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one of the most important uses that have been made of metal. Traditionally they were turned out by the smiths, and then as demand grew, nail factories appeared, but the nails they produced were still mainly hand wrought and were usually square or rectangular ie "flat nails". The early machine made nails, cut from a steel plate, tapered and of constant thickness, were referred to as "cut nails". It wasnít until the 1870ís that milling and smelting techniques advanced to allow the production of good quality steel wire that the process became completely mechanised. In early times nails were sold by numbers, laterly they were sold by weight, sixpenny nails were sixpence a hundred and were one-and-a-half inches long, eightpenny nails, tenpenny nails etc, were obviously larger. Because of rusting problems (see Slate and nail sickness) iron were available galvanised, and now copper and aluminium nails are common place. A spike is simply a large nail. Modern nails with rings inscribed on the shanks which give them a better grip are sometimes referred to as "improved nails".

Brad nail - a flat nail, the head of which projects on one side only, so that in effect the wood closes behind the nail once it is hammered in.
Brod - a nail or more often a spike, with a head so shaped that it can be hammered out. Used for the temporary joining of timbers in for example, shuttering or formwork.
Clenching or clench nailing - bending over the projecting point of a nail
Clout nail - any nail with a large flat head used for securing roofing felt, plasterboard, slates or tiles etc.
Lossan nail - (Scottish) a heavy diamond headed nail mainly used as studding on doors.
Sprag - slang term for a nail.
Sprig - a small nail with no head, used for example for holding glazing beads in place.