Anvils in America book cover Anvils in America, Second printing with slip cover

Anvils in America by Richard Postman

According to David Poppke poppke@plains.nodak.edu

"At last!! A book about anvils, after 15 years of research. The history, manufacture, identification, and much more about anvils made in America and the anvils imported for resale or brought to America by smiths from about 1600-1997. 564 pages of text and graphics on 70# Sterling Litho Satin paper. Over 770 illustrations of which almost 300 are photographs."

The pre release description above does not do the book justice! This book is huge! (11¼ x 8½ x 1½ inches and almost 5 pounds!). When I ordered this book I thought it was a little pricey but after getting my hands on it I realized that it was worth as much as any of the $200 references I have bought from ASM!
- anvilfire guru

The first thing that catches your eye on opening the book is a beautiful color painting commissioned for the book called "The last anvil makers", by Nathan Green. The second printing uses that painting for the new slipcover. The book starts with your usual anvil basics illustrated by dozens of photos by the author (which by the way were well taken and reproduced with skill). Postman then goes on with a history of anvils and reproductions of hundreds of original anvil ads and fliers illustrated by even MORE of Postman's photos. He also reproduces important historical patents AND patents for strange oddball anvil "systems" that may or may (more likely) not have been manufactured. There are numerous lists of makers marks and anvil stories collected by the author. The history of numerous American and English makers is given.

After seeing all this you think, "What more could there be?"

Well. . . There are fliers from most of the modern anvil makers with specs and even more photos!

Sonoma Anvil Old German Anvil
Color photos of two "Colonial" anvils from back of new slipcover
Then we get to the part that interested me the most, an article by Jim Austin of the California Blacksmiths Association on forging anvils including historical photos of the process. The article describes and shows anvils being forged, welded and ground. There is also an article with drawings taken from a Hey-Budden sales booklet describing the manufacture of anvils.
The last anvil makers (c) Nathan Green
The last anvil makers
(c) 1996 Nathan Green
Illustration from Hay-Budden booklet
Illustration from
Hay-Budden booklet

The book also includes all kinds of anvil miscellany. Ads and trademarks using anvils, miniature advertising anvils and the hilarious Christmas card images created by Gill Fahrenwald, "Caught in a shower of anvils" and "Roasting marshmellows over an open anvil" (No, we didn't get our anvilfire! logo idea from Gill. It just goes to show that great minds DO think alike!).

There is also a smattering of vise, swage block and other forging/blacksmithing tools and equipment shown, which makes the book even more interesting to those of us who have collected these old tools for years. I learned that the one post vise I have with markings was probably made at the "Mouse Hole Forge" by Brooks and Cooper, one of the successors to M&H Armitage. This book is about anvils in America, The author notes that there is still a world full of European and Asian anvils to research and record! Mr. Postman also told me that he had a great deal more detailed information that wouldn't fit in the book! Another volume maybe? I hope so!

NOTICE: The author has received numerous complaints about this book! Apparently it causes insomnia in certain individuals!

Champion bridge anvil
Champion bridge or railroad anvil

Postscript - In the months since its release this book has become THE blacksmiths and collectors standard reference about anvils.

In the (now two) years since publication, Anvils in America has continued to be the indespensible reference for many of us. It is so full of information that no matter how many times you read it or refer to it you are always surprised to find something new.


At Mousehole The author, Richard Postman, right at Mousehole Forge, Great Britian, with John Hatfield, October 1998.

Already researching the followup book!


Hard cover, cloth bound, and Smyth sewn.

FIRST EDITION Copyright 1998:
A limited first printing of 1000 books, numbered, dated, personaly inscribed and signed. The numbers were assigned as the orders are received. Numbered editions were sold out by Christmas 1998.

SECOND PRINTING (1999):
Same fine construction as the first with the addition of a beautiful color slipcover. Copies ordered here on-line personaly inscribed signed by the author. The cost is $59.95 plus $6.00 shipping and handling per copy for the U.S. Overseas customers see our on-line order form for shipping costs.

This book is NOT available through Amazon.com

THIRD PRINTING (September, 2003):
With the upcoming third printing this becomes one of the top books in popularity on a blacksmithing subject! Congratulations to Richard Postman!

July 2003: MOUSEHOLE FORGE:
Another book by Richard Postman. History of the famous British anvil making plant and its proprietors.

FOURTH PRINTING (October, 2006):
Anvils in America continues to be one of the most popular books in blacksmithing! Due to printing costs the price on this massive book finally increases a small amount to $65 US. Congratulations to Richard Postman!



NOTE: Use of "The last anvil makers" (c) Nathan Green and other images are reproduced here under the "fair use" clause of the 1984 copyright act. Reproduction elsewhere is possible copyright infringement.

anvilfire graphic (c) 1989 Patrick Dempsey
The anvilfire anvil started from a true scale CAD drawing of a friend's 350 pound Hay-Budden anvil. This had a scanned photo of fire, shading and texture added by Patrick Dempsey a student (now graduate) of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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