Dating handmade nails
This process works for a chest of drawers, a cupboard, or for a house. Edwards and Tom Wells, researchers from Louisiana State University, have published a working paper on historical nail technology.Their work chronicles the development of nail technology from 1720 to 1900.
These nails represent American nail technology from the early 1700s until 1900.
These nails look different because they are different.
(Workmen called slitters cut up iron bars to a suitable size for nailers to work on.
From the late 16th century, manual slitters disappeared with the rise of the slitting mill, which cut bars of iron into rods with an even cross-section, saving much manual effort.) At the time of the American Revolution, England was the largest manufacturer of nails in the world.
Each type was made by a slightly different process using new technology as it advanced.