Nail chronology aid dating old buildings

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.

However, almost a century after their predicted demise, there are still two cut nail manufacturers worldwide in existence employing the process that is almost 200 years old and using machines that have barely changed in design in that time.

The strip of metal was then turned through 180 to cut the next equal and opposite nail shape off the strip. Because the nail up until then was handmade, the first machines were naturally designed to re-produce the same shape of product - a square tapered nail with a rosehead, but only tapered down two sides of the shank.

Soon nail making really took off, primarily in the USA and also the UK with its captive markets of the British Empire.

Wire nails will be found in a building put up in the period from then to date.

For the restorer, it is vital that the correct raw materials are used in any attempt to preserve an old building. The restorer is looking to use similar nails to ensure the authenticity of the restored building.

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Hand made nails suggest the building was built before 1800.

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