good point Ken and all that I can add is that what may factor into this whole equation was probably the following:
-accessibility to the purchase of nails eventho they may have been available ie no close retail stores -the wealth of the individual in individual areas ie pioneering\new settlements, no capital to buy with -trade barriers that interfeered with a purchase -knowledge of the availability of certain items.
Technology spread in some areas very slowly due to many factors such as the seemingly huge distances to major distribution areas of hardware items. IN this regard I immediately think of the distance of Britain from Upper Canada the main supplier of trade goods with its fledgling colony.
For instance it took approx 60 years for circular blade sawing technology to reach Upper Canada and be put to use.
Trade with the major mills along the Eastern US Sea board eventually was to supplement and supply the mill parts and hardware items needed by areas like Upper Canada and other points further north and west.
Just as a matter of interest my father who undertook to construct a new Barn about 1946 right after the end of ww#2 could not purchase round steel nails due to a shortage of raw material here in Canada, at that time he travelled to New York state and was able to by a quantity of square cut nails in wooden kegs to work with. Also at that time they tried to introduce aluminum nails but I can remember as a young fellow, seeing the bent over nails that just couldn't be driven into the boards.
Thanks all for coming on board I hope everyone enjoys this thread