Small anvil from the workshop of James Watt
Small anvil bench stake
This item is part of the contents of the workshop that Scottish engineer James Watt developed at his home, Heathfield, at Handsworth, Birmingham. Although Watt is best known for his work on the steam engine, his workshop contains a wide variety of objects from many different projects, from chemistry to sculpture-copying.
The description of the item was written by Edward Collins, the land agent responsible for Heathfield when the workshop was given to the Science Museum in 1924. Collins could not always identify what he was looking at, but always described what he saw clearly. This has allowed his descriptions to form the basis of subsequent research.
This anvil bench stake was intended to be driven into the bench-top or into a moveable block of wood, but the scars on it show that it was probably gripped in a bench vice. It would have been used to hammer small metal parts into shape.