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There are many variants of the hammer, most have been fine tuned to serve a specific purpose.   A hammer is generally two parts... a handle and a head.   Many professions use hammers in some shape or form.  
Here are a few examples:

Claw Hammer:   Used for hammering nails, claw used for prying and pulling nails.  

Vaughan Steel Claw Hammer  20-Oz.

Framing Hammer:  Used for hammering larger nails, typically in construction of houses.   Rip claw for pulling nails / destruction

 US Tape Framing Hammer  25-Oz.

Ball Peen Hammer:  Used for metal work, body work.   Shapes or peens metal using measured directed blows:

Ball Pein Hammer  32-Oz.  


Shingle Hammer:  Used for installing roofing shingles.  Depth guage and nail puller on claw side.

Shingling Hatchet

Upholstery Hammer:  Sometimes called a tack hammer, used for small finishing nails and tacks.  

Dead Blow Hammer:  Used to force movement of stubborn objects.  Floating lead pellets in head.  

 Dead Blow Hammer  10-Lb.

Rubber Mallet:  Used to deliver softer blows to material, not leaving visible marks.

 Northern Industrial Tools Rubber Mallet Hammer  2-Lb.

Wooden Mallet:  Used in carpentry to drive chisels, hammer dowels etc.  The wooden striking surface does not mar or deface the material like a steel or rubber hammer would.

Sledgehammer:  Used in construction / destruction to deliver a heavy blow.  Generally requires both hands.  Smaller sledgehammers are sometimes called "Engineers Hammers"

Truper Heavy-Duty Hammer  16-Lb. Sledge w/Hickory Handle