A pair of heavy shears was essential in metalworkers' shops for cutting sheet metal or thick wire. Powerful in itself, its force could be increased enormously when its bent tang was inserted in a hole in a bench top or an anvil or gripped in the jaws of a large bench vise. By pushing down on the long arm of the shears a worker could exert great pressure on the metal to be cut. There is little doubt that shears of this type were meant to be used on a bench, an anvil, or in a vise.
Metal-cutting shears, probably England, Nathaniel Dominy IV (purchaser/user), 1770-1812. Iron. 20.9" (L). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.390