From the 16th century, new minting techniques facilitate coinage. The first improvement is the drop hammer. With this machine, coins still are minted one by one. They are no longer struck by hand, however, but with a heavy hammer dropped onto the coin blank. The blank is placed between the upper and lower dies, which sit in a frame just below the hammer.
Drop hammer mints emerge in the late 15th century and are used until the 19th century. Their application changes over the course of time. At the beginning, the new technology is used mainly to strike the large new taler coins. Later, after the introduction of screw presses, drop hammers are merely used to mint small coins.