One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In metalworking: a block with a slightly yielding surface made from a mixture including pitch, on which metal objects are placed during engraving or embossing.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Edward H. Knight (1824–1883), patent lawyer and expert in mechanics. From pitch + block.
pitch block/ˈpɪtʃ blɒk/
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