Nail Notes--Mar. 2004 & May. 2004

Subject: Nail Notes 3-19-04
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 14:29:14 -0500

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First, a correction to the last issue of Nail Notes. It is regarding the
Hubbard nail with the embossed likeness of Thos. Edison that was
purchased on Ebay by Dennis Back <backden@bellsouth.net>. It was
reported that this nail was manufactured in the 1939-1962 time frame.
That is incorrect. It was made between 1938 and 1958. Thanks to Jerry
Penry for this information.

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A variation of the 1921 (07) 2 1/2 x 1/4 rr, stl. nail has been noted. I
was recently sent some nails from L&N country and in them was this
variation. I asked the sender to check more of his nails for this
variation and was told that there were others like it. Perhaps it was
not noticed prior to this time because of its use in a specific area of
the country. Or perhaps the variation was just not that noticable? I
have asked a collector in Montana who has pulled many Northern Pacific
nails to check his 1921 nails to see if he finds this variation. His
reply was no.

For a photo of this comparison and the comparison to other 1921 round
raised nails please go to:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/1921shanks.jpg

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/1921heads.jpg

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Vast records of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, the manufacturer of
the Type (18) nails have been donated to a historical society, who in
turn has hired a full time archivist to sort through these "20,000
linear feet of archival records." I have been in contact with that
archivist who seems very interested in my request for information
regarding date and pole nail manufacture records as well as customers
that may have ordered these nails in any given year. This information
would certainly be welcome and help clear up a lot of lingering
questions regarding certain years of production and which railroads and
utilities ordered these nails. As this contact develops I hope he will
actively participate in the distribution of this information. He has
intimated that he might even be willing to write a feature article. His
name and the name of the historical society will remain unprinted at
this time because I do not wish to bother him further with all of the
material he has to go through. But as developments occur I will pass on
the information I receive and due credit will be given to the archivist
and his organization.

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More information on the L&N item noted above. I have confirmation from a
long time nailer, Bill Bunch, that he has pulled the 1921:b (07) round
raised variety from the L&N McLeansboro Branch line. He has also pulled
the 1921 type (22) 2 1/2 x 1/4 round raised steel nail from the same
branch. There is no doubt that the type (22) and the type (07) nails
were both made by the American Steel and Wire Co., but why they have
different shank markings is still an unanswered question. But at this
point I would think it would be safe to add the 21:b (07) and the 21
(22) round raised nails to the existing list of nails that make up the
L&N set.

Here are some scans of type (22) nails, showing the square on the
shanks:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/1920-22heads.jpg

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/1920-22shanks.jpg

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The production facility that has made the "modern" type (10) since 1975
has also manufactured pole height nails and code nails. I recently had a
conversation with the founder of this company. He recalled that he
purchased his nail making machine from the Republic Steel Corp.,
manufacture of the type (04) nails. But he purchased his machine from a
Republic plant in Illinois and not the (04) plant in Alabama. They tried
to make nails with 1/4 shanks on this machine, but it just would not
make them... the heads kept getting hung up in the machine and there
were other deformities created....so they decided on the 3/16 shank size
and have been producing them since then. They had no intention of making
date, code or height nails. Their main products to that point were
copper coated nails and staples for utility companies. A customer came
in with three date nails and asked if the company could produce these.
The retired owner sent me one of those three nails (all the same). It
was a 1967 (06) 2 1/2 x 1/4 rr, stl. That is how the production of the
new, or modern, type (10) nail began. The founder assures me that it was
a representative of a utility company that approached him as he has no
recollection of selling directly to, or contact with, any railroad.

They have been making date nails since 1975 and manufacture a pole
height nails set that runs from 25' - 95', in five foot increments,
along with a code nail set from 0-9. (The six and the nine are the same
nail). They also make a "delta" nail that I believe was only used by the
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. It has a raised triangle on the head. Another
major utility using the date nails manufactured by this company is the
Kansas City Power and Light Co. All of the nails are 2 1/2 x 3/16 round
raised, galvanized steel.

