Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The lost "art" of anvil blasting

This past weekend was 4th of July weekend here in the states -- in which Americans celebrate their independence and their God-given right to host barbecues and blow the smithereens out of their own yards and neighborhoods. Hey, what do you expect from a country that has the lyrics, "And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air," in its national anthem?

And, BOY, do we love fireworks. Never mind that fireworks were invented in China. Never mind that, every year, some American SOMEwhere finds a way to lose a limb and/or set a building on fire by doing something STOOpid with fireworks. We've always been more than happy to make fireworks a big part of 4th of July celebrations -- or ANY celebration, for that matter. I can't tell you how many times well-meaning folks in my home town (Indianapolis) have tried to get fireworks banned because, well, they ARE dangerous. The bans never work, though, and Indianapolis neighborhoods still, always end up looking and sounding like war zones on July 4th.

I guess the people who always try to ban fireworks should be grateful that most Americans no longer celebrate the 4th of July via anvil blasting. In fact, most Americans don't even know what anvil blasting IS anymore, mostly due to the fact that there aren't many blacksmiths around these days.

What's anvil blasting, you say? Oh, it's how Americans USED to celebrate their independence, approximately 100+ years or so ago. Anvil blasting is very simple. Here's what you do: You go to the village blacksmith, get an anvil (which usually weighs a ton or so), have a bunch of guys hoist it up and rest it on top of a big keg of gunpowder, light a fuse leading to the keg, and then RUN LIKE HELL. The goal is to blast the anvil as high up in the air as possible.

Of course, the problem is, anvils don't always cooperate. They may go sideways instead of straight up. Or, they may blast into pieces and send shrapnel flying every which way. And, of course, no one wants to have a flying anvil LAND on them. It's not hard to imagine why several states made anvil blasting illegal 100 or so years ago. Even so, some historical societies still hold anvil-blasting events across the country every July 4th, in an attempt to "recreate history." Uh, HUH.

I must admit, watching a huge anvil fly across the sky WOULD be pretty damn cool, in a MythBusters "we like to blow stuff up" sort-of way. Personally, though, I'm glad there are no blacksmiths anywhere near MY neighborhood.


MJenks said...

By your national-anthem logic, though, wouldn't that mean that the French would celebrate Bastille Day by slitting the throats of everyone they see?

Anvil blasting sounds effing awesome. I must look into this further. Thanks for the heads up.

SallyP said...

I had never even heard of Anvil Blasting. It's rather comforting to know that incredible stupidity is NOT a modern phenomenon.

I have to say however, that I would LOVE to see this on mythbusters.

Thomas Fummo said...




*holds up a wodden board that reads 'OUCH' in preparation for the inevitable*