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Iron block on which metal is placed for shaping, originally by hand with a hammer. The blacksmith's anvil is usually of wrought iron (sometimes of cast iron), with a smooth working surface of hardened steel. A projecting conical beak, or horn, at one end is used for hammering curved pieces of metal. When power hammers are used, the anvil is supported on a heavy block, which in turn rests on a strong foundation of timber and masonry or concrete. See alsosmithing.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on anvil, visit Britannica.com.