More on this to come.....These sets will be offered for sale, but not by
me. The purchase of nails was underwritten by Charles Sebesta
<csebesta@alpha1.net> and he will set the price. Since he will be
driving to the next Nail Show in April at Portales, NM and will host the
summer show in Caldwell, TX it seemed logical that Charles should have
them there and available. I recently had a "confrontational experience"
at the Boise, ID airport while trying to bring some UP nails home.

So, at this point, I do not want to try to bring a large quantity of
nails to the show at Portales.

The current Production Manager allowed us to purchase these nails (with
a fairly large minimum order) but requested that his name, the company
name or phone number not be released as he did not want to be inundated
with phone calls from people like "ME!!" Eventually the name of this
manufacturer will be released and Jeff Oaks will add that information to
his updated editions of

Date Nail and Railroad Tie Preservation. This three volume set, with
photos of nails and information on tie preservation, has a very handy
cross reference of who used what nail. It also has listings of
individual railroads and the nails that constitute sets for that
particular railroad. It is a basic necessity for collectors of date,
code, pole, letter and height nails. Still available at.......

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/Resources.htm

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While researching another project I came across a WEB page for Tower
Manufacturing. I guess they are headquartered in England with
distribution centers and manufacturing facilities here in the U.S. They
listed a set of small brass code nails and some mention that either they
were being discontinued or that ACE Hardware had bought out their
inventory? I was not quite sure of the circumstance. But, in any case, a
check of the local Ace Hardware store found these nails indeed in stock.
If you collect code nails you might want to invest the two to three
dollars for the small packet of nails. I paid $2.63 for mine and they
had several sets in the packet. Neat little code nails (1/2 x 1/8) made
of brass. You will note that the six and nine are indeed different.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/TowerBrassCodes.jpg

Since I typed the above I have been made aware of the fact that nails of
this size were used to number storm windows and summer screens because
the size of these varied one could look at the nail and determine which
window it fit. There is a larger set shown in DateNails Complete on
page 218. The ones that I found are from a different manufacturer than
those shown and do not go beyond the number nine. They are also yellow
brass and not the "white brass" listed for those in the photo on page
218. [ED].

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Nail stories and photos are always welcome. It seems that I am taking up
most of the bandwidth here and it would be nice to have contributors of
nailing experiences, recollections and finds contribute those items.
Without those contributions the diversity needed to continue Nail Notes
is lost. So please send your articles and information either to myself,
<rolland@rollandmeyers.com> or to Jeff Oaks <oaks@uindy.edu>. Thanks.

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I received a scan from Jim Sinsley <jim@sinsleystuff.info> in Idaho
showing three distinct variations of the 1943 (17) 2 1/2 x 1/4 rr, stl.
Pentagon nail. The first two pictured in the scan are listed in the
books, but the third one is not listed as far as I know. It has a three
that is much higher than the four and the cross-bar of the four hits
well below the "button" on the three, unlike the first two variations.
See scan:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/1943.jpg

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Most people have pulled their nails from ties, swapped for them with
other collectors or perhaps picked them up at antique shops, etc. But
every once in a while you hear strange stories of how nails were
acquired. For example, finding a partial keg of new, undriven Great
Northern letter/date nails in a storage facility, or finding a long ago
dried mud hole that still held 1905 undriven nails. Picking nails from
long ago roadbeds with a magnet hung from the bumper of an off road
vehicle. If you have an interesting story regarding the acquisition of
your nails please share it with the rest of us. Send your story to Nail
Notes <rolland@rollandmeyers.com> or <oaks@uindy.edu> so they can be
shared with others.

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Lynn D. Baker <LBaker1947@aol.com> wrote this story---with pics---on
pulling SP nails from fenceposts:

We live about 30 miles east of Tucson, AZ and our 4 acres adjoined the
Union Pacific Railroad. This piece of track was originally developed by
Phillip Dodge to move copper ore from the mines south of here to Tucson.
Built in 1912 and sold to Southern Pacific in 1924. SP sold the linem to
Union Pacific in the last five years. When I moved here in 2002 I walked
the railroad and found no nails which is normal. Looked at a few old
ties on fence lines and found one 26. Ironicly I walked this same part
of the line in the early 70's when I was a fanatic date nail collector.
Have over 900 nails.

