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.
The first lever cut a triangular strip of metal giving the desired width of the nail, the second lever held the nail in place while the third lever formed the head.
(this page contains the substance of an article entitled 'Traditional Cut Nails - worth preserving?
' written in May 2002 at the request of, and for inclusion in, the RICS Building Conservation Journal)For nail making, iron ore was heated with carbon to form a dense spongy mass of metal which was then fashioned into the shape of square rods and left to cool. After re-heating the rod in a forge, the blacksmith would cut off a nail length and hammer all four sides of the softened end to form a point.
In Tudor times, we have evidence that the nail shape had not changed at all as can be seen by the nails found preserved in a barrel of tar on board the 'Mary Rose' - the Tudor flag ship of Henry VIII built in 1509 and recovered from the mud of the Solent in 1982.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.An estimated 15,000 nails were used in building this house.[A] "[...] Victorian is not a style, it was an era. Pictured are Carl and Ina Pigott and their son, Frederick Pigott, Jr.Traditional techniques and materials were used (as well as antique parts reused) to make Renaissance revival and fake furniture.