Posted by Pappy Atoms on April 08, 2005
In Reply to: Hammers of Hell 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 mentions "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.
: One would have to suspect that these terms came from the 19th century sailors curse about "Hell's bells and a bucket of blood." The Clappers of Hell may have been replaced with the more aesthetic alliteration, "Hammers" of Hell, when discussing the beat of the bells.