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Vice president Thomas Jefferson took part in the craft, proudly stating in a letter that “I am myself a nail-maker…” and that “…my new trade of nail making is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility or the ensigns of a new order are in Europe.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1795.) The hand forged nail soon evolved into the cut nail, with the manufacturing process shaping into something more automated and far less time consuming than previously.Though the machines used still had to be manned by either men or women, they cut down the time taken considerably, meaning the end product could be sold for less than before.During either the evening or a day of bad weather, the entire family would come together at their makeshift forge and spend hours crafting their own nails for either personal use or barter.This was not a past time limited to people of small means, however.A reheating process would follow, before the blacksmith cut off a nail length and hammered all four sides of the softened end to form a point- the driving end of the nail.

Armed with tools for pulling nails they walk the forests, byroads, and rails.People mainly use them for historical renovations or heavy-duty jobs, a far cry from their mass Birmingham manufacture in the 1860’s.The aforementioned decline in the creation of cut nails was due to the penultimate nail in the evolution cycle- the renowned wire nail that we know and love today.Four glancing blows of a hammer would form a rose head, thus completing the journey from raw material to building implement.Not one nail made through this process is the same, which is one of the reasons that hand forged nails are still popular to this day.

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