Basic types of stone tools: knives, axes, a hammer-axe and a hammerstone. Neolithic or Copper Age. The City of Prague Museum.



Geographical origin: Africa
Primary use: Impact
Alternative use:
Pronunciation: ham·mer /ha-mər/ noun: hammer: plural noun: hammers

Micro origin map


Archaeologists have now discovered the first appearance of a tool used as a hammer was 3.3 million years ago (found in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya in 2015) when a “hammer stone” was used to splinter more brittle stones like flint, into cutting and killing tools. After they began to perfect their technique, they formed and shaped axes, knives, then more intricate arrow heads and spear heads. Still later these proto-humans used the formed shards into carving tools for wood, to break open animal skulls, bones, shells and even make jewellery.1


hammer (n.)
Old English hamor "hammer," from Proto-Germanic *hamaraz (source also of Old Saxon hamur, Middle Dutch, Dutch hamer, Old High German hamar, German Hammer). The Old Norse cognate hamarr meant "stone, crag" (it's common in English place names), and suggests an original sense of the Germanic words as "tool with a stone head," which would describe the first hammers. The Germanic words thus could be from a PIE *ka-mer-, with reversal of initial sounds, from PIE *akmen "stone, sharp stone used as a tool" (source also of Old Church Slavonic kamy, Russian kameni "stone"), from root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce."

As a part of a firearm, 1580s; as a part of a piano, 1774; as a small bone of the ear, 1610s. Figurative use of "aggressive and destructive foe" is late 14c., from similar use of French martel, Latin malleus. To go at it hammer and tongs "with great violence and vigor" (1708) is an image from blacksmithing (the tongs hold the metal and the hammer beats it). Hammer and sickle as an emblem of Soviet communism attested from 1921, symbolizing industrial and agricultural labor.

hammer (v.)
late 14c., "deal blows with a hammer or axe;" mid-15c., "to produce (something) by blows with a hammer," from hammer (n.). Also sometimes in Middle English the verb to describe how Christ was crucified. Figurative meaning "work (something) out laboriously" recorded from 1580s. Meaning "beat or drive with or as if with a hammer" is from 1640s; that of "to defeat heavily" is from 1948. Old English had hamorian "to beat out, forge." Related: Hammered; hammering.2

Crist, as he was ruthfully hamerd apon the croce, Songe to his fadire of heven.
"The Mirror of Man's Salvation," 15c.



This embryonic hammer, was little more than a heavy elliptical stone between 300 grams to a kilo smoothly formed at the bottom of a river bed, or from the sea. The stone was used to hit an object, which was sitting on a large flat stone below it, like an anvil. If a more intricate point was needed, the stone hammer would be replaced with a smaller stone, bones, ivory and antlers using more finesse for finishing the new cutting tools.2


The history of the the tool in your research project, where did the hammer come from? What region of the world was it originally discovered or invented?


What is your tool used for?

How used


Display some images here showing the tool in this research project.


Additional reading, please install links here directing your readers to more information about this subject.


1 The History of the Hammer from Its Prehistoric Beginnings. | Tool Blogger UK. https://langs.co.uk/blog/2017/06/30/the-history-of-the-hammer-from-its-prehistoric-beginnings/. Accessed 29 June 2018.
2 Hammer | Origin and Meaning of Hammer by Online Etymology Dictionary. https://www.etymonline.com/word/hammer Accessed 1 July 2018.


Contributors to this page: admin .
Page last modified on Monday July 30, 2018 16:36:54 PDT by admin.