A good explanation can be found in R.L. Wilson's great book:
The Peacemakers. (Arms and Adventure in the American West)
The Institution has European origins. In the United States, it dates from colonial times. It came West with the gold rush. Continuous events have been held in California since the 1850s, usually tied in to celebrating the anniversary of California's admission to the Union, September 9th.
" To see the loading, gasketing and lighting, using fuse or forge-heated iron rod, to witness the explosion, and floating top anvil amid the billowing cloud of dense, white smoke, while the concussion of the low level shock wave hits your chest with a friendly thump as you try to listen for the humming ring of the 'flyer', is indeed inspirational, if not singularly stupendous!"
Well, I'm doing my best to keep this grand tradition alive here in Spokane! I've got a very nice (if small; 72 pounds) Peter Wright anvil made probably in the 19th century. I got it in a pawn shop in downtown Spokane for $125. That's my bottom anvil. I've done a little "work" on it to make it a "Racing" anvil. 8^) The top anvil (the "Flyer") was given to me by a crazy friend with initials Jeff Knight. It weighs about 50 pounds and sure looks good twenty feet in the air streaming a smoke contrail!
Preparing the bottom anvil. (Loading powder, gasketing, etc.)
Both anvils in place ready to fire!
Did you hear the phone ringing?! (Phone sitting on a 7 pound iron transformer.) (Got about 100 feet with the phone!)
Now we're getting strange... (Transformer, a mini-pumpkin and 2 pinecones...?)
Miniature all steel anvils! (Got 3 inches elevation and a mighty "...pop...".)
Here is a
I did to help explain the details of how I practice this "art".
Please read this before even thinking about trying this for yourself!
Comments or suggestions?