Square nails: a little piece of history

Last summer, I spent a day helping my dad refinish his basement. It’s in the house I grew up in; my parents have owned it for almost 40 years.

The house itself is well over a hundred years old. I was born and raised in New Westminster – the oldest city (and former capital city) of British Columbia. And my parents’ house is one of the big old houses of the late 1800s.

Down in the basement, there’s a massive brick central column, meant to catch the ash from the fireplace above, and transfer some of the heat down. The wooden beams that spiral out from it are huge, ancient, and of varying sizes and shapes, locked together with enormous cast-iron plates and screws.

As we were cleaning up the basement, I found an odd, old nail:


I can’t find a ton of information online about square nails, but they’re certainly old. One company claims to have been making them continuously since 1780.

I love old stuff, and I love having even a tiny piece of the house I grew up in.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I metal detect and found several of these nails around a pre-1800 cemetery hidden in the woods.

  • I found the same square nail and I will like some one to help me with more informacion about this nail thank you, my email is rodriguezdavid367@rocket mail.com

  • I’m taking apart a counter that I’m restoring and there are a bunch of them in it.

  • We had an old wooden beam float up on our property which is the upper banks of the Mississippi River. The beam is 60’x3’x1′. My husband pulled one of the nails from it and it looks just like this. It has hand hewn openings that could be for more wooden pegs. We are trying to find out where this piece of wood with all it’s history could have come from