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Monday, June 20, 2005
** N A I L **

No one knows for sure when the first sliver of metal was sued to koin two pieces of wood together or who invented it. Certainly, it was likely to have been a product of one of the metal ages, though the basic idea existed previously of a pointed metal rod with a head in the form of ornamental pins of gold, silver and copper. There is evidence that the simplest and crudest type of nail has been around sicne 3,000 B.C.

By the time of the Romans, the hand forged nail was in use, most notably in the form of the "hobnail" what appears to be a unique Roman device used for joining pieces of leather that remains in use to this day in modern footwear. Nails of many types are fairlyu common in Roman excavations and shipwreacks dating frrom A.D. 500. Aside from found artifacts, historical records show that the Romans, in their extensive empire, put the nail to a wide variety of uses as a fastener, including as a particularly cruel components of ancinet execution: the crucifixion.

Development of the nail was simple and straightforward, improving only when, like many inventions, advacements were made in the production aspects. Anywhere the earth yielded iron ore people could, with hust a rudimentary knowledge of metallugry (the study of metal), fashion crude "smelters", the heating process that recuces metals to usable forms.

It was for the longest time, up until the 1700s, the job of the blacksmith or more specifically "nailor", to hammer out nails for society's use in the building. However, it was not all as simple as it seems since the nature of the wood varies greatly and will often split along the grain if the shape and dimensions of the nail are wrong. A wide variety of nails were in use by the 1500s including the "brad", or finishing nail, taken from the old Norse word for "spike". Tjis is very slender, wirelike nail with a cupped head so that the head can be coutersunk into the wood and virtually disappear.

The inetnion of the "slitting mill", in 1565, a mill specifically designed to mass prodeuce wire and rods capable of being cut into nails, was the beginning of the nail revolution. The slitting mill, usually powered, put two shafts with big sharp ribs or collars together. When s aheet of metal was passed through the collars, the metal was cut or "slitted" into "nail rods"

Regardless of these advances, the final shaping of the nail was still done by the nailor, by hand. Between 1790 and 1830, what is referred to as the "Type-A nail" was produced by pounding just one shaft to the point. The "Type-B nail", pounded on multiple sides for a more effective hold, was then developed and used from around 1820 to 1900 when hand wrought nails were almost completely replaced by precisely made anils produced from machines.

(abstracted from the book" 100 GREATEST INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME: by Tom Philbin)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:11 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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