ASME-Landmark:Creusot Steam Hammer


The introduction of steam-powered forging hammers by French and British engineers of the 1830s led to the building of an impressive hammer at Creusot that delivered blows to shape and strengthen iron and steel objects before forging. It was for years the most powerful steam hammer in the world—but was still, as a writer observed in 1878, "capable of... corking a bottle without breakage."

The hammer is composed of four distinct parts—the foundation including the anvil, the legs, the steam cylinder and its valves and linkages, and finally, the active mass itself—the piston, piston rod, hammerhead and die. With a striking capacity of 100 tons and a stroke of 5 meters, it worked massive iron and steel shafts, piston rods, and other forgings for fifty-four years, until its retirement in 1930.

M.M. Schneider & Co., designers of the Creusot Hammers, joined an international family of pioneers in steam hammer building, including Nasmyth of England, Krupp of Germany, and Sellers of the United States. Steam hammers helped to increase industrial capacity while decreasing the burden on industrial workers throughout the world.

In 1969, the Creusot Steam Hammer was disassembled and rebuilt in the town's public square, lacking only a source of live steam. It remains one of a small handful of large steam hammers on public display worldwide. An English hammer of the 1860s stands in a park in Sandviken, Sweden. An 1856 Nasmyth hammer stands in indoor captivity at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., but the Creusot hammer is the largest anywhere. See ASME website for more information