Sunday, January 10, 2010

Get the Point?

Last week's Mystery Artifact was identified by newcomer ComradeM. She correctly guessed that B was a machine-cut nail and C was a wire nail. A was in fact a hand-wrought nail. The telltale sign is the shovel-shaped tip.

Hand-wrought nails are the oldest type. They have been around for thousands of years. Beside a shovel-tip, they can be identified by the fact that they taper in two dimensions.

Cut-nails are made from sheets of metal by a machine. They came into wide spread use in the 1830s. Cut nails have two parallel sides and two tapering sides. They taper in only one dimension because they are cut from a steel plate of relatively uniform thickness. Some cut nails are hand-headed.

Wire nails appeared in the 1880s and supplanted machine-cut nails by 1910, although cut nails are still used for masonry work. Wire nail manufacture is entirely mechanized. This is the most common type of nail in use today.

This weeks artifacts:

Here's a hint: these are not prehistoric or Native American artifacts.



Anonymous said...

Flints from a flintlock gun?
- Val Hall (#2 :D )

Anonymous said...

Gun flints, obviously. The one on right looks like English flint, the other quartzite??