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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.The top of the taper is hammered downward (upset) to form a head. 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 or 87 CE.

Early nails were usually square in section and the earliest were individually forged by hand from iron.

The head of the nail was formed either by simply turning it over to form an L-shape or by striking a hand-held mould or 'bore' over the end of the shank to produce a shaped end such as a 'rose-head', a simple four sided pyramid shape.

Production of nails has varied throughout time, and changed drastically with industrialization.

By looking at the shape of the nail and the way is was made we can determine the time period it is from.

47 Rivets, tacks nails, a, rough machine-made copper rivet (pre-1820): b, copper upholstery tack from pit 1: c, upholstery nail (pre-1800); d, part rose, cut nail, 2d (post-1810): e, flat stamped nail (1825-30); f, small flat cut nail, 3d (post 1810); g, flat rectangular cut nail, 3d (post-1810); h, wrought iron rosehead, 6d (pre-1800); i, flat square-cut nail, 4d (post-1810); j-k, flat cut nails (post-1810); l, flat machine-cut nail, 7f (ca. ); n, part head, wrought with chisel point, 8d (pre-1800); o-p, hand-wrought rosehead nails with chisel points, 8d (pre-1800); q, part rose, cut nail, 3d (post-1810); r, rose rectangular cut nail, 4d (post-1810); s, rose rectangular wrought nail, 5d (pre-1800): t, rosehead wrought brad, 6d (pre-1800); u, rosehead, cut common nail, 7d (post-1810); v, rosehead wrought nail, 5d (pre-1800); w, broken nail; x, rosehead wrought and cut nail, 7d (1820); y, large rectangular head early machine nail (post-1810).

Our Iron Work is the most important article of Trade in this Country.To make a nail, a blacksmith heats the rod in a forge and tapers the end of the bar while keeping the cross section square.Next, the smith cuts off the taper, and inserts it into a nail heading tool with a square hole.Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer, a pneumatic nail gun, or a small explosive charge or primer.A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally.Generally nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available.

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