PHONE: This is a big topic to tackle and it will not be possible to cover many details in this short column. To determine age, consider the form and function, tool marks, construction techniques, and materials used in the furniture. Note the style. Check for evidence of age. Is it a coffee table or king-size bed?
They were thick and heavy. Bycast iron hinges became thinner as manufacturers tried to squeeze more hinges out of each pound of iron. Bythe use of cast iron in the making of butt hinges was discontinued in favor of stamped steel.
Clues to Dating Antiques #2
The common wood screw underwent a major change in when T. Sloan of New York City invented the first machine to mass-produce this item. Sloan holds many patents for cutting threads, shaping points, and forming the heads of screws. Beforeall screws were handmade and the slot in the top of the screw was hand cut with a hacksaw.
Seldom was the cut placed exactly in the center.
>Antique Nails: History & Photo Examples of Old Nails Help Determine Age of a Structure Building hardware age: door & window hardware, knobs, latches, hinges, & screws & nails. This article describes and illustrates antique & modern hardware: door knobs, latches, hinges, window latches, hardware, nails & screws can help determine a building's age by noting how those parts were fabricated: by. Jul 03, Business of Doing Business System for Dating Country and Primitive Furniture, Part One System for Dating Country & Primitive Furniture, Part1 The Business of Doing Business in Antiques - The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles - July furniture, hinges, nails, screws. Jan 05, The video above provides a great introduction to dating antique furniture and what areas should be examined. Take note of the shape of the screws used to hold the furniture thefoodlumscatering.com: Timothy Dahl.
Because the new machine made screw was inexpensive, it was readily accepted by cabinetmakers. Items made after are made using this new screw. For the first ten years of production, machine made screws were made with no slot in their head. The slot still had to be cut by hand with a hacksaw. Country furniture made with these screws can easily be dated to the ten-year period The Mercer library contains materials on both machine made screws and methods of cutting screws by hand.
Incast iron latches became available to cabinetmakers. After the introduction of the cast iron latch, most cabinetmakers used this new feature in place of the little wooden turnstile that had been used for centuries. In the South and Midwest, hand-cast brass latches were in use before These early latches were inlaid into cabinet doors rather than being attached to the surface, as were the later cast iron latches. Dealers who specialize in country and primitive furniture have depended on the above methods plus the study of nails for dating their antiques.
Many dealers feel that the technological system is superior to the stylistic system. Furniture styles linger for years. New technologies, because they bring cheaper prices or faster methods, are accepted quickly - usually within a year or two.
The Dating of Old Houses, a paper prepared by Dr. Henry C.
Mercer, contains photographs, drawings, and patent information on nails, hinges, screws, hardware, planing machines, etc. The screw above was handmade. The slot in the top was hand cut by a hacksaw.
The screw on the right was machine made. The slot in its head was cut by a machine. There are many differences between a handmade and a machine-made screw. The shank of a handmade screw does not taper. The point of the handmade screw is blunt. By contrast, the shaft of the machine made screw tapers to a point. The threads are cut evenly and they pitch at a different angle than those of the handmade screw.
The first machine made screw dates to The first machine made screw with a machine cut slot in its head dates to Hand-hammered nails, dating from the s or earlier, leave a square hole with an irregular impression at the top from a hammered head. Cut nails leave a more rectangular hole and around or rectangular head. Black staining appears where an original iron nail was in place for many years, with additional rust staining if it was replaced by a newer nail.
Look for differences in nail styles within a piece of furniture if you suspect two or more pieces from different sources have been joined into a composite piece. Cynthia T. Toney, a former newspaper designer, began writing in for a newsletter devoted to decorating with salvage.
As advertising and marketing director for an educational publisher, she wrote copy for its website, catalogs and mailings. Toney also has been an interior decorator and is the author of a teen novel, "Bird Face.
System for Dating Country and Primitive Furniture, Part One
Skip to main content. Hand-wrought Until the 18th century, nail production methods had not changed for hundreds of years. Hardware Merchandising 7 Feb The Parker Mills nail company became the Tremont Nail company that continues to produce traditional machine-made "cut nails" today. The development of machine made nails that could be produced in high volume was critical to this change in construction methods.
