The firing of gunpowder, often repeatedly, in one of the holes in a blacksmith’s anvil or between two anvils, esp as a mark of honor or celebration.
1858 NY Herald (NY) 19 Nov 2/4 cCA, Before we left they gave us an anvil salute, which was quite new to me. The powder is placed in a hole in one anvil, and a train laid to the edge. A card is then placed over the hole, and another anvil on top of that. 1877 Wellsboro Agitator (PA) 10 July /2 (newspaperarchive.com), While firing an anvil salute in the morning, there was a premature explosion, severely burning the face of Mr. Henry Miller. 1882 St. Albans Daily Messenger (VT) 10 Nov 1/2, Some democrats at Byron, Genesee county, N. Y., firing an anvil salute, were using an iron instead of a wooden plug, when the anvil exploded, and a blacksmith named Medcalf had his right arm shattered. 1931 MT Std. (Butte) 12 Nov 3/1, An anvil salute at sunrise this morning opened the day’s program [for Armistice Day]. 1939 FWP Guide Nebraska 234, The anvil salute consisted of ramming the hole in the top of the anvil with powder, inserting a fuse, turning the anvil upside down and lighting the fuse. 1957 Fairfield Daily Ledger (IA) 28 May 4/1, How much does the average teenager know about the origin and observance (yesteryears) of the 4th of July? . . To most people it’s just another holiday. But we older ones can well remember the thrill of the early morning anvil salutes, the rattle of firecrackers, the bands, the peanuts and red lemonade. 1980 Yuma Daily Sun & AZ Sentinel 4 May 3/5, Two “anvil salutes” helped mark the occasion. 2011 Porterville Recorder (CA) 23 June 1/6, There will also be a firing of the Centennial Cannon and an old-fashioned anvil salute.