Railroad Date Nails

He returned the next morning at 2 o’clock. Wiswell and a friend who accompanied him, John Evans of Mountainside, N. Between and , railroads placed date nails in ties to keep a record of the life of the ties. Utility companies followed later with the use of date nails in their poles. The nailhead carries the date, often the last two figures of the year. Wiswell said. Some subway lines did also. I spotted some on the Astoria line in New York on the track on the way into the tunnel. Today, more than 5, people in the United States consider themselves datenail collectors, and there is a Texas Date Nail Collectors Association, formed in , with chapters scattered across the country.

Railroad Date Nail Cufflinks

Created by Ward Wallau. For an industrial statement piece that really hammers the sentiment home, this set of cufflinks is right on the mark. Each set of captivating cufflinks is made from authentic date nails in use from In order to record the date of construction, these steel markers were driven into railroad ties, bridge timbers, utility poles, mine props, and other wooden structures. In its relatively short history the only significant change to this system occurred in , when the markers switched styles, from indented to raised dates.

Date Nails from Discarded RR Ties Stories and Pictures of Finds. 4 weekend, I made sure to check out some old railroad ties for date nails.

Common place in the late th century through the mid th century, Date Nails were driven into railroad ties, utility poles, bridge timbers, and other wooden structures for record keeping purposes. Today, Date Nails are highly sought after artifacts by Railroadiana collectors. Following the Civil War , the railroad race was in full swing. In one such race, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific would compete for government favor; with the line that built the most miles being rewarded with cash and land.

In order to keep pace with this expansion, the timber needed to produce crossties was in high demand. Left untreated, wooden crossties had a life expectancy of only five to seven years. Based on the frenetic pace of laying new track and the subsequent demand of timber supplies, rail companies hatched the idea of treating the ties to increase their life expectancy. Not knowing which type of wood and treatment methods would be the most effective and economical, railroads began to experiment with varying treatments in the mid to lates.

To monitor the results of differing test sections of crossties, railroads settled on the idea of using Date Nails for record keeping purposes. The oldest known Date Nail used in the U. Most Date Nails were made of steel, though copper, aluminum, iron, and even brass were also used. Nails were driven into ties at either the treatment facility or at the time they were installed into the track. Nail heads were produced in a variety of shapes — round, square, diamond, pentagon, and other rarer shapes.

Cross Tie Date Nails

For many lovelorn singletons, the holidays are the loneliest time membership year. In fact, many dating websites say their customers even appear to be logging on between courses. To be sure, dating apps also have a surge in activity any time of year where millions of people are off work at the same time.

RAILROAD STEEL DATED # 25 ANTIQUE DATE SPIKE NAIL train tie marker L Date Spike: Head Nail L It is 2 3/4″ long and the nail head is​.

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account. Connect with us! Sign up for our email newsletter. Login or Register Customer Service. COM Enter keywords or a search phrase below: Search. Order Ascending Order Descending. Member since April , posts. In Canada, CN use to mark the year that a railroad tie was put in place with a dateing nail. If you have not seen one, they are about 1.

They have a head on them about the size of a dime, with a year molded into the head of the nail. Example “66”.


Few railroad artifacts capture the eye like date nails. These small thumbnail-sized steel pieces of Americana bear a 2-digit number indicating the year a crosstie was manufactured. The various shapes and styles make each one unique and reflect changing styles across the decades. While walking a line with permission from our friends at the railroad! We also realized we had an obligation to share some of the history behind these unique artifacts. Date nails served as a quality control measure allowing railroads and tie manufacturers to determine the lifespan of a wood timber crosstie.

And this railroad date nail was placed in the wooden tie 77 years ago! Railroads used them to know the exact date the tie was placed in the roadbed. Amazing.

Please create an account, or Log in here. If you don’t have an account, create one here. ThriftyGypsy items. Greeetings fellow collectors, I had a friend who works for the railroad tell me about these items several months ago, and I have been trying to find some ever since. I happened to run across a jar full at the flea market this weekend, and had to have them all!!

Great find at a great price! My friend told me that these type nails were used to date cross ties on train tracks when they were replaced.

Nails Are Hot, Stamps Are Not: Collectors Go for Clunky, Funky

Caption: So this little guy tells quite a story. The year he was placed in this railroad tie sleepers in the UK , the wooden pieces that railroad tracks are secured to was England and the Commonwealth had already been at war with Nazi Germany for 3 years. The Battle of Britain was over. America was not yet involved in the conflict. And this railroad date nail was placed in the wooden tie 77 years ago!

