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ANVIL (from Anglo-Saxon anfilt or onfilti, either that on
which something is “welded” or “folded,” cf. German falzen,
to fold, or connected with other Teutonic forms of the word,
cf. German amboss, in which case the final syllable is from
“beat,” and the meaning is “that on which something is
beaten”), a mass of iron on which material is supported while
being shaped under the hammer (see Forging). The common
blacksmith’s anvil is made of wrought iron, often in America
of cast iron, with a smooth working face of hardened steel.
It has at one end a projecting conical beak or bick for use in
hammering curved pieces of metal; occasionally the other end
is also provided with a bick, which is then partly rectangular in
section. There is also a square hole in the face, into which tools,
such as the anvil-cutter or chisel, can be dropped, cutting edge
uppermost. For power hammers the anvil proper is supported
on an anvil block which is of great massiveness, sometimes
weighing over 200 tons for a 12-ton hammer, and this again
rests on a strong foundation of timber and masonry or concrete.
In anatomy the term anvil is applied to one of the bones of the
middle ear, the incus, which is articulated with the malleus.
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