Date Nail Resources
The book: Date Nails and Railroad Tie
In January, 1999 I published the most
book on nails yet. It supercedes the 1976 work Date
Nails Complete (Glenn Wiswell & John Evans). I have lots
of copies of the 6th printing on hand. The price is $30.00 post
paid. Read on for ordering
info. NOTE: As of July
2011 I have run out of copies. When I get my act together I will
have more printed up.
The volumes are paperback, plastic comb bound
spiral bound), on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It is Special Report
#3, University of Indianapolis Archeology and Forensics Laboratory.
Table of contents for Date Nails and Railroad Tie
by Jeff Oaks
|History of railroad tie preservation
| History of railroad tie preservation
| Short biography of Octave Chanute
|Railroad listings A-H
|Railroad listings I-Y
|Index of railroads without entries
|Treatment company sets
|About the author
|Photographs of nails
| Introduction to the photographs
| Date nails showing the year only
| Letter nails
| Letter-number tie nails
| Letter number nails
| Single digit code nails
| Switch nails
| Pole height and depth nails
|Descriptions of some nails not shown
| Reverse listing
| Index of railroad initials
|Quick guide to shank markings
The introduction contains detailed info on
a glossary, lists of treatment chemicals and processes, general nail
information, and the bibliography.
The railroad listings comprise about 3/4 of the
(Volumes I & II). For each of over 250 North American
a list of date nails they used is given, followed by all info I have on
their tie treating and record keeping practices.
These lists form the foundation for the history
railroad tie preservation. No such history had ever been
before, and those article-length histories of wood preservation which
appeared in engineering journals over the years are invariably slanted
or give bad information. That is because it takes a careful examination
of each railroad's practices to see the whole picture clearly. I
am the only one crazy enough to spend years compiling this info!
The reverse listing is extremely helpful. If you
have a nail and you don't know what railroad used it, you can look it
here. The reverse listing, about 50 pages long, was created by a
program I wrote which takes the railroad listings as input.
It took me nearly a decade to write this 561 page
book. I corresponded with five dozen nail collectors and read
(I lost count after about 2,000) pages photocopied from old railroad
journals and books. I issued a first edition, called Date Nails by
in 1994, but it contained only the railroad listings, and those had not
yet been well researched.
If you have any questions on date nails, drop me
a note. I am always glad to find out what people are pulling and
I often help people identify nails, and I learn what is out there.
The cost for the three volume set is $30.00 post
paid. Canadian orders: send US$36.50 in a postal money
or Paypal. I ship it book rate (ca. 4-6 days), but if you want
delivery, add $7.00 for 1st class (rates have gone up!). I accept
Paypal (no credit card payments), or send a check or money order to:
Dept. of Mathematics
University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227.
Errata for the book.
If you have a 1st or 2nd printing (i.e. you purchased it in 1999),
all errata pages. If you have the nth printing consult all errata
from n up. Example: if you have the 4th printing, consult
4th and 5th printing errata. Note: I gave up an maintaining
errata in 2003. If you keep up with Nail Notes (see below) you
should be covered.
Errata for 1st & 2nd printing
Errata for 3rd printing
Errata for 4th printing
Errata for 5th printing
The booklet: Railroad Date
Collecting for Fun
This 22 page booklet, written by Norman Christian Jensen in 1983 is a
introduction to our hobby. Jensen’s book is profesionally
with ample photographs of nails, ties, tracks, fencelines, etc.
does not pretend to give any information on nail sets or to decipher
meanings of the nails. The book does a very good job of
to people outside our hobby just what it is that we do. There are
photos of nails in ties, of equipment used in pulling nails, and of
nail displays. If someone is a little curious about date nail
this is the right book.
To order, send $6.00 (that includes postage) to: Jerry Waits,
501 W. Blue Bell Rