Dating cut nails - Using Nails to Date a Site - Wrought Nails, Cut Nails and.


Early Cut Nails The introduction of cut nails dates from the late 16th century with the advent of water-powered 'slitting mills'. After hammering (or, from the late 17th century, rolling) the hot iron into sheets, each sheet was slit into long, square-sectioned bars by rollers which cut like a shears. Bars of the requisite thickness were then made into nails and spikes by 'nailers'. Only the head and the point were forged, so these nails, which were common from the 17th to the early 19th century, can be distinguished from earlier ones by the sharp regular profile of the cut section.

Beginning in the 1790’s through the early 1800’s a number of machines were invented in the US for making cut nails. The earliest machine cut nails in a guillotine fashion, the taper formed by wiggling the bar back and forth. The head was added by hand, using a hammer and glancing blows to create it like the iron wrought nails. These are referred to as Cut Nail Type A. In the 1810’s, a new machine was invented that automated the entire process. The machine flipped the bar after each cut in order to ensure even sides. The cutter was set to create a taper, rather than requiring human intervention. Finally, the machine gripped the cut nail and created a head. The entire production became a single automated process. These are referred to as Cut Nail Type B. Distinguishing these types of nails requires knowledge of the process of construction. Type A have diagonal burrs due to the wiggling required to create the taper, whereas Type B is even on all sides since the metal was flipped on each stroke. The Type B nails are the most popular form throughout the 19th century.


Dating cut nails

Dating cut nails