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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Sun 15 Oct, 2006 1:46 pm    Post subject: Renaissance armourer t-shaped anvil found in Northern Italy         Reply with quote

It seems I hit my jackpot today at a flea market.

An old man sold me for a good amount of money an ancient renaissance t-shaped anvil found in Gualtieri (Reggio Emilia), Northern Italy.

It had belonged for generations to a family of smiths, the last representative of which gave it to this antiquarian.

This smith knew it was used in his historical forge for "making cuirasses in the XVII century".

The anvil is identical to the model photographed and described on page 29 of the book by Vannozzo Posio "Le armature delle Grazie tra storia e leggenda" (the Grazie's Amrors between history and legend (Diocesan Museum Edition, Mantova).


Posio states that such anvil is "one of the kind used by the smith-armorers": the grazie's armors date back to the early Xv century, so the piece could even be older

The piece exhibits some light distress but it is in a good shape, with no major pitting at all.

Blackish color.

Ten centimeters longer than Posio's piece.

I plan to contact some big gun expert to have a definitive opinion on it.



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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Oct, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Renaissance armourer t-shaped anvil found in Northern It         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
It seems I hit my jackpot today at a flea market ....

Congratulations on your find. I am not an armourer, nor do I have access to the Posio book, so cannot quite see how the t-shaped anvil is applied. (I assume, though, that it will not stay in your living room or parlor with the sofa and carpet? Laughing Out Loud )It seems that the anvil "leg" must fit into a fixture of some kind to hold it up? I imagine that one would hammer a sheet of steel along the long top of the T to try to keep a section of the sheet straight along the T-top, but allow the sheet to curve off to either side?

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Nate C.




Location: Palo Alto, CA
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Oct, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure about the age of it but it looks like a forming stake or mandrel type stake. Stakes are fitted into the square hole in an anvil and used for specialised forming tasks.

Chears

Nate C.

Sapere Aude
"If you are going to kill the man, at least give him a decent salute." - A. Blansitt

If they ever come up with a Swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, then Jumping Off Something. --Jack Handy
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sun 15 Oct, 2006 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nate C. wrote:
I'm not sure about the age of it but it looks like a forming stake or mandrel type stake. Stakes are fitted into the square hole in an anvil and used for specialised forming tasks.

Chears


No the bulb is much more wide than any hardy hole, also the total length of the arms is almost 80 cms.

They were mounted alone on stumps.

It is slender but it is vey wide.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sun 15 Oct, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Renaissance armourer t-shaped anvil found in Northern It         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:
It seems I hit my jackpot today at a flea market ....

Congratulations on your find. I am not an armourer, nor do I have access to the Posio book, so cannot quite see how the t-shaped anvil is applied. (I assume, though, that it will not stay in your living room or parlor with the sofa and carpet? Laughing Out Loud )It seems that the anvil "leg" must fit into a fixture of some kind to hold it up? I imagine that one would hammer a sheet of steel along the long top of the T to try to keep a section of the sheet straight along the T-top, but allow the sheet to curve off to either side?


Believe it or not, it is kept under my bed.
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Oct, 2006 5:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome find! Cool

Steve, you've got it right as to usage - these kind of anvils (commonly designed as stakes for modern armourers) are great for all kinds of forming tasks; especially long ones like this. I can see working arms and legs (especially greaves) over this as well as possibly some work late in the production of a helm - like getting very close to the point of a bascinet after forming it enough that you can't get much else into the helm to support the metal from the inside.

Tools are neat Happy
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Arne Focke
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Location: near Munich, Germany
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Oct, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If your source is reliable, I congratulate you. It is always nice to own old tools like that.

Just to add a little bit more information:
Its form was used over centuries with only slight variations, which were determined by its utilisation. Here is a picture of two specimens from our own workshop.



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So schön und inhaltsreich der Beruf eines Archäologen ist, so hart ist auch seine Arbeit, die keinen Achtstundentag kennt! (Wolfgang Kimmig in: Die Heuneburg an der oberen Donau, Stuttgart 1983)
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Oct, 2006 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arne Focke wrote:
If your source is reliable, I congratulate you. It is always nice to own old tools like that.

Just to add a little bit more information:
Its form was used over centuries with only slight variations, which were determined by its utilisation. Here is a picture of two specimens from our own workshop.


This is my book example

http://docs.google.com/View?docid=d8st4gw_0crcs5s

I have yet to show it to any museum curator but I have already an appointment with one.

The old man didn't know anything about my hobby.

I just asked him what this strange thing was.

I paid it the right price for an old anvil, which makes furtherly less suspicious this story.

Another pic of the thing

http://docs.google.com/View?docid=d8st4gw_2c3cg6b
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Oct, 2006 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arne Focke wrote:
If your source is reliable, I congratulate you. It is always nice to own old tools like that.

Just to add a little bit more information:
Its form was used over centuries with only slight variations, which were determined by its utilisation. Here is a picture of two specimens from our own workshop.


The big difference is in the bulb size: in both historical examples this is all too big for an hardy hole.

These were self-sustained anvils, that were collared into a stump.

It is not an hardy hole tool.

Mine bulb is 5 cm wide.
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Oct, 2006 4:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is quite a nice find. Fun when you can find "little treasures" such as these! (Although not nearly as antique nor historically interesting, I stumbled over an old post vise this past weekend and picked it up at the cost of scrap steel!!!) One thing I have found to be interesting in my forming/forging work is how versatile such a seemingly simple tool as this can be. Smiths/armourers of old were true craftsmen indeed. Through the use of different hammering techniques and hammers themselves, this piece could have been used for socketing, raising, bending, rolling, possibly some fluting... I've seen a lot of these type of stakes used in jewelery work, albeit much scaled down.

I think you are likely correct in that this would have been mounted separately in a stump or some other foundation, especially if this was a primary tool, but there are also blocks or anvils with holes much larger than the typical 0.75 - 1.25 inch hardy which may also have been employed. Given the multitude of tools that would have been in an armoury, the use of valuable space (especially in relation to other tools and fixtures - the forge, for example - no fun running with yellow-hot steel across the shop) of significant consideration.
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2006 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After a terrible trip I was finally able to meet Vannozzo Posio at his home.

He is one of the foremost experts of armor and blades in Italy.

He is the curator of the Mantova's Diocesan Museum, having also recently published a new study on the origin of the Grazie's armor that I will translate for this forum very soon.

Mr Posio is also a curator for other minor arm museums; he writes regularly for the italian magazine "Diana armi", while being consulted by foreign and italian museums.

He examined my anvil and he nourishes few doubts about it being a good piece, he thinks that most likely the vendor's story is correct.

My next step will be looking for an archeologist capable to exmine it from a archeometallurgical point of view for a final investigation.

Happy
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