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Anvil

From Academic Kids

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Blacksmith_at_work02.jpg
A blacksmith working iron with a hammer and anvil
An anvil
An anvil

An anvil is a manufacturing tool, consisting of a hard and massive block of stone or metal used as a support for hammering or chiseling other objects. Anvils have been used since late neolithic times by smiths of all kinds for metal work, although the tool was also used in much earlier epochs for stone and flint work.

There are many designs for anvils, which are often tailored for a specific purpose or to meet the needs of a particular smith. A typical metal-worker's anvil has a flat face where the metal is shaped, a softer pad for chisel work, and a horn for bending the metal. Some anvils have a tail, most Anvils made in the last two centuries also have a Hardy hole and a Pritchel hole, which allow the smith to insert various tools to be held by the anvil. Some anvils have several hardy and pritchel holes, to accommodate a wider variety of hardy tools and pritchels.

A typical metalworker's anvil, with horn at one end and flat face at the other, was a familiar sight at a blacksmith's shop, but is now more familiar to many as one of the standard props for animated cartoon gags. For example, in one Road Runner episode, a falling Wile E Coyote overtakes the anvil he has just dropped from a balloon, arriving at the ground first to then have the anvil arrive on top of him. The visual hyperbole of overtaking the falling anvil accentuates the speed of the coyote's descent. Such gags were celebrated in the Tiny Toon Adventures series when anvilology, the study of the improbable physics of falling anvils, was a subject taught by Yosemite Sam.

There are many references to anvils in ancient Greek and Egyptians writing including Homer's works. The anvil was perfected during the middle ages when iron working was commonplace.

Anvils have been used as percussion instruments in several famous musical compositions including Verdi's Trovatore (1853), Wagner's Das Rheingold (1854), and pieces by Lully. There are at least two notable compositions titled Anvil Polka, one by Albert Parlow, the other by Strauss traditionally features a percussionist wearing a leather apron.

See also:


  • Anvil is also the name given to cloud formations that resemble the tool.
  • Anvil is also the name given to the incus bone in the middle ear.
  • Anvil is also a physics/textures/sounds editor for Marathon Infinity.
  • Anvil is also a slang term used by the recappers at Television Without Pity. Anvil/anvilicious: Used to indicate obvious or heavy-handed writing that has no regard for the viewer's intelligence, thus bludgeoning them over the head with parallels, et al., in the manner of Wile E. Coyote and his Acme Brand anvils.
  • The Anvil was the nickname of professional wrestler Jim Neidhart.ca:enclusa

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