The steam hammer
is a power-driven hammer used in forgings. It consists of a hammer-like piston located within a cylinder. The hammer is raised by the pressure of steam injected into the lower part of a cylinder and falls down with a force by removing the steam. Usually, the hammer is made to fall faster by injecting steam into the upper part of the cylinder. Steam hammers that fall by their own weight are called steam drop hammers
. Steam hammers vary greatly in weight from 45 kilograms to 90 metric tons.
The steam hammer was invented around 1837 by James Nasmyth in Manchester, England. Its first use was intended to be the forging of the paddle shaft of the SS Great Britain. However, the paddle technology was replaced with the screw propeller, and implementation of the hammer was left to the Creuzot foundry of France.
The steam hammer was one of many machine tools invented around this time which allowed for large scale industrialisation and the use of machines to build machines.
See also: Trip hammer