Dating old nails

Hand made nails suggest the building was built before 1800.Cut nails suggest the building was built between 1800 and the early 1900's.Indeed, the price is not dissimilar to that charged for hand wrought nails in medieval times.For even more detailed information on nail chronology to help determine the age of a building; the shapes of hand made nails; the first cut nails which were then headed in a second process; the fight during the period 1790-1820 to be the first to design the best 'one process' cut nail machine; or you would like to look at the British Army's Nail Standards manual dated 1813, here are the sources for these articles particularly the ones noted below. Phillips: Mechanic Geniuses and Duckies, A Revision of New England's Cut Nail Chronology Before 1820, APT Bulletin Vol. 3-4, and Mechanic Geniuses and Duckies Redux: Nail Makers and Their Machines, APT Bulletin XXVII No.

In addition to working with these old machines, the process also involves preserving the blacksmith's skills to form cutting and heading tools.The result is that these cut nails are often mistaken for handmade nails.In use, the rosehead is often the only part of the nail that is left visible and this shape of head is now considered vital when a period nail is demanded.The process is as much part of our heritage as the products produced and it will be necessary for those involved in the restoration industry to change the mindset of trying to compare cut nail and wire nail prices, if the process is to survive.One way of changing the mindset is to think in terms of the price per nail in comparison with other old artifacts being used and indeed what can be purchased today.

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