Last night while walking the old telegraph pole alignment, within the RR
right of way, I noted a fence post with date nails holding the barb wire
to the dilapidated fence post. The nails were the same on all four
stands of barb wire 1938. Walked about six fence post and all were the
same. Instead of large staples or wire twist they were all held with
date nails. About six nails had come out of the post and wire just
dangling in the twist of the barb wire. Took those home and soaked them
overnight in vinegar. Next morning perfect condition of the galvanized.
Some rust toward the top.

Today walked about a half mile of fence line. About 30 post with 38
nails and found two with 1931 nails.  Inspection of the surrounding
ground shows examples of all three methods used for maintenance of the
Southern Pacific R/W fence lines but only on one side of the RR. Other
side has no date nail and only use wire wrap and/or staples.

Note:  if the scan appears too big on your screen, save the pic to your
hard drive and view it from there.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/DSCN0238.JPG

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/DSCN0239.JPG

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/DSCN0242.JPG

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Lynn has also turned up a 1933 SP drawing titled "Southern Pacific
Lines, Common Standard, Dating nails".  It shows a drawing of a 1933 SP
nail, with all the specs, and with instructions for driving the nails:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/SPDatedNailSpec.jpg

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George Oliva has found a variation in the (05) Erie 36.  The third nail
is a variation on the large date 36:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Erie36s.jpg

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Note from Jeff Oaks:  I have been maintaining the list of subscribers
for Nail Notes.  Each time I mail it out to ca. 300 of you, about a
dozen or so bounce.  If you are planning on changing your e-mail
address, let me know!

Also, I have no copies left of the 5th printing of my book _Date Nails
and Railroad Tie Preservation_.  I will be printing up a new batch soon,
with many updated photos which Rolland and others have given me.



Subject: Nail Notes 5-30-04
Date: Sun, 30 May 2004 08:17:48 -0500

NAIL NOTES May 30, 2004

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Update on the sixth printing of the nail book (from Jeff Oaks)

Around the middle of March I ran out of copies of my book _Date Nails
and Railroad Tie Preservation_.  But it wasn't until just recently that
I found the time to make all the minor changes for the next printing.
For the past week or two I have been updating the manuscript, and I made
many more changes than expected.  For future printings I will make the
corrections and additions as they come in rather than wait until I run
out of copies!

Some of you who bought the first or second pringing (in 1999) wonder
whether you should get this new printing.  I would say yes only if you
rely on the accuracy of the lists of many railroads.  Many new photos
have been added, but again I would say hold off unless you need the very latest.

I will send a note to you all when the 6th printing is available.  I
will also put the info on my website.  For those of you who have lost
it, it is:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/DateNailInfo.htm

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From Brian Gregg <louisnash@fuse.net> regarding a nail hunting trip with
Bruce Gordon looking for L&N nails:

Bruce Gordon, myself (Brian Gregg), my grandfather (Stanley Bishop), and
my oldest son Tyler, 10, left out on Saturday, April 17, to expolore the
L&N Bloomfield Branch in the Taylorsville, KY area. With Bruce being
from the area, and his date nail expertise, we knew we were in good hands.

After getting some photos of the abandoned tunnel in the area, we were
off to do some nail hunting along the abandoned right-of-way.

As we left the tunnel we found 3 ties that were cast over the bank. In
those three ties Bruce found a 14 nail. Bruce says it is the oldest nail
that he has ever pulled. My son Tyler also found a 17 nail in the pile
with myself pulling a 21 nail.

As we got to the other side of where the trestle stood we were again
pulling nails. My grandfather finally got his first nail of the day, a
26 nail. He was getting awful woried about us skunking him in the hunt.

We ended the day with a total of 17 nails. Those being: 14, 16, 17, 19,
(4) 21s’s, 26, 28, 29, 30, (2) 34's and a 36 nail. And I must not forget
another find that we had. Underneath a tie Tyler found a Yellow Spotted
Salamander hiding from us. Something that I have never seen in my life.
And from the web search I did it is rare that anyone will see this type
of salamander.

I owe Bruce a big thank you for going with us and for taking me to the
Bloomfield Branch for the first time last Nov. 2003. I met Bruce through
the L&N Historical Society and he has shown me nothing but kindness
since our first correspondence together.

