Historic Anvils Are Hiding In Plain Sight

William Foster Anvil 1833 - Brown County Forge

Two weeks ago, I had a father and son in the Beginners Class. After going through the equipment briefing, we got to talking about old anvils.

Matt, the dad, started describing an anvil they had at home. It had been in the family for quite a while.

He said it had some markings on the side that you could barely make out.

I asked him to text me some photos when he got the chance.

Old Historic Anvils and the English Hundredweight System

A couple days after the class, Matt texted some photos over.

He also told me that he dated the anvil back to 1833 and figured out the manufacturer: William Foster.

One of the photos he sent of the William Foster showed some faint markings:

William Foster - English Hundredweight System - Brown County Forge

It’s hard to read, but it says: “1  1  19”

It would be amazing if we could read those as the weight of this anvil. Sadly, it doesn’t weigh 1,119 pounds.

The 1  1  19  is part of a system developed long ago called the English Hundredweight System.

The first 1 is a single hundredweight or 112 lbs.

The second 1 is a quarter hundredweight or 28 lbs.

The 19 is simply the pounds left over.

To get the total weight, you add the numbers together:

112 + 28 + 19 = 159 lbs.

That’s a decent sized anvil.

Here’s a handy calculator at AnvilFire.com for calculating hundredweight.

William Foster 1833 Anvil - Brown County Forge

Old Anvils are Pieces of History

If you live a long time, you’re bound to show some signs of wear and tear. The same is true for anvils.

This anvil was made in 1833. That’s creeping up on 200 years!

In 1833:

A big Thank You to Matt and Luke for Coming out the Forge and sharing this piece of history!

Father and Son Blackmith Class - Brown County Forge

Making Knives by Hand – May 20, 2018

Heavy Hammers, Hot Steel, and Making Knives by Hand

We had another great class at The Forge yesterday. A father and son team came by to try their hands at hand-hammering some knives out of railroad spikes.

They each started out with an old rusted spike (don’t worry they were purchased legally).

Through some focused hammerwork and some finishing, they came out with some great knives.

Here’s a “Before and After” shot of the two great-looking knives Chuck and Kyle made.

Knife Making Class Indiana - Brown County Forge

Hours of Work – Great Results

The guys hammered, hardened, shaped, tempered, polished, and sharpened for about three and a half hours.

It was a fairly warm day in the shop – 80+ degrees outside and quite a bit warmer next to the forge, but they persevered.

Chuck shared some memories that inspired them to take the class: a great-grandather’s anvil (who was a blacksmith for Cummins) and hot-forging a cold chisel as a high schooler.

Seeing a few episodes of the History Channel show “Forged in Fire” didn’t hurt either.

Father and Son Knife Class - Brown County Forge

Learn the Fundamentals and Make Something Useful

“Make something useful.” That could be the unofficial motto at Brown County Forge.

Everything that comes out of the shop has a use. Whether it’s a knife, a hook, a fire poker, or a bottle opener, it’s an object that is handmade to be used.

It’s great to see what each person comes up with in class each Saturday and Sunday. Every piece is different. Each one is unique.

Knife Making Class Indiana - Brown County Forge

Interested in taking a class? Feel free to take a look at the Classes page to see the next available date.