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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.Indeed, the price is not dissimilar to that charged for hand wrought nails in medieval times.For even more detailed information on nail chronology to help determine the age of a building; the shapes of hand made nails; the first cut nails which were then headed in a second process; the fight during the period 1790-1820 to be the first to design the best 'one process' cut nail machine; or you would like to look at the British Army's Nail Standards manual dated 1813, here are the sources for these articles particularly the ones noted below. Phillips: Mechanic Geniuses and Duckies, A Revision of New England's Cut Nail Chronology Before 1820, APT Bulletin Vol. 3-4, and Mechanic Geniuses and Duckies Redux: Nail Makers and Their Machines, APT Bulletin XXVII No. Then the nail maker would insert the hot nail into a hole in a nail header or anvil and with four glancing blows of the hammer would form the rosehead (a shallow pyramid shape).This shape of nail had the benefit of four sharp edges on the shank which cut deep into timber and the tapered shank provided friction down its full length.
In addition to working with these old machines, the process also involves preserving the blacksmith's skills to form cutting and heading tools.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.As explained earlier, the first cut nail machines replicated the handmade nail - the square tapered nail with a rosehead.Because the process still involves a man (or woman) presenting a strip of metal to a machine, the resulting nail is necessarily imprecise - that is each nail can look a little different to the next one.