Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Railroads Spiked

I'm not surprised that items like railroad lanterns are collectible; they are attractive and come in many styles and colors.  Just like scarves!  But the spikes are collectible too.  There may not be a wide variety of colors, but there are different 'styles'.  Railroad nails were marked with the last two numbers of the year they were hammered in.  The numbers 08, for 1908, could appear indented or raised on the head on the nail.  When old spikes were replaced the new ones had the new year stamped on them. (Old spikes. Hard not to think of deodorant.) The heads are different shaped depending on the railroad - square, round or pentagonal or round.  The shank, or non-head part of the spike, varies in lengths and may be round or square.  See how many kinds of railroad nails you could collect!  And you could even tell them apart!  If you try really hard.

Source:  Des Moines Register 12/29/1970 p. 9

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