Power hammer

Power hammer

A power hammer is a type of mechanical forging hammer used by blacksmiths and manufacturers from the late 1800's thru the modern day. The power hammer typically consists of a frame, anvil, and a reciprocating ram holding a hammer head. It is a direct descendant of the trip hammer but unlike the trip hammer the power hammer stores potential energy in an arrangement of mechanical linkages and springs or compressed air or steam and accelerates the ram on the downward stroke, providing more force than simply allowing the weight to fall. Power hammers are rated in the weight of the ram and range from between 25 pounds and 125 tons.

The earliest power hammers were powered by steam and were predominantly used in industrial settings. Steam hammers were made and used into the middle of the 20th century in the USA. At the end of the 19th century the mechanical power hammer became popular in smaller blacksmith and repair shops. The majority of these machines were powered by line shaft flat belt systems or later electric motors that rotated a crank on the machine that drove the ram. These machines were typically rated between 25 and 500 pounds of falling weight. Many may still be seen in use in artist-blacksmith shops today. In the middle of the 20th century power hammers driven by compressed air began to gain popularity and several manufacturers are currently producing these hammers today.


Freund, Douglas, Pounding Out The Profits, Mingus Mountain Machine Works, Jerome AZ, 1997 isbn 0-9657652-0-2

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