Date nails were driven into railroad ties to record – on the head – the rail company​, year driven, type of wood, and wood treatment used.

Today, we nail down dates. The University of Houston’s College of Engineering presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them. A group of local hobbyists runs a large model rail system. Their models are much larger than the model trains we usually see. Some actually carry people. This issue has a feature titled “To Date a Spike”. It tells about something called a date nail. I didn’t know about date nails, so I went looking.

Their distinguishing feature is a two digit number stamped in the head — the last two digits of a date. We have to guess the century, but that’s easy since they were used for less than a century. And their purpose? Well, they aren’t meant to hold anything, only to leave a lasting record of when a new railroad tie was laid. Wooden ties didn’t last as long as steel rails. Railway companies needed a record of when ties were put in, so they’d be alert to replacing them while they were still safe.

Antique Railroad Date Nails – Lot of 10

Highway 79 where it passes the Texas Basket Factory, you may have noticed the many new railroad ties set alongside the tracks. During the early days of railroad construction, stone blocks, with wooden stringers running length-wise, supported the iron rail. Prison deliveries were so slow that construction foremen had their workers substitute wooden crossties taken from tree stands along the right of way.

Well, they aren’t meant to hold anything, only to leave a lasting record of when a new railroad tie was laid. Wooden ties didn’t last as long as steel rails. Railway.

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Please use the navigational links on your left to explore our website. Railroad Tie Date Nails. Whats the oldest you have found? I was cleaning up around the place and decided this stack of old ties that my father had delivered here in the late 70’s, which he never used, needed to go to the burn pile. It was interesting sorting through the pile, there were some oak ties, oldest one had a ’30 nail in it, was oak, others were a needle bearing species, it looked like a fir species, all but one were just waterlogged and crumbling, parts of them were intact.

I was imagining what went over these all those years ago, mostly steam, but I did find ties with ’50 and ’54 nails.

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Briefly, a date nail is a nail with the date stamped in its head. For example, a nail with a “41” is from Date nails were driven into railroad ties, bridge timbers, utility poles, mine props, and other wooden structures for record keeping purposes. I concentrate primarily on the nails used by railroads. Most date nails are steel, though many are copper, aluminum, malleable iron, or brass. The nail heads can be round, square, diamond, pentagon, as well as other rarer shapes.

Over 2, different date nails were used by North American railroads which show the year. Add to that the nails which tell wood, treatment, and other information, and toss in all date nails used in poles and other timbers, and the total number of different nails from this continent easily exceeds 3, A typical date nail.

Railroad Date Nails + Gifts for Railroad Buffs and Train Lovers

Unusual collectibles hold fascination for many. Certainly barbed wire and brick collecting would be in this classification. There are some who specialize in aspects of transportation, such as railroads. Some collectors have a very wide variety of memorabilia, including tokens and date nails. What is a date nail? A date nail is a nail about three inches long with a head about three-fourths inches wide—either round or square.

Date nails were tagging devices utilized by railroads to visually identify the age of a railroad tie. Octave Chanute, railroad and aviation pioneer, is credited with.

Printable version. Add to cart Add to wish list. Ask a question about this product. Date nails were driven into railroad ties, bridge timbers, and other wooden structures for record keeping purposes. The dates on the nail head tells the date the timbers were put into place. Over 2, different date nails were used by North American railroads, and utility and other companies also used them, making the kinds of different nails from this continent available to collectors easily over 3, There is even a national club related to date nail collecting.

All of our date nails come from either railroads or utility poles in the Plumas County area Western Pacific, various logging railroads, etc. Some have square heads and square shanks, while others have round heads and round shanks.

Pennsylvania Railroad 1962 Date Nail

Date nails were tagging devices utilized by railroads to visually identify the age of a railroad tie. Octave Chanute , railroad and aviation pioneer, is credited with the idea for using date nails as a way of tracking the life of railroad ties. An example would be a Southern Pacific Railroad nail with the marking “01” stamped on the head of the nail. The “01” would identify the nail as being hammered into a railroad tie in the year Date nail use has dropped dramatically since the midth century and the advent of more modern maintenance of way equipment.

The first recorded date nail used in a U.S. cross tie dates from and was used on the Mississippi River &. Bonne Terre Railroad. No other railroad used them.

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Date Nails