Structure and Parts of an Anvil
– An anvil consists of a large block of metal with a flattened top surface.
– The face of the anvil is the primary work surface and should be flat, smooth, and rounded to avoid marks and cracks on the workpiece.
– The face is hardened and tempered to resist deformation and maximize energy transfer.
– The horn of the anvil is a conical projection used for bending and drawing down stock.
– Some anvils have side horns or clips for specialized work.
– The step is the area between the horn and the face, used for cutting to prevent damage to the anvil face and cutting tools.
– An upsetting block is sometimes added to the anvil for upsetting steel.
– The hardy hole is a square hole for specialized forming and cutting tools.
– The pritchel hole is a small round hole used mostly for punching.
– Some anvils have multiple pritchel holes for added flexibility.

Placement and Types of Anvils
– Anvils should be placed near the forge to prevent heat loss in the workpiece.
– They need to be placed on a sturdy base made from impact and fire resistant materials.
– Common methods of attaching an anvil include spikes, chains, straps, clips, bolts, and cables.
– Traditional bases were made of hard wood logs or large timbers, while cast iron bases became popular in the industrial era.
– Modern bases can be fabricated from steel, dimensional lumber, or steel drums filled with oil-saturated sand.
– Anvils are designed for specific purposes and different types of metal workers.
– Examples include farrier anvils, general smith anvils, cutler anvils, chain maker anvils, armorers anvils, saw maker anvils, coach maker anvils, and more.
– Saw maker anvils have a harder surface for hammering on steel for saws.
Bladesmith anvils are rectangular with a hardy and pritchel hole, but no horn.
– Different styles of anvils include Bavarian, French Pig, Austrian, and Chinese turtle anvils.

Materials and History of Anvils
– Common blacksmith anvils are made of forged or cast steel, forged wrought iron with a hard steel face, or cast iron with a hard steel face.
Cast iron anvils are not suitable for forging as they crack and dent easily.
– Anvils with a smooth top working face of hardened steel welded to a cast iron or wrought iron body were historically used.
– Anvils have a projecting conical horn for hammering curved workpieces and a heel at the other end.
– They may also have a hardy hole, pritchel hole, and a softer pad for chisel work.
– Anvils were first made of stone, then bronze, and later wrought iron.
– Steel became more readily available, so anvils were faced with it to give them a hard face and prevent deformation.
– Regional styles of anvils evolved over time from the simple block used by smiths.
– The majority of anvils found in the US today are based on the mid-19th century London pattern anvil.
– Modern anvils are generally made entirely from steel.

Anvils in Popular Culture
– Anvils are depicted in the coat of arms of the Tohmajärvi municipality.
– Anvil firing, using gunpowder to launch an anvil into the air, is a popular tradition in certain regions of the US and England.
– Anvils are commonly used as props in cartoons, such as Looney Tunes and Animaniacs, for comedic effect.
– In an episode of Gilmore Girls, anvils are referenced as falling out of use on a general scale.
– Anvils are featured in books like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit, where dwarves use them for metalworking.

Anvils in Music and Media
– Anvils have been used as percussion instruments in famous musical compositions, including works by Louis Andriessen, Kurt Atterberg, and Benjamin Britten.
– The Beatles’ song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ prominently features an anvil, played by their roadie Mal Evans.
– Richard Wagner’s opera Der Ring des Nibelungen uses 18 tuned anvils in scene 3 of Das Rheingold and anvils in act I of Siegfried.
– Anvils are used as percussion instruments in various musical compositions, including Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 and John Williams’ scores for Jaws and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
– The anvil is used as a percussion instrument in Carl Michael Ziehrer’s composition ‘Der Traum eines österreichischen Reservisten’.
– Anvils are often used as props in cartoons like Looney Tunes and Animaniacs for comedic effect.
– In an episode of Gilmore Girls, anvils are referenced as falling out of use on a general scale.
– The show Animaniacs frequently includes gags and references to anvils, even featuring a kingdom named Anvilania.Sources: