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They also show, that very early in the nineteenth century, this troublesome turning of the nail-plate was superseded by wriggling or staggering the blade of the cutter during the operation, so as to reverse the taper at each stroke without, turning the nail-plate.At first, also, in order to dispense with the difficulty of the usual heading, angle-headed (L headed) and headless nails called "brads" were made.This cutter, rising and falling rapidly, clipped off the end of the iron plate crosswise into narrow, tapering, rectangular slices or nails, whose length was established by the width, and thickness, by the depth of the nail plate.The taper of the cut alone, produced the point, but not the head.
Joseph Whitaker (See his manuscript diary in the library of the Bucks County Historical Society) was also thus making cut nails in Philadelphia, from 1809 to 1816-20, by a double operation; namely, cutting the plates with a hand-cranked ma-chine and afterwards hammer-heading the shanks held in a clamp worked by a foot lever.
The hand-cranked machine, for cutting and heading nails at one operation, patented by Nathan Read of Salem, Mass., in 1798 (See model at Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.), was not a success.
Neither were any of the other cutting and heading" machines, or simple heading" machines, in existence or patented at that time, as is shown by the evidence of the nails themselves, and further in the Diary of Rev.
The evidence conclusively shows that these cut nails every-where superseded the ancient wrought nail at the end of the eighteenth century, namely, not long after 1797, when two cut-nail factories had been established in Philadelphia, and there-fore, if used by the builder, they will date a house as having been built after that year.
A still further examination of cut nails, from dated houses, shows that they may be distinguished into two classes; namely those appearing between c. 1825, with imperfect or irregular heads, or, more particularly, hammered heads; that is, heads showing the facets of more than one hammer blow, and those appearing after c.
The old wrought hinges appear in two common varieties in the houses examined; namely, the so-called H or HL hinge, cut out of heavy sheet iron and fastened against the face of the door with screws or clenched wrought nails, or the strap" or hook and eye hinge; namely, a long strap, bolted, riveted or nailed with clenched nails, against the door and turning on a hook or gudgeon which latter was either spiked into the lintel, or, where the lintel was too thin for spiking, set upon a plate, variously shaped, and sometimes strengthened with a projection or prop called a rattail." While the H and HL hinges (many of which were probably factory-made and imported from England) and nearly all of the strap-hinges, were found plain, a few of the latter, by no means typical and generally over-exhibited in museums, show floriated decorations.