Rock Solid Anvil Collection

More than 200 anvils make up David Baker's blacksmith museum and anvil collection


| June 1999



David's collection includes several hundred "hardies," chisels used by blacksmiths.

David's collection includes several hundred "hardies," chisels used by blacksmiths. These, too, are growing scarce, often selling for $20 and up at farm auctions.

David Baker will go to almost any length to add to his anvil collection. 

Almost.

"I went to this one sale where an anvil was advertised," he said. "I got there, and didn't see one. Finally, the auctioneer said 'The anvil is at the bottom of the cistern.' All you could see was a horn sticking out."

David sized up the situation: 45 feet down, and a 300-lb. chunk of iron. He passed. But that's the only time in 40 years of collecting that he's walked away from a blacksmithing tool without putting up a fight for it.

He's lugged home some 200 anvils, weighing between 100 and 1,400 pounds, from farm sales and pawn shops. He's bought even more tongs and "hardies," the chisels that fit into the square holes on anvils. He houses the collection in what he calls his blacksmith museum: two buildings beside his farmhouse in Wentworth, Mo. He enjoys showing off the collection to interested folks, but doesn't keep regular hours.

David's love for blacksmithing was, uh, forged when he was 17, working for a local smith.