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I am myself a nail maker." The growth of the trade in the American colonies was theoretically held back by the prohibition of new slitting mills in America by the Iron Act of 1750, though there is no evidence that the Act was actually enforced.
These nails were known as cut nails or square nails because of their roughly rectangular cross section.
(Workmen called slitters cut up iron bars to a suitable size for nailers to work on.
From the late 16th century, manual slitters disappeared with the rise of the slitting mill, which cut bars of iron into rods with an even cross-section, saving much manual effort.) At the time of the American Revolution, England was the largest manufacturer of nails in the world.
With the introduction of cheap wire nails, the use of wrought iron for nail making quickly declined, as more slowly did the production of cut nails.
In the United States, in 1892 more steel-wire nails were produced than cut nails.
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In 1913, 90% of manufactured nails were wire nails.