Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nails from Scientific American

Below is an article on cut nails, in other words the nail industry in America. The initial invention was built in 1790 the patent was granted 1795 to Jacob Perkins but changes as well as a valuable industry was created in the United States.

Take from Scientific American Volume 10 ©1864

Wilkinsons and Others.
Among tbe appliances which have multiplied a thousand fold the power of man in molding the substances of nature into forms adapted to the gratification of his wants, there are few that rank higher in importance than the humble little instrument which is named at the head of this article. In numbers, nails far surpass any other thing which is employed in any of the arts, and the part that they play in the construction of our dwellings, ships, furniture and other fabrics is so great that, if they were annihilated, the whole order and movement of life would be changed.

In the old plan of making nails by hand, the end of the nail rod was heated, hammered down on an anvil into the required form, pointed, cut off and headed. In the neighborhood of Manchester alone, 60,000 persons were employed in this occupation, and great numbers in all other parts of the civilized world. By the present plan of cutting the nails, one steam engine drives several machines, and each machine makes a hundred nails per minute; the workman having nothing to do but to lay on the plates, and to put the finished nails into the kegs.

The saving of labor is also very great to those who use the nails. With the wrought nail it was necessary to bore a hole in most kinds of wood before the nail was driven; but the cut nail is so formed that it can be driven into the solid wood without danger ol splitting. Probably five or ten cut nails are driven in the same time as one wrought nail. The cut nail, too, from two of its sides being parallel, and from the roughness of its edge, retains its hold more firmly in the wood.

The machinery for making cut nails Is wholly of American invention, and is the result of a series of efforts by several different Inventors. About the time of the close of the Revolutionary war, two brothers of the name of Wilkinson, who had Iron-works in Cumberland, R. I., cut a lot of nails from some old barrel hoops—" Spanish hoops," as they were called; and these are supposed to have been the first cut nails ever made. The first patent for a nail-cutting machine was granted on the 23rd of March, 1791, to Josiah G. Person, of New York, and from that time to 1817,more than 100 patents were Issued. In 1810, Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, made an elaborate report on this subject, and he estimated that a million of dollars had then been expended in bringing nailmaking machinery to perfection. The machines arc now models of simplicity and effectiveness, and they release a vast number of hands to be employed in the production of wealth in other forms.

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