Nail Notes--January-March 2001

Subject: Nail Notes 1-9-01
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001 09:13:54 -0600
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

In December I ran out of copies of the third printing of my book, so I
ordered a fourth.  They are in, so as of right now I have 96 copies
left!  For info on the book, and for nail info in general, visit my
website at

Paul Zeiner's date nail discussion forum has a new look.  The software
works differently now, and all the old messages have been erased.
Currently there are two new messages, so go to his site and leave your comments/wants/extras:

Did the Santa Fe use the rnd R (06) 31?  Bill Bunch says yes, yet no one
has told me that this is a Santa Fe nail since I published my first list
in 1994!

More on the Maine Central.  Larry DeMatteo <> sent
me a photocopy of a letter written to him in 1971 by Bradley L. Peters,
the Maine Central's Director of Publications.  In the letter Peters
states that the Maine Central began using date nails in 1930, and that
for 1932 a plain roofing nail was used instead of a date nail.  This
corresponds perfectly with what we knew before, and now we know why
there are no 32's for that RR.  I will publish the whole letter in the
next Nailer News.

The Salt Lake Route became part of the Union Pacific, as far as track
maintenance is concerned, in 1921.  Those of you who read my article on
the UP in the Winter 2000 Nailer News know that it is difficult to
separate the nail sets of the UP, Oregon Short Line, and Salt Lake Route
for a variety of reasons.

Terry Santol <> has been pulling nails on the Salt Lake
Route, and so far he has found round indent 10 and 11, along with a host
of post-1921 nails.  I did not have the round 11 in my list before
(Volume II, p. 285).  Al Nielsen has also made some Salt Lake Route
finds recently, and I hope he reads this so he can remind me what they
are---we might make a Nailer News article out of all this.

Brandon Roseman <> is looking for the
following dates (railroad not important): 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06,
07, 09, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 56, 59, 60, 61, 62.  Write him for a sale or trade.

G P Gilliam <> wrote this to me:

"I don't collect but I do sell date nails in several gift shops.  It is hard
to find even the common date nail in my area of Virginia.  I am looking for
someone who has a lot of old common date nails in good or better condition
(.05 to .10 ) a piece, a lot of different dates, East of the
Mississippi. If
you know of any collector that might be interested.  Could I have their
name, address, e mail address, or telephone no, or you can give them my name
and address.   G P Gilliam  790 Wood Ave E    Big Stone Gap, VA 24219-------
Email no  540-523-2866. Thanks     GP


Steve & Nancy McCue <> told me recently about an
interesting web forum devoted to railroad right-of-way hikers/hunters:

As usual, if I have forgotten something or somebody, remind me!

Best wishes to all,

Jeff Oaks, Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Subject: Nail Notes Feb 2, 2001
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001 11:58:20 -0600
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis
To: nailers

Dear Nailers,
    As usual, let me know if I have left anything out, or if you no
longer want to receive "Nail Notes".

Amy Decker is selling the lot "HUGE Lot of Railroad Tie Date Nails &
Tags" on eBay.  Included in the lot are quite a few of the round
aluminum tags used by the Pere Marquette in a test section.  They are
each stamped with a two digit number, and the purpose of the tags is
still unknown.  You can read about them on page 267 of Volume II of my book.

The tags up for sale were pulled by a guy named Bill, a friend of Amy's
father, about 20 to 25 years ago.  They came from the  Ludington,
Michigan area.  Previously I had no information on where the tags were
used.  The auction ends tomorrow.  Its url is:

In the October 24, 2000 Nail Notes I mentioned the Southern Wood
Piedmont switch nails which Wes Hodges sent me to look over.  He had a
few which are not in my book.  Recently Jim Sinsley has acquired some
from Wes, and has taken some pictures:
Top row:  Set #1 11:b, 13:b
Second row:  Set #2 9, 14/6
Third row:  Set #5 12, 15
This is a Set #5 16/6.

