Dating handmade nails. System for Dating Country and Primitive Furniture, Part One

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Using Nails to Date a Site

dating handmade nails

Since the sheared cuts for each nail blank were made from opposite sides of the nail plate, the resulting two burrs are on diagonally opposite comers of the nail blank see illustration a. Country furniture does have its styles based predominately on religion and region. Most of these nails were formed from a nail rod, a bar of iron available from iron mills close to the approximate size of the nail. These burrs should not be confused with grinding marks that appear in the middle of the shanks and heads. Between the 1790s and the early 1800s, various machines were invented in the United States for making nails from bars of iron. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

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Dovetails

dating handmade nails

Attempting to follow that line of thought, no matter how ridiculous as the processes are so different, has meant that many cut nail manufacturers have ceased business over the years because margins were so low. Because of the individual nuances and variables in the handwork process, no two handmade screws are identical. Sloan holds many patents for cutting threads, shaping points, and forming the heads of screws. Larrabee, Edward 1968 Machine Made Nails from a War of 1812 Site at Sackett's Harbor, New York. The first machine made screw with a machine cut slot in its head dates to 1856. Nails and Wood screws Nails and Wood Screws Jonathan Taylor The use of nails and screws can give an indication of the age of joinery or its fittings and provides a useful insight into a building's history Reproduction rose-head nails of approximately four inches long: Left and Centre: two machine-cut nails, one turned on its side to show two parallel sides left and two tapered sides centre Right: a hand-wrought nail with a tapered shank and large rose-head.

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Screws give valuable clues when in search of antique furniture origins

dating handmade nails

A replica of the hand made nails found on board the 'Mary Rose' Machine made nails It was not until around 1600 that the first machine for making nails appeared, but that tended really to automate much of the blacksmith's job. Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly. Machine-Cut Nails The first machined nails were flat and headless. Like the handmade version, it is still cylindrical with no taper or point but the threads are consistent and sharp. The head is usually round or rectangular but sometimes has an off-center notch.

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The Tale of Old Nails

dating handmade nails

A healthy skepticism is your best defense against a fake. The Chronicle of Early American Industries 25 1 :759-767. Antique Nails The original factory was established by Issac and Jared Pratt in 1819 on the site of an old cotton mill which had been shelled and burned by the British in the War of 1812. I was pleased to be able to send home each nail with a single blow from my hammer. Stamped Nails A machine capable of incorporating a simple head was introduced in the 1840s, and by the late 1860s nails had begun to be stamped, with several nails being produced at a time.

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Use the Screws to Help Identify the Age of Your Furniture

dating handmade nails

During the following two thousand or more years the nailmaker's anvil, hand-held heading tools and product changed very little in appearance or function and were used until the advent of cut nails. As with all reproductions, it is important to match the originals closely, as fixings of a different period may be mistaken for originals in the future, confusing the history of the building. The top supplying countries are China Mainland , India, and Turkey, which supply 96%, 1%, and 1% of handmade nails respectively. Around 1880 came the next major leap in nail development. Morgan, Bartlett Murdock, Benjamin Fearing, William Caswell, Horace Pratt Tobey and William A. But the form used for the screw was a more or less round shallow depression into which the top of the shaft was hammered flat, producing a screw head.

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Antique Nails

dating handmade nails

As they plowed for their fist crops, they noticed that the earth yielded small deposits of crude iron ore mixed with the ooze of the swampy regions. These solid-steel, button-head nails are ideal for nailing furring strips and other materials to cinder block, mortar joints, new concrete, and brick walls. Many references to nails can be found in the Bible, the most notable being the nails that were said to have been used in the crucifixion. But as the complexity and sophistication of furniture increased in the late 17th century and the use of brass hardware, locks and concealed hinges became more popular, there was an obvious need for a fastener that could hold two surfaces together without having to penetrate the back surface of the second piece. Republic Nails and other Wire Products Republic Steel Corporation, Chicago. Tennessee Anthropologist 19 1 :1-21. Journal of the Society for Architectural Historians 30 1 :41-50.

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Nails for Historical Archaeologists: Bibliography

dating handmade nails

The first cut Antique Nails machines appeared during the late 1700's and the first machine to cut and head Antique Nails in one operation was invented by Ezekiel Reed of Bridgewater, Mass. The introduction in 1848 of the completely machine-made gimlet screw, with a tapered shaft and a pointed tip, marked the beginning of the modern era in screw production. Scandinavian Economic History Review 17 1 : 58-114. The three saws on the right are two-man powered pit saws used to handsaw logs into boards. Early American Industries Association Chronicle 12 2 :47-48. The edges are often flat, since they were filed into shape, and the tip is invariably blunt, since the smith just cut it off. We've got the column and the head but what about the ramp, also known as the worm or the threads? With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs.

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Nails for Historical Archaeologists: Bibliography

dating handmade nails

When I this summer, I took a long look at his hardware, from the nails to the drawer pulls that they cast in the sand on the beach. Kniffen Cultural Resources Laboratory monograph series, No. While it is possible to get a blacksmith today to produce a handmade nail from wrought iron, the cost can be prohibitive and the blacksmith is not keen to devote his limited time to making such small products. Nails University of Vermont Historic Preservation Research Nails: Clues to a Building's History Thomas D. The handmade nails of the period derived much of their holding power from the ability to drive the nail through two surfaces and bend it over on the back side, i.

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