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STEAM HAMMER

As a reminder that steam power was used for purposes other than driving engines, the Museum collection includes Steam Hammers. The Hammer is simply a reciprocating engine mounted vertically with a hammer on the end of the shaft while the steam is introduced through a special valve gear to raise or drop the hammer as required. Most of the larger Blacksmith stores owned a Steam Hammer and used it for a wide variety of forging work. Speed of operation and length of stroke could be varied to give light or heavy blows as needed, although precise operation required considerable skill on the operator’s part. Typical of a small Steam Hammer is the one owned by the Museum, built by Peter Pilkington of England circa 1905. The Museum’s Hammer was installed new in the Gear Meat Freezing Works engineering shop and spent its entire working life there.

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