The Spring, 2000 issue of _Spikes, Ties & Rails_ is out!  Yes, it is a
little late.  This is the publication of the North American Railroad
Maintenance of Way Association.  My article on screw dowels is in this
issue, and since I already had it on the computer, I thought I'd put it
on my web site:

Milwaukee Road square copper 29, 30

The following two nails should be added to the Milwaukee Road set (page
220, Volume II):

1 1/4  x 3/16 sqr I  rs     cop (07) 29,30

Since late 1993, when I first published my nail lists, neither I nor
anyone else noticed that these nails were missing!  The sqr I cop (60)
29:b, which is shown in Lewis' book, is really the (07) nail, so
eliminate this one in the 5th line:

1 1/4  x 3/16 sqr I  rs     cop (60) 29:b

Thanks go to George Oliva <>, who noticed the omission of
the (07) nails when he bought the (07) 30 with some other Milwaukee Road
nails in a shop in Alaska.  Also, I thank Rolland Meyers
<> for asking about that 29:b.

The Santa Fe (06) 31

Yes, you should add this nail to the Santa Fe set:

2 1/2 x 1/4  rnd R     stl (06) 31

Rolland wrote to several Santa Fe folks and found that it does belong to
the set.  This is yet another oversight.

Wesley Hodges <> is looking for some Birmingham
Southern nails.  Can anybody help him out?

Gary Rodgers <> wrote this to me:  "What I am
looking for is dated round head railroad nails. I have all of them
except 12 - 19.
If by chance you have or know how I can get them, please let me know."

On the subject of wants, some of you noticed the ad I placed for the
dealer in Virginia who wanted bulk eastern nails at a dime each.  Of
course such nails aren't to be found---and I told him so up front.  As
it turns out, I have acquired from Larry Akers (via Charles Sebesta)
some bulk Santa Fe nails from the 1940's.  They are all in nice shape.
I will sell them for Charles in lots of 25 for $5.00 post paid.  Each
lot will have some duplicates, but will contain lots of variation.  One
lot per subscriber to Nail Notes.  Send the five bucks to:

Jeff Oaks
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

NOTE:  This offer is good only to people who subscribe to Nail Notes.  If you are reading this off my web page and you are not a subscriber, I'll sign you up for free.  Just send me an e-mail note letting me know.

Roy Robichaud <> stopped by my house December 27.  He
is a retired chemical engineer who, among other things, developed paints
for the railroads.  He dropped off some unused Missouri Pacific nails,
and he has lots more.  Contact him if you are interested.

Charles & Cathleen Young <> want to know if the Santa Fe
still uses milepost tags on bridges.

Baltimore & Ohio 9

Baltimore & Ohio nails are tough to find.  That is why I was interested
in the note I got from David <>, in which he
described the 4 and 9 he has.  The 4 turned out to be a (11) code nail,
and the 9 is the 2 1/2 x 1/4 rnd I  GM  stl (07) 9.

He pulled a few 9's outside Hockessin, DE, and the 4 is from the
Wilmington area.  We knew before that at least one 9 was found at Hockessin.

I was recently contacted by Simine Short, an aviation historian who is
writing a biography of Octave Chanute.  Chanute (1832-1910) was an
accomplished engineer in three fields:  railroad track & bridges, tie
treating, and aviation.

I sent Simine some photocopies form old journals and Volume I of my
book, which has a short bio of Chanute.  She sent me in return some
1890's photocopies of letters written by Chanute regarding tie treating.
 These are interesting indeed!  One letter from 1892 is a proposal to
the Great Northern for the construction of a tie treating plant.  It
wasn't built, of course.  The first GN plant opened in 1902.  In another
letter Chanute states that he was appointed to the tie preservation
committee of the ASCE in 1881, a year after the committee was formed.
There are other tidbit in these letters, but they do not directly relate
to date nails.

Jeff Oaks, Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Nail Notes March 9, 2001

Dear nailers,
     We at the University of Indianapolis have spring break beginning
tomorrow, so for a week I won't have access to e-mail.  I'm putting
together this issue of Nail Notes in a hurry!

