ANVIL (from Anglo-Saxon anfilt or onfilti, either that on which something is "welded" or "folded," cf. German falzen, to fold, or connected with other Teutonic forms of the word, cf. German amboss, in which case the final syllable is from "beat," and the meaning is "that on which something is beaten"), a mass of iron on which material is supported while being shaped under the hammer (see Forging). The common blacksmith's anvil is made of wrought iron, often in America of cast iron, with a smooth working face of hardened steel. It has at one end a projecting conical beak or bick for use in hammering curved pieces of metal; occasionally the other end is also provided with a bick, which is then partly rectangular in section. There is also a square hole in the face, into which tools, such as the anvil-cutter or chisel, can be dropped, cutting edge uppermost. For power hammers the anvil proper is supported on an anvil block which is of great massiveness, sometimes weighing over 200 tons for a 12-ton hammer, and this again rests on a strong foundation of timber and masonry or concrete. In anatomy the term anvil is applied to one of the bones of the middle ear, the incus, which is articulated with the malleus.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)