Nail Notes--August-September, 1999

I sent out Nail Notes August 26 and September 7.

Subject: nail mail
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 08:50:22 -0500
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

Hi folks,
     I'm back on track now after my office and computer were moved and
replaced.  For those of you who are new to this list, I occasionally
send news or questions about date nails to the 100+ addresses I have
collected.  If you want to be removed, just let me know.

     We are immersed in another nail mystery.  Here is the story:  a few
months ago I got a call from a retired surveyor here in Indianapolis.
He said he had a can of nails and he wanted to get rid of them.  I drove
to his house and picked the bunch up.  They are all local---mostly Big
Four, Nickel Plate, IPL (power company pole nails), and a PRR nail.  In
addition, two nails seemed to be from the Monon---an 08 and a 9.  The 08
is 08:c (the 3rd 08 in my book) and I believe that is correct for Monon.
 The 9 is still a problem.

     First, a short definition for those of you new to nails:  Gripper
marks (GM) on a nail are those quasi-triangular gouges all the way down
the shank.  These are not the ordinary horizontal anchor markings which
are found in the upper half of the shank, and most nails do not have GM.

     I wrote a quick note to Bill Bunch and Charles Sebesta to see what
they say about the Monon 9.  Each said it has no GM, like the 9 I just
got.  In my book I say the Monon 9 *HAS* GM, because I was told so by
Larry Fister.  Earlier this decade Larry, a collector in Jamaica, IA,
bought a Monon set from Russ Olsen (Muskegon, MI).  These consisted of
the 08, 9, and 10.  The 08 matches mine, but his 9 has GM.  His also has
the few ordinary horizontal anchor markings.

     The Santa Fe used a gripper marked 9.  It is common, and all the
example I have seen lack the ordinary horizontal markings.  So I have
two questions:

(1) Did the Santa Fe use the 9 with both GM and the horizontal marks?

(2) Did the Monon use both a non-GM and a GM 9?

I suspect that the answer to (1) is yes, and the answer to (2) is no.
So dig through your Santa Fe 9's and tell me if any have the horizontal marks!

By the way, Russ Olsen got his Monon nails from Herman Steury.  Herman
once sent me nails, and a couple were misidentified.  It is possible
that Herman got some Santa Fe nails mixed in with his Monon nails.

Write to me if you have any nail news!  Share your stories!


Subject: nail notes
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 10:56:37 -0500
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

Again I have added new addresses to this list.  For those of you who are new, I occasionally post notes regarding date nails to the group.  If you wish to be deleted from the list, let me know.

Now I have about 150 addresses, and I'm closing in fast on the total membership in the Texas Date Nail Collectors Association!  But of course I don't extract $16.00 a year from any of you!  On with the notes...

***Monon update
     Charles Sebesta responded to my Monon/Santa Fe query.  In short, it was this:  Did the Santa Fe gripper mark 9 come both with and without the ordinary horizontal anchor marks?  The answer is yes.  Some 9's have only the the triangular grippers.  Others have both the grippers and the horizontal marks.
     This makes Larry Fister's Monon 9, which has both marks, very suspect.  Bill Bunch says that all the Monon 9's he has seen have ONLY the horizontal marks, so I have the following corrections to make to the Monon list:

The nail list should read:
2 1/2 x 1/4  rnd I     stl (07) 08:c,9,10:c
(Lafayette test section nail remains the same)

The 08 is really 08:c, and the 9 has no GM.  Fister's  GM 9 came from Russ Olsen, who got it from Herman Steury.  Herman probably got his nails mixed up.  It is common mistake when you have thousands of the things lying around!

The Santa Fe list has no error here.

***In the Nailer News

The Summer issue of Nailer News is finally out!  In it are:
     ---photos from the North Platte, NE show
     ---photos of Al Gusafson's date nail museum in Barstow, CA
     ---An 8+ page book review by me.  I reviewed the eight books on date nails which preceded mine, starting with Ben Kriegh's 1971 work _Date Nail Collector's Handbook_.
     ---Two previously unreported nails are described by John Iacovino
     ---Steve & Susie Cochran report on the Sqr I 17 of the Santa Fe
     ---Iacovino updates the Central Vermont set.  After years of pulling John has this correction for the Central Vermont section of my book:
        Eliminate the (06) 46 (on the penultimate line)
        Add 1 1/2 x 1/4 rnd R   stl (07) 47
             I already suspected that the (06) 46 didn't belong, and the (07) 47 is new to me.
     ---There are several other items of note.  Join the TDNCA to find out what they are!

***In the RCAI Express

I also just got the Autumn issue of the RCAI Railroadiana Express.  RCAI is the Railroadiana Collectors Association Incorporated, and they publish a nice quarterly magazine devoted to the standard railroad stuff: lanterns, locks, timetables, china, etc.

In the Spring issue is an article on date nails by a member in Colorado.  The article is FULL of mistakes.  Just about everything he wrote is a complete fabrication!  To make it worse, the article continued in the Summer edition with even MORE errors!  Here are a couple examples:  He claims that the nail ZM from the Santa Fe stands for Zero Mark.  It really stands for Zinc chloride + Mixture (of creosote-petroleum).  He says that the no flag & foot 10 (10:c on page 20 of Volume III) is really an 01 from the Santa Fe!  It is a 10, and it is NOT a Santa Fe nail.

I wrote a rebuttal which is in the current issue.  After two tightly packed pages of corrections I included the brief table of tie preservation & date nail "firsts" which I once wrote to you on e-mail, and I put in a plug for my book and the TDNCA.

***TDNCA patch

On ebay (#158003991) is a colorful cloth patch once given to new members of the Texas Date Nail Collectors Association.  Thanks to Walt Scheuerell for pointing this out.

If any of you have any nail news, let me know!

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