Posted by Pappy Atoms on April 08, 2005
The Origin of "Hammers of Hell" remains somewhat obscure, but can be traced at least back to the early 1900s. The term appears to relate to the ringing of bells, commonly done with a "hammer" or "clapper." A 1911 first novel (The Trail of Ninety-Eight, relating to the Alaskan Gold Rush) by poet Robert Service mentiones "the flying hammers of hell were pounding..."
Not too long after this, in 1920, Sinclair Lewis (Mainstreet) mentioned "Hell's Bells" in a passage. From these sources, the terms seem to have taken hold in English dialects as ways of describing problems, or being under great pressure.
Other related terms like the "Clappers of Hell" can also be found in later literature.