I took this clipart image from CLIPS AHOY!

I was searching the Internet to find what to call a medieval mason’s Steinbeil and Steinpickel (axe and pick?) for building Einhard’s basilica at Michelstadt, and came across a history of the gavel. It’s on the site of The Gavel Store (‘the largest and the best selection of gavels in the world’). Apparently they have a masonic past, inter alia.

I must say I know gavels only in the U.S. judge context. I would say an auctioneer has a hammer. But apparently the term gavel can be used for an auctioneer’s hammer too.

You can get gavels, even in the form of earrings, at For Counsel, and a lot of other – er – stuff for lawyers too.

Actually, the gavels on offer for presiding at meetings in the UK sometimes have a slightly different form. There is a gavel shop there too.

3 thoughts on “Gavels

  1. Re. “axe and pick”. Shouldn’t it be hammer and chisel if it is for stone ? I vaguely recall that this is what sculptors use.


  2. Thanks. That’s what I have concluded too. I think the German is wrong. A Steinbeil is really a stone-age tool, a sort of ‘axe’ made of stone, and a Steinpickel is wrong too. The only stonemason’s tools I found were mallet/hammer and chisel, a couple of specific types of chisel, a gouge and a punch. And for making smooth-sided blocks, only the mallet and chisel can be relevant. I had to ask a few Germans if they agreed with me that the German was wrong – the rest of the text is good.

  3. Margaret Marks, of the excellent legal translation blog Transblawg, has posted an appeal on behalf of Peter Griffin’s bilingual edition of the Catalan novel Tocats pel foc (Touched by Fire) by Manuel de Pedrolo. Apparently the novel has received practi…

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