Dating house nails
It was not until around 1600 that the first machine for making nails appeared, but that tended really to automate much of the blacksmith's job.
The 'Oliver' - a kind of work-bench, equipped with a pair of treadle operated hammers - provided a mechanism for beating the metal into various shapes but the nails were still made one at a time.
There are over 2,000 different date nails used by North American railroads that show the year.
Add to that the nails which, tell wood, treatment, and other information, and toss in all date nails used in poles and other timbers, and the total number of different nails from this continent easily exceeds 3,500.
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The wood fibres would often swell if damp and bind round the nail making an extremely strong fixing.
The court heard the alarm was raised at 3.40am on February 1 by a friend of Stonehewer who lived next door.
Handmade (wrought) nails of soft malleable iron, with rectangular shanks, drawn by hammer blows to a point and with clearly hammer-marked heads, were from time immemorial, universally used in house building, until about 1800 (in Philadelphia, 1797) when cut nails, because of their much greater cheapness, everywhere immediately superseded them.
Therefore, where the original nails of a house are wrought, the house dates before about 1800; or, where cut, vice versa, after that date.
A teenage girl dating a man more than twice her age set his house on fire following an argument about their sex life, a court heard.
Sophie Stonehewer, 18, used matches and a candle to ignite a lounge curtain belonging to her 43-year old boyfriend Stephen Beddows while he was in bed.