Taths logoTools and Trades History Society

Thesis on Historic Nail Development

This is a link to Chris How's thesis  on Historic Nail Development, which can be found here.

 “Historic Nail Development and Morphology as a way of developing dating methods -

with case studies of British and Australian  nails for the period 1680 – 1890”

This thesis is about finding, identifying, and then using, changes in nails as a forensic method to date buildings, extensions to buildings, repairs, and later insertions.

The thesis traces the historical development of European/Western nails, isolating the three main world nail industries and their export markets. It then provides case studies for British and Australian nails. Using a process of synthesis, it builds sets of dating charts by decade, of direct use to researchers in the field and to all those interested in dating aspects of heritage buildings.

The thesis makes a series of conclusions, primary of which are;

  • The morphologies of Western nails emanate from Roman enforced practices
  • The Liege nail industry was the first and foremost world player
  • Development of an English nail industry sprung from invention and from transport solutions
  • The American cut nail industry was enabled by the early switch to softwood framing in their building industry, and by massive, sustained, population growth
  • The system of dating developed by the thesis was found to work best for decades starting in 1830, but it loses accuracy after 1890

Recommendations are made for future studies based around information found during the research.


About the Author:    

 If you would like to make a donation to TATHS click on the donate button   DONATE   Thank you.