Dating machine cut nails
The quest for the ideal nail has taken centuries of development.
As Churchill noted, To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.
This model is then examined using data from dozens of sites in the USA and Canada.
Just as important, the model provides clues to recycling activity and access to different manufacturing sources.
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.
Eventually, in the USA, towards the late 1700's and early 1800's, a nail machine was devised which helped to automate the process. Flat metal strips of around two feet (600mm) in length and the width slightly larger than the nail length was presented to the machine.
Historical archaeologists need to avoid the simplistic use of invention dates and patent dates and focus instead on the mass-production dates.