Thank You

Brian Gregg

Pics from the trip:
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/LN14.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/LN16.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/LN17.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/LN21.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/LN26.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Bloomfield/Salamander.jpg

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A note from George Oliva <gro1@infionline.net> relates that one Sunday
last March he walked a portion of the abandoned Erie  Newark Branch. He
pulled about seventy-five nails including seventeen that were 1936 (05)
round indents. He cleaned them and found that the majority were the
listed :a variety. Five were the :b variety also shown in the books. But
there were three that were obviously different and should probably be
considered as a :c variety. Especially note the number six on this nail
and how it does not curve around as the other two sixes do.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Erie36s.jpg

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Jim Sinsley <jim@sinsleystuff.info> has decided to sell most of his
extensive collection of pole, code, date and foot nails. Jim also
collects bottles, insulators and other items so he has decided to
concentrate on those items and not the nails. For those interested in
contacting Jim regarding sets and nails available you can reach him at:
208-667-2211 in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

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George Oliva is at it again. This time he has uncovered an unreported
variety of the 1937 (07) 2 1/2 x 1/4 round indent, steel nail. George
reports he pulled 12 ‘37's off the Newark Branch and five were the "new"
type 37:b. See scan:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/Erie37s.jpg

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Well, the nail show at Portales, New Mexico is history. A lot of fun was
had by all. Hats off to Randy Dunston, the Show Chairman, for putting on
a good show in a nice venue. Sunday there were quite a few walk-ins to
check out the nails and other items being shown and offered. The next
show will be presented in August at Caldwell, Texas and hosted by
Charles Sebesta.  That too should be a good one!! The dates for this
show are set for August 6-7, 2004. More detail to come.

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Chris Sandifer <chris.sandifer@pgnmail.com> sends this scan of an
unidentified nail:

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/ACW-36-630.jpg

Chris writes: "Nail was removed from a utility pole.  I am pretty sure
it was a telephone pole, but I can not remember where in South Carolina.
I have [had] it a long time, I just did not know what it was. American
Creosote Works was known by the initials ACW.  According to the
internet, they started business in the early 1900's and wound up in
bankruptcy in 1981. Several of their sites are now superfund sites run
by the EPA. Most of the sites I found on ACW were government sponsored.
There was a Charleston, SC plant, one in Pensacola and one in Tennessee
that the EPA had to clean up.

"Apparently ACW was a big player in the wood preserving business at one
time. I am just surprised that there were no more treatment nails than
this one if in fact ACW stands for American Creosote Works. I think I
will try to find out what ACW’s primary creosote products were, maybe
ties & poles were a side line??? Maybe they produced creosote for other
plants to use and
did not do much wood preserving themselves."

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Chris also has found a short---under 1 1/4"---round I (07) 28.  It came
from a utility pole in Rocky Mount, NC.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/short28head.jpg
http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/short28shank.jpg

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Note from the Ed. <rolland@rollandmeyers.com> I recently spent three
weeks in New Zealand on vacation. Wonderful time. I walked several miles
of track looking at "sleepers", the New Zealand term for ties, and did
not spot any nails or hint that any had been there. I also talked with
several railway workers and only a small percentage of them knew what
New Zealand date nails were.  The few that did called them "sleeper
tacks." I did find one or two that had collections and am continuing
communications with them. I also have permission to reprint an article
on New Zealand nails written in 1977. I will try to include this in the
next Nail Notes.

But the extent of the set was confirmed. It ran from 1904-1927 with
apparently no 1918. There is still some issue as to the two 1910's and
two 1912's reported for the set. I think both varieties of both nails do
belong, but I am awaiting confirmation from New Zealand. More to follow
on this subject.

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I have found a "new" or at least unreported manufacturer of date nails.
Here is a pic of their 2003 nail, and I know they made nails in 2004 as
well.  It will take some more research to find out how long they have
been making them and who uses them.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/NailNotes/alm2003.jpg

==============================================
NailNotes is edited by Rolland Meyers <rolland@rollandmeyers.com>,
and mailed out by by Jeff Oaks <oaks@uindy.edu>.


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