Thanks for that bit of history I am sure that we will put together a fascinating story that deals with the manufacturing industry that will come from many different places.
Ken: if you are looking in I am sure that you must have some knowledge of nails in your neck of the woods, by this I mean when square (cut) nails appeared, and then when round nail manufacturing commenced. There appears to be some overlapping of the two types but then that happened with many different hardware items didn't it?.
From your research and your examination of historic structures in Britain what time period would you place on the appearance of the two types over there.
I also wonder sometimes if nail cutting machines were wide spread in Europe and even Asia and appeared roughly at the same time in all locations. We sometimes become very narrow in our idea concerning who invented what and close our minds to the idea that at least some of the world's great minds did not come from North America or Britain but very well came from Japan, China, Italy, Spain, France or some other area that had a great civilization at one time or another.
Any way I hope that more information is forthcoming I will drop in tomorrow night to see some of your replies.