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Unique specialty block

Unique specialty block:

This is a single purpose block made for producing one fairly heavy part. Until tooling reached a level where closed dies could be made for steam hammers parts were made by hand with the help of steam or "drop" hammers in a process called "open die" or "blacksmith" forging. In this process parts were shaped just like a smith doing it by hand except for the size of the part required to power of a machine. This swage block appears to be a fine dressing or sizing gauge for a part made that way.

All we can do is guess at what this single purpose block was made for but it appears to be the end of a connecting rod of some type or perhaps a valve bonnet. I would bet it was for a steam engine crank. The large center impression is the shape of a connecting rod end with a cut out for a crank journal (shaft) piece to be fitted. The rest of the round holes, half rounds and depression with shoulders appear to be for dressing specific locations on the part, making pieces that fit the part or for gauging the part.

Weight 104 lbs. (47.2 kg)
Dimensions 7" x 16" x 4 1/2". (178 x 406 x 114 mm)

There are 15 holes in the block, starting at 7/16". The largest hole measures 1 1/4".

Steve Prillwitz collection.

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