By Hugh Bodey
(Shire, Paperback, 9780852636060, 32pp.)
Publication Date: April 21, 2009
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Today, nails are such an ordinary and widespread object that it may come as a surprise to learn that the range of shapes and sizes available now is but a fraction of those made in the nineteenth century. This illustrated account charts the history of nailmaking, from the Romans, through the middle ages, to the industry of the nineteenth century and the factories of the twentieth, relating the fluctuating demand for nails and nailers to the social and political context of the time, and explaining the types of nail made and the development of nailmaking methods over the years.
Hugh Bodey was trained as a teacher and taught at a school in the Forest of Dean and then in Huddersfield. The characteristic weavers' cottage of that district were in danger of being modernised or demolished, so he formed a trust to preserve one. Within two years the trust had three cottages in a terrace, had restored handloom weaving in one and had won the BBC award for industrial archaeology. He became Visiting Lecturer in Industrial History at Huddersfield College of Education (Technical) and ran courses for adults too. He now lectures in Devon. He started writing in 1970, and has written Discovering Industrial Archaeology and History and (with Michael Hallas) Elementary Surveying for Industrial Archaeologists for Shire.