Dating antique nails
Usually coils of wire are drawn through a series of dies to reach a specific diameter, then cut into short rods that are then formed into nails.The nail tip is usually cut by a blade; the head is formed by reshaping the other end of the rod under high pressure. Wire nails were also known as "French nails" for their country of origin.Families often had small nail-manufacturing setups in their homes; during bad weather and at night, the entire family might work at making nails for their own use and for barter.Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter: "In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable.Before the 1850s bocce and pétanque boules were wooden balls, sometimes partially reinforced with hand-forged nails.When cheap, plentiful machine-made nails became available, manufacturers began to produce the boule cloutée — a wooden core studded with nails to create an all-metal surface.
Generally, nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available.A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally. The Roman army, for example, left behind seven tons of nails when it evacuated the fortress of Inchtuthil in Perthshire in the United Kingdom in 86 to 87 CE.The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent pulling out. The term "penny", as it refers to nails, probably originated in medieval England to describe the price of a hundred nails.The slitting mill, introduced to England in 1590, simplified the production of nail rods, but the real first efforts to mechanise the nail-making process itself occurred between 17, initially in the United States and England, when various machines were invented to automate and speed up the process of making nails from bars of wrought iron.These nails were known as cut nails or square nails because of their roughly rectangular cross section.