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Fisher anvil questions

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I'm considering purchasing 1 of 2 different Fisher anvils, and want to see if anyone knows of any manufacturing differences or quality differences based on when the anvils were made.

One is an anvil made, I think, in 1847 that has a very small Fisher Norris Cast Steel stamping and another stamping of Patent Oct 16th 1847.  The anvil is in good shape and I am somewhat familiar with this anvil so there is some sentimental value which I really shouldn't take into account for a tool.  Made in Newport ME before Fisher moved down to Trenton NJ.

The other anvil is made in 1919, stamped Fisher, with the eagle raised seal and is a bit bigger.

Similar price point so cost is not really a factor.

Both are in good shape and I think I would be very happy with either.  Just want to know if anyone knows of any differences in quality or manufacturing based on when these 2 anvils were made.

Thank you, Ken.


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Well, I wanted to leave the cost and weights out of the discussion to try to keep this focused on quality and manufacturing at the time each were made.  Both are over 250 lbs and the cost is over $1000.

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Both are great SOUNDING anvils, so it may come down to the little things that distinguish one from the other.  At over 250 lbs you have a pretty large anvil in each of them.  You are paying over $4 per pound so I would expect that the edges wouldn't be all chipped and dinged up and that the faces would be smooth without pitting, torch marks, etc.  Pictures would be helpful.  In a way it's like asking which Estwing hammer would be better to purchase......the old one with stacked leather handle or the older one with the stacked leather handle.  Both are hammers, both will hammer nails.  There's really only 72 years between them in age which is nothing in the way of anvils, so age seems irrelevant in deciding.

If it were me I'd remove price and age from the equation and make a list of pro's and con's of the little things.  Maybe one has a better eagle stamp than the other or maybe the other one has nicer edges.  As far as performance goes, It'd be tough to find some here who has used both of those specific year anvils.  Even if they had, it would be difficult to compare because each anvil is unique from the others made the same year.    

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Both anvils are in good shape, the older anvil actually looks to be in better shape, no visible rusting though there is some pitting on sides.  The pitting makes it hard to see the stamping for name, size, and date which are pretty small letters and numbers.  Older one looks like it was cleaned and some oil or wax applied.  Newer one looks a little rusty but not bad.  Tops of both are flat, relatively smooth, with no gouges, a couple of minor edge nicks and gouges but nothing major.  Newer one is about $3.50 per pound, older one is about $5.70 per pound.  I've been talking with the owner of the older anvil trying to get the price down which has worked some but I am trying to see if he will come down lower.  Originally he wanted over $7 per pound.  I do have a bit of a sentimental attachment to the older anvil which shouldn't apply but unfortunately it is.

I want to go see both of them but they are about a 6 hour car ride in opposite directions from where I live so I can't see both on the same trip.  Logically, the lower cost per pound is a better deal when all other things are equal.  I'm hoping someone knows something about differences in how they were made in the different years or if early anvils were not as good as later anvils (or early anvils were way better than later anvils).  The newer anvil is somewhat (maybe significantly) bigger than the older one and overall cost is similar.  I guess in the back of my mind, I"m thinking the older anvil is more rare and may be worth more as a result.  But, I'm not planning for this anvil to be a "collectable" anvil, it will go into and out of my shed, not be overly protected from weather, and beat on.  I live in a suburban area with neighbors close by and they sometimes don't like ringing from my PW anvils so I want a quieter anvil.



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I will try to answer some of this.....

The basic method of making Fisher anvils did not change much over their 120+ years of manufacturing.  The only difference I would put out there is that the steel face material was probably better in 1919 than 1850.  I have many anvils in the Fisher & Norris Museum, and most have held up well.  Of course I do not buy any that are worn out, missing faceplates, broken and the like.  Some anvils that are well over 150 years old look new, others are beat to death.  Same goes for the newer one.

Given the similarity in size and vast difference in price, I would think the 1919 one would be a better buy.

kjbarth...do I know you?  Perhaps you should visit the FN Museum and get an education on Fisher anvils.  Just contact me via PM for a time.


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