Anvil firing (also known as an anvil launching or an anvil shooting) is the practice of firing an anvil into the air with gunpowder.
Typically, two anvils are used: one as a base (placed upside down), and another one (also known as the "flier") as the projectile (placed right-side up, atop the base). Alternatively, a single anvil can be fired from a stone base. The space formed by the anvil's concave base is filled with black powder (not modern gunpowders, which have much higher energy densities) and a fuse is made to project out. The fuse is lit, and the resulting deflagration (the rapid combustion of the powder rather than detonation) sends the projectile anvil several feet into the air.
An alternative method is to place the bottom anvil right side up, and fill the hardy hole with black powder. A torus or washer, often made from a playing card, is placed over the hole, with a space for a fuse or powder trail. The top anvil is placed upside down, face to face with the bottom anvil.
Anvil firing was once commonly performed in the Southern United States as a substitute for fireworks during celebrations. One such noteworthy celebration was held on the day the state of Texas voted to secede from the Union. On February 23, 1861, Texas Ranger and prominent Union supporter, Thomas Lopton Campbell Jr., was held captive and forced to "fire the anvils" in the streets of Austin.
Anvils were also traditionally fired on St. Clement's Day, honoring Pope Clement I, the patron saint of blacksmiths and metalworkers.
Although its practice has lessened in recent years, enthusiasts still participate in anvil launching events and competitions.
Other articles related to "anvil firing":
... Postman, Richard (1998) ... Anvils in America ...
Famous quotes containing the words firing and/or anvil:
“Slowly, and in spite of anything we Americans do or do not do, it looks a little as if you and some other good people are going to have to answer the old question of whether you want to keep your country unshackled by taking even more definite steps to do soeven firing shotsor, on the other hand, submitting to be shackled for the sake of not losing one American life.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945)
“Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!”
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (18091882)