Dating old nails

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For quite some time, nails have been sold by the pound--usually 1 lb. boxes for small finishing and specialty nails and 50 lb. For example, Thomas Jefferson established a nail factory at his Monticello plantation as a way to increase his farm income.

His nail factory made both hand-forged and cut nails.

However, cut nail factories employed operators and attendants for each machine so the process was still labor-intensive. Cut nails had their heyday from about 1820 (development of the Type B nail) to 1910, the advent of the wire nail. Steel wire is fed into a machine that grips the wire, cuts it, makes the head, and chisels the point, all in one operation.Why else would a carpenter need 17 different-sized nails ranging from 4" to 3/4" in length with different heads? The interior stairway is curved with wood paneling.The house is wood-framed with wood flooring and sub-flooring throughout. Though lacking traditional "gingerbread" trim, the fascia is adorned with scalloped escutcheons. At the time, dimension lumber (2 x 4, 2 x 6, etc.) measured the full dimension.The cost of 100 nails in Pence in the 1600's is how we refer to nail sizes to this day.For example, 100 small nails that sold for 4 pence were called 4d nails (4 d is the abbreviation of 4 pence).

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