Don't forget the nail show in Shelbyville, KY March 23-24!  For details,
go to my web page:

I will be there from about 2 PM to ca. 9-10 PM on Friday the 23rd.  I
can't get out of my morning classes, and I have a meeting to attend
Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, the state Mathematical Association of
America meeting is also March 23-24.  (I bet most of you wanted to go to
both the MAA and the TDNCA meet too!)

I have an idea:  I would like to put together a list of those of you
interested in contacting each other for trading/buying/selling nails,
and for general exchange of information.  I propose to compile a list of
those of you who would like to share your e-mail address with others on
this list.  The only people who will have access to the list are other members.

The format will look something like this:

Bert Smith <> Colorado
     I collect nails from Colorado railroads.
Jim Tyler <> Richmond, VA
     N&W, Virginian, and any US railroad nails.  Will trade.
Fred Hayward <> West Coast
     No trades---will share info on SP and UP.

There are two ways I can distribute the list:

(a) by e-mail.  The disadvantage is that as I update the list I would
have to keep pestering you with new e-mail notes.

(b) I could put the list in a file on my website, and the web address
will be given to those whose names appear there.  No one else will be
able to figure out what the address is, because I am the only one with
access to directories on my site.  This way you can check back when you
want to see if updates have been made.

(b) sounds most reasonable.  If you want to be included, send me your
name, e-mail address, location (even your address, if you want), and
your specific interests.  I'll put together the list when I get back.

I made a typographical mistake in my correction for the Milwaukee Road
square nails 29, 30 in the last Nail notes.  I wrote to eliminate the

1 1/4 x 3/16  sqr I    rs cop (07) 29:b

That should read (60) 29:b.  It is correct on the web copy of Nail
Notes.  This only applies to the e-mail version I sent out.

Algoma Central & Hudson Bay and Canadian Pacific

Terry Hill <no e-mail> from Sault Ste. Marie wrote to me February 14
that the 1980 date nails were bought but never used by the AC&HB.  This
agrees with what Ed Biedenhard told me a while back---he got some unused
80's from a railroad building.

Terry added: "According to my date nail friend here retired a few years
ago from the A.C. the 80 nails were just thrown in a dumpster. He was
able to get a lot of them.  You can find the odd nail on the A.C. prior
to 47. At times the railway bought used ties from the C.N. He recalls
switching cars at Oba from the C.N. Gondolas filled with used ties. The
C.P. nails I got from the ties. I got about 20 of them sadly all the
same year 31."

I have always wondered about Candian Pacific nails.  They are found
mainly in poles, and only once before has someone---Larry Harvey---told
me that CP nails can be found in ties, too.

And what about the 82 I list for AC&HB?  Perhaps it was used by another
railroad and someone stuck one in his AC&HB set because it matched the
set.  The Ontario Northland is known to have used the 82.

A new railroad which used date nails!

Bruce Gough <> put up for bids on eBay a couple nails
from the Copper River Northwestern Railway in Alaska.  This company was
owned by Kennecott Copper Co.  We already knew that other railroads
owned by this company:  the Bingham & Garfield in Utah and the Kennecott
Co. in Nevada used date nails.  The nails known so far for the Alaska
line are:

2 1/2 x 1/4 sqr R    stl (07) 17,18,19,26,27

Bruce wrote "The Copper River Northwestern Railroad was a unique
railroad that carried copper Ore from the Kennicott copper mines to the
tidewater in Cordova."  In an earlier note:  "I collect railroad
memorabilia, and have worked for the Alaska Railroad for twenty three
years. If you can find the "copper spike" book, it is a wonderful book
with colorful pictures illustrating the Copper River Northwestern
Railway line.  Mike Heney, in charge of building the CRNR had made a
famous quote, 'Gimmee Tobbaco and dynamite and I will build you a
railroad to hell'."

Here is the photo Bruce sent me of the nails he has:

Now I would like to know if a 21 belongs to this set!  The sqr R (07)
21, known
presently only from the Norfolk & Western, is pretty rare.

Jim Sinsely has a correction for my book.  The LTT nails in the bottom
row on page 109 of Volume III are raised, not indented.  Some of the
nails on this page have ring-like gripper marks while others don't.  I
need more specific info on this.


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