40 cwt Steam Hammer


“…steam hammers, ranging in power from five cwt to forty cwt, work multifarious devices out of shapeless masses of heated iron; their strokes varying from a gentle catpaw-like caress, to a concussion like a thunderbolt” Illustrated Sydney News, 18 July, 1891

40cwt Steam Hammer, Bay 1 South.

This massive cast iron arch steam hammer stands at over 4m tall and is one of the oldest remaining machinery pieces at Eveleigh, installed in 1887 as part of the original steam hammer shop in Bay 1 south. Believed to have been manufactured in the workshops itself, this steam hammer was the largest at Eveleigh, and possibly the largest anywhere in the NSW rail workshops, pounding heated metal with a pressure of 40 cwt (two tonnes). 

Heated white-hot metal would be removed carefully and quickly from the furnace with the assistance of the Jib Crane, maneuvered onto the anvil beneath the mighty steam hammer, which would then pound the molten metal pieces into one.

Warning Sign for the 40cwt Steam Hamme

“The ‘bang-bang-bang’ was deafening and sparks flew everywhere: entering your ear holes, burning your hair, singeing the eyebrows, hurting your pride…” Richard Butcher, former Eveleigh worker 

The steam hammer is made up of a single vertical cylinder hammer that would slide between the twin vertical guide rails cast into the main frame. The hammer was operated by a single lever that determined the amount of steam admitted into the cylinder, and therefore the strength and speed of the hammer blow. Like the Davy Press, this giant steam hammer did not function alone, but was part of an assemblage of other items and tools, such as tongs, fullers, swages, and anvils, as well as a crane and monorail.



Year Installed: 1887
Manufacturer: Likely manufactured at Eveleigh.
Dimensions: 2m x 1m wide at base x 4m tall
Material: Cast iron
SHI No.: 4745054



Butcher, R.K. & Murphy, L (ed).  2004,  The great Eveleigh railway workshops : a personal reminiscence. Richard Butcher Eastwood, NSW

1891 'The N.S.W. Railway Workshops at Eveleigh.', Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), 18 July, p. 11. , viewed 27 Apr 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63616851