“…Talking about feats with an anvil reminds me of a particular feat that I performed impromptu which takes a great amount of confidence as well as strength. It happened at one of the times that I picked up an anvil by the horn in a smithy shop, and after that stunt I pressed the anvil to arm’s length by lying it on its broadside upon the flat of my hand, which is not as easy as it sounds. After I had done this I put the anvil on the floor on its base.
We began to talk about various anvil feats being so difficult because of its awkward unbalanced construction. One man remarked that it would be some stunt to balance the anvil on the hand upside down. That meant the face would rest on the hand and the heavy wide base on top. Somehow I conceived the notion I could do it, and accordingly I took hold of the face with my right hand, and with the help of the left arm got the weight to the shoulder.
Despite the wide base and the bad balance caused by same and the horn, I not only succeeded in balancing the anvil by its face, but pressed it to arm’s length, to the amazement of all. I have done it many times since, and for this volume I performed the same feat, thinking it might interest my readers. The anvil weighed one hundred sixty-eight pounds…”
George F. Jowett
The Key to Might and Muscle, Chapter 9
Written in 1926