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Anvil ID help please


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Hi guys, I just purchased and cleaned up this anvil. It's a 250# anvil, but there are only a few markings on it. Any help in ID'ing the make would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Numbers are located on the base under the horn. 

 

Numbers are 250 1885 32

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From the caplet on the underside of the base, I would say Trenton or Arm & Hammer. On the other number to the right of the weight 250 (serial number 188532) could that first number be an A prefix? Another clue would be power hammer marks under the heal (maybe put a picture of it). Are there any remnants of a maker mark on the side with the horn to the right (third picture down)? Hard to tell from the picture.

That is a nice looking anvil, ready to go back to work. I hope you have read about not doing any grinding, milling or welding on the hardened face.

BTW: Welcome aboard, if you put your general location in your profile, it will help answer the many questions that require knowing where in the world you are located.

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Blacksmithing has been in the family blood going back many generations to Europe. My father kept it alive, somewhat, now I'm setting up a shop to keep the skill with my young son. Not sure what we'll be making, most likely knives and ornamental objects, practical things like hinges and latches, etc. 

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Welcome aboard JD, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you'll have a much better chance of hooking up with members living within visiting distance. Telling us in one post isn't going to stick in anybody's memory after we open a different post. 

Looks like a Trenton but I'm wrong often enough I'm used to it.

Ah, we're typing simultaneously. Good to keep the family crafts going, is this your Father's anvil?

Frosty The Lucky.

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And you said you'd just bought it, sometimes I have a memory like a flash bulb. <sigh> I'm a TBI survivor and am thankful but I sure get tired of having such a rotten memory. I can remember some things from elementary school like yesterday but would have to write myself a note to remember what I had for dinner. 

Here's to you and your boy forging new times to pass on to his kids. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Just some info on Trenton anvils, Early ones were made in Germany and imported. Later they were made by the Columbus Forge & Iron and the Columbus Anvil & Forging Company. They also made many store brand anvils like Belknap and other hardware stores. There usually is a letter to the left of the weight which indicated  the letter of the last name of the maker.

I'm going from memory and sure someone with a copy of Anvils in America will be along to correct me and give a date range.

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The caplet indentation came after Trentons were being made in Columbus Ohio.  It looks like yours has a faceplate forge welded on; please do nothing to make it *thinner* as the uselife of the anvil depends on that faceplate.  It's a great general purpose anvil----solid sweet spot for industrial work and a nice horn and heel for ornamental work.

Was it excessively expensive?  Anvils seem to be in a bit of a bubble nowadays; so much so I encourage new smiths to go with improvised ones; yet folks willing to dig still seem to be finding a few at good prices.

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I wouldn't call it a bubble, it's supply and demand. People are recognizing that hard skills are important when the power goes out.  I have a Fulton 141# anvil as well. Until someone comes out producing new anvils en masse, the supply is lower than demand. 

Thanks for the input on the face. 

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I don't know that there is a lack of new anvil availability.  There seems to be a lack of knowledge that new anvils are freely available---a very inefficient market---and a lot of hype about old anvils that is just that, hype.  There is also a lack of consumer knowledge about anvils and so perhaps a perception that no good new anvils are out there---Companies selling "Real Steel" brand cast iron anvils for US$2 a pound or cast iron anvils marked on the box as "professional grade" vs something like the Acciaio steel anvils.

If all these folks starting out were told that a good improvised anvil could be sourced for 20 cents a pound; do you think current anvil prices would be as high as they are? Or if they were told that a new Acciaio anvil was a better anvil to use than a beaten up Vulcan?

I've never noticed a shortage of anvils at Quad-State but have noticed that as the prices have climbed more are showing up---from the last one I went to; part of *1* dealers haul:

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I'm trying to take advantage of what I see as a bubble and selling an anvil on CraigsList right now---you will notice it's NOT listed for sale on any blacksmithing sites as I think smiths could do better than paying US$4 a pound for my Peter Wright.

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You definitely have more experience in the arena so I will defer to your opinion.  I've seen some anvils going for $5-$6/lb.  Many people consider the newer anvils to be of lower quality Chinese steel.  This will obviously vary by manufacturer.

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There are a ton of new US made anvils on the market today in sizes from 50# to 450# that are made better than the old names.  No faces to delaminate, better alloys, better heat treating, one solid mass not several forge welded together.

JDSokol, I paid around $1 a pound for anvils from 1977 to 2016. I noticed a spike in prices after Forged in Fire came out.  Then they became the next hot "collectible" and that further fueled the price rise. Many of the FB sites created recently are by those selling the hype to maximize profits. To me they are simple tools, nothing more. I will always suggest an improvised anvil for those starting out on a budget. For the cost of many "vintage"  anvils I could outfit an entire smithy.

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I've noticed a lot of adds about how "collectible" anvils were; but really I've run across very few anvil collectors. In fact I think I've run across many more anvil hoarders than collectors.   So how many "collectors" with say over 250 anvils can you name? Josh; does the Fisher Museum have over 250?

1:   FM in central New Mexico

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I think the "bubble" in anvil prices may vary from region to region in the US because of the difficulty in shipping/transporting something as heavy as an anvil.  East of the Mississippi where there were historically more blacksmiths, more people, and more anvils there is more supply and prices should be less inflated.  In the west, with the possible exception of the Pacific Coast states there were fewer people and fewer blacksmiths there are fewer anvils around.  That, of course, is tied to demand assuming that it is a constant that X people per thousand want to acquire an anvil.  

Because anvils are a commodity that has a comparatively small number of total units things like an increased interest in a television program or a few collectors/hoarders/investors with financial resources can skew a market in a way that might not follow normal supply/demand models.

All that said, I agree with Thomas that a new blacksmith may be well served with an improvised anvil and that a "real" anvil can wait until they know that this is a craft/career/past time/hobby that they are going to love enough to put a major financial investment into.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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