Dating machine cut nails
Nails, of course, have been around for thousands of years, but their general application to furniture making is fairly recent.
This stiffness meant that they did not have the same internal clinching power as their predecessors and tended to snap off under duress rather than bend.
By the 1840’s, the nail making technology settled down to making the best cut nail yet.
This mid-century nail had a large, uniform, machine-made head and it became the standard nail for more than 50 years, and it continued to leave the characteristic rectangular hole.
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Another type of early nail merely had a notch as the head.