A Brief History of Roofing Nails

Roofing materials and tools have been around so long that many homeowners and even professional roofers and home builders take this technology for granted. For instance, did you know that roofing nails in Stockbridge were used as far back as 5,000 years ago? Here’s some more information about roofing nails and other innovations in roofing you’ll be surprised to know.


One at a Time

5,000 years ago, roofing nails were made by hand melting and shaping each individual nail into the proper shape with a hammer. As a roofer, you probably use all the nails in a five-gallon bucket without batting an eyelash, so forming all the individual nails one at a time is probably a crazy concept. However, bulk manufacturing nails the way is done now is relatively new technology.


Many at a Time

At the turn of the 17th century, an English builder designed a machine to cut iron into strips. While this made the process of hammering the nails into different widths, it still took an extraordinary amount of time, although it made the whole process of creating many nails at a time much easier.


Innovations in Technology

Technology in nail design and manufacturing wouldn’t come until nearly 200 years later. In the late 1700s, a machine was patented in the United States that revolutionized the construction industry. The technology involved cutting and heading several nails all at once. Suddenly, there was a machine that could manufacture 200,000 nails a day. As technology has continued to evolve over time, manufacturers can produce 300 different varieties of nail at the rate of 500 per minute.

The First Nail Gun

The first nail gun was designed by civil engineer Morris Pynoos, who designed and built Howard Hughes’ iconic Spruce Goose, the nickname for Hughes’s airlift flying boat intended for use during World War II. The first nail gun in the 1950s used air pressure and could house between 400 and 600 nails. It had the capacity to nail 40 to 60 nails per minute.


Nowadays, roofing shingles in Stockbridge as well as nails are convenient to use and often taken for granted. The  technology you use today hasn’t been around long at all considering the length of time people have been using nails and coming up with new ways to produce them. Next time you’re at the home improvement store or working on a roofing project, you may have more respect for the process that it required to get nails to where they are today.