But even in the 's and 40's nails were a meaningful cost of construction. Illustration above: Popular Mechanics, Marchp. Illustration below: Paslode nail gun nails sold in strips are still "wire nails" but are no round in cross-section. Details of Hand-wrought nails used in North America in the 17th, 18th, and 19th century in American building construction as well as modern hand wrought nail reproductions are now found.
Thanks for the interesting photo Sam will be sure to leave it here in hopes that perhaps some other reader has some insight about that little now.
I can't tell whether it was manufactured in such a thin shank or whether in fact the thinnest is from rust and corrosion. I agree that the angled head looks like a horse-shoe nail: I've driven quite a few of those in my time. Also the thinner shank of horseshoe nails is likely to have corroeded away - provided this is an older nail that was not rust-resistant.
Take a closer look at the head from both axes - horseshoe nails have a triangular shaped head but it's flattened on two faces to fit into the shoe groove. We're scratching our heads what this hex head nail is. We found it in a small historic small town in San Francisco Bay Area, during one of our metal detecting hunts. I may be wrong, but it looks like a horseshoe nail? Has anybody clue?
It's 51mm long, 8. Quite so, though I don't see obvious hand-hewn marks there are a few very faint ones. Also on some boats or ships the level of carpentry was more-skilled than and finished wood surfaces smoother than timbers used in barn and building construction.
The plank is 8' x 6" x 3", roughly hewn. It could have lost it's edges over years under or on the water. The spike weights grams. My feeling is that it was submerged in the ocean for a long time but broke free and floated up. Generally timber that has been floating on the water for a long time has been eaten by ship worms and is full of holes.
This doesn't have much ship worm activity. This could be that it's a type of wood they don't like. It will be interesting to see photos of the Timber itself. Often tool marks can give us some indication of the timber age. I pulled it out by hand so loose it was. It's 7. I pulled the timber ashore and stashed it above the high water mark so I can go back and take a picture of it although it is in a remote part of the shoreline that is hard to access.
Will come back with more later. Thanks for your reply.
One of the most overlooked and least understood clues in establishing the date and authenticity of older and antique furniture is the story that screws can tell about the history of a piece. Screws are relative newcomers to the production of furniture primarily because they are so hard to make by hand. But as the complexity and sophistication. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. Dating Furniture Tips & Guides Article. PHONE: If you find Phillips head screws throughout, you don't have an antique. On the other hand, hand forged nails and screws with off-center slots and uneven threads can be taken from older furniture and used in a piece made yesterday. Check for the thickness of veneers.
James, Thank you for a very interesting nail photo. It's possible that it did cross the Atlantic of course not by swimming or floating but buoyed by wood. What's interesting and unusual are those regularly spaced ribs which may have been made deliberately to avoid withdrawal that is to create withdrawal resistance.
That might help us or other readers make a suggestion of what the nail was for.
Dating furniture screws
It looks as if it would be more than 6 in long it's a pretty big spike. Probably securing or nailed into a Timber. I found this in a piece of timber that floated ashore on the south west tip of Ireland. Because of the Gulf Stream it is possible it crossed the Atlantic. Mark, It's possible: some wooden ships used massive beams - as much as 16" square.
Screws that look like modern variations that you'd find in the local home improvement store have no place on antiques that date from before circa In fact, screws in general didn't really come into vogue until the turn of the 20th century. The first machine made screw was produced in , so anything that uses a complete set of screws. Screws were occasionally used in furniture pre-dating the beginning of the machine era (Circa ). Blacksmith forged examples can be identified by inspecting for thin . Closely review the screws. Screws were not made completely by machine until So if you find a furniture item using screws that have completely rounded shafts, pointed ends, and perfectly finished heads with matching cuts (much like a screw you would purchase today), the piece likely dates to the midth century or later.
If your left-hand nail in the photo - the one against the plain side of the ruler - is round as it looks to me, that's a more-modern spike. We've found nails of every size around here, but this was a first. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
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Lorna Thank you for the very interesting nail-in-nail example and photo - honestly it's not something I've seen before. It looks as if the smaller nail was being used to affix a hanger-spike to a timber or beam.
Or possibly this was a hand-forged spike whose original fabrication attempted to build up the iron spike by combining older materials into one. I'm doing some research and will post further findings here.
I came across this "nail within a nail" on our property, which was the site of a butcher shop and a dry goods store dating back to the s.
We live in a historic California Gold Rush town. Do you know what it's called, and what it was used for?