Anvils are required to build forges, either conventional or magma powered. At least one is absolutely required if your fortress intends to do any metalworking whatsoever, including weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, metalsmithing and metal crafting.
Smithing an anvil uses the metalsmith skill.
Since the only way to make an anvil is with a metalsmith's forge, your first anvil must be sourced from outside of your colony, either before embark or by later trading. Anvils require three metal bars to be smithed at a forge - once you have one to begin with. As this is an infinite loop, the origins of the first anvil are hard to discern*.
 Acquiring an Anvil
A standard (no quality) iron anvil is included by default in starting equipment, arriving with your dwarves in your wagon. If you choose not to bring an anvil, you are refunded the 1000 point cost, to be used for other purchases of items or skills. You will then have to trade for your first anvil with the dwarven (autumn) or human caravans that usually (but not always!) carry one or more iron anvils (at a cost of 1000☼), and/or steel anvils (at a cost of 3000☼). If this fails the first time around, you may also request one from the dwarven liaison or human guild representative, if you are willing to pay an increased price to guarantee that at least one anvil arrives with next year's caravan.
Tearing down a forge retrieves the anvil used to build it, which can then be stored, traded, melted, or re-used to build another forge.
 Anvil Properties
Anvils may be made of iron, steel or adamantine. Rarely, dwarves in strange moods will make anvils out of other metals, and these can be used in any forge. The material used does not seem to affect the performance of the forge. Neither does the anvil's quality, although anvils have a high base cost, so quality greatly increases their value.
 Anvil Origins?
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- One theory of the anvils origin is that a dwarf struck by a strange mood made one of stone or bone. Another more radical theory put forward by dwarven philosopher Urist McTaggart is that the first one was made of wood in a similar manner. This was deemed a heresy and he was later sentenced to be hammered for being a elf sympathizer by an angry mayor who had a strange fondness for glass.
- Another theory, and the usually-accepted myth, is that the first anvil was created by the first Dwarf, the Mountain King himself. This is documented in the research journal, "On the origins of dwarves."
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