess at the lettering which seems to overlay what does remain quite closely.    There is also a large number 3 below this but it was off the edge of the photograph.

As I said above I'm trying to figure out the rough date it was made, but I'm struggling to do that from the information I can find on the web.  I do know it was made in Dudley, England. In fact the anvil is still in the UK. I'm in Cornwall... I also suspect that as they didn't bother to put DUDLEY ENGLAND on it because it was never designed to be an export model.   But any information you guys can help with would be appreciated.

Best regards,

Purple Bob.

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Just glancing through AiA best guess is early to mid 1800's. Probably between 1830 - 1870, leaning toward the 1830 range.  This is just a best guess.

I can't see any repair from the photo.  By the photo it looks like it has never seen a hammer. 

Great gift.  It's a dandy.


The stamping most likely isn't worn.  Most all anvil manufacturers had poor stamps most of the time.  Barely legible right out of the factory.


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check the pritchel hole; if it looks to have been drilled then it was a retrofit and the anvil is probably in the 1800-1830 range.  If it shows signs of being punched then it dates to the original manufacture and so dates after 1830---ish.  Definitely before the law requiring country of origin marking for import into the USA either way!

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Thanks for the information guys!!   It looks like it's earlier than I thought then. 

Rob, I agree it is an absolute Dandy! I caught myself today just standing staring at it. 

John, It's been sweet talking me all week, trying to get me in the mood for a hammering LOL.

Thomas, thanks for the further clue to it's age, I'll take a look at the pritchel in the morning and see how it's formed. I think it was probably hot punched, but I'll see if I can make out any machining marks in the hole. I'll post again when I've had a look. I'll see if I can photograph the hole.

Best regards,

Purple Bob.

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Usually it's evidence of a bulge on the bottom side that indicates punching.

OK! Thanks Thomas.... Finally got time to check that out....

The news is that it does have a slight bulge at the bottom and it seems consistent with the one around the Hardy Hole... So that would date it post 1830.   Leaning towards the early end of the 1830 to 1860 ish range, as a result of what I have been told is the earlier style leg shape.

That's great guys. Thanks for all your help and advice....  It's getting some "English War Bow" arrow heads, made on it this weekend as its very first job.

Best Regards

Purple Bob.

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