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Anvil in the garden

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 09, 2014

Allan Meddings' 'garden' anvil

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THERE are many objects we come across during our lives, whether through work, play, or education, that are inevitably taken for granted, both for what they are meant to be used for and their origins, and Mr Allan Meddings of Wolverhampton has brought the humble anvil to our attention because he is fortunate to have one in his back garden.

Allan sent us a picture of his treasured anvil and asked the following question. "The anvil is an historic engineering tool and by all accounts has been around for millennia, and because I used one during my working life, I have often asked myself the question, I wonder who designed it, when and where?

"My first experience of the working environment was in 1942 when I was employed at the Great Western Railway work shops in Stafford Road, Wolverhampton as a commercial apprentice assigned to the blacksmith's shop.

"There were eight hearths complete with anvils, a spring furnace, forge and two steam hammers, and I was on my own pretty much from day one. If my memory serves me correctly my only instruction from those showing me the ropes was, 'Get on with it'.

"In 1968 or thereabouts I found two anvils at a dismantled place of work and decided to put them to good use. One went into the firm where I was manager and was used almost every day, and the other I brought home and placed in the garden, once again being used many times in various ways. It is a fabulous piece of equipment, the mule of the forge shop, and I'm sure if it was patented today the inventor would make a small fortune."

Early anvils were first made of stone, then bronze, and later wrought iron, and as steel became more readily available anvils were faced with it. Many regional styles of anvil evolved from the simple block that was first used by smiths to the recognisable design seen today which is based on the London pattern anvil of the mid 19th century. The word anvil has its origins in the Dark Ages and in Old English, before the year 900, would have been spelt anfealt.

Are there any other gardens in the Black Country that have industrial tools from the past? If you have a story to tell in this regard please contact editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk, or Bugle House on 01384 567678.

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