This large steam hammer was originally from Richard W. Carr, Wadsley Forge, Sheffield. This is a ½ CWT hammer head, which is the weight of the actual head that hits the forging at around five times per second. The large bed weighs over seven tons and always rested on straw between the ground and the bed.
To operate a steam hammer required a team of men, usually consisting of two men turning and positioning the shaft being forged; an operator who pulled the lever, letting a blast of steam into the cylinder which drove down the hammer; and the overseer, whose job it was to tell the various operatives when to do their work. The overseer was looking down the object being forged, as the human eye is said to be accurate to a thousandth of an inch.
The saying in many forging mills where they used steam hammers was, “Gi’er a crick o’ th’ neck and a twitch o’ th’eye”.