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Can anyone educate me on what the purpose of this cut-out is on this large (~500 lb.) anvil? I've never seen something like this and can't guess what it could be used for.

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It was for a blacker power hammer. Do a search and you'll see a bunch of examples.

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Made by Fisher, if memory serves; if so, an excellent anvil.

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So I found some pictures and video clips but I still can't understand what the cut-out is for. The hammer hits in the middle of the face but there doesn't seem to be any correlation between the power hammer and the cut-out. 

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On a Blacker powerhammer that hammer can transverse from side to side; so you can set it to use tooling in either hardy hole, or just hit in the middle of the face OR you can set it so that the outer edge of the hammer face  aligns exactly with the inner edge of the cut out---very handy in certain situations.   There is probably a weight and a serial number stamped into the side of the face outside of the cut out that would be interesting to know. (I was told my Blacker Fisher was 515# when I bought it and found it stamped 469# of course at 70 cents a pound...)

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Quite possibly or even a different powerhammer with the same traverse ability. Manufacturers can change what they use three times a day if that makes economic sense to their process.

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It's supposed to be a Fisher Blacker anvil, comes with a 250# cast iron base with "Blacker Engineering Corp, New York" in raised letters. No pictures of the other sides showing any stamps. (It's up on an auction site so not much info is provided.)

 

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As Soderfors anvils were cast steel I would consider it a step up on a Fisher; HOWEVER believe no weight till you see it on a scale!

Their ad calling it a Fisher is like selling a car with Pontiac on the grill as a Ford!

I suspect it will go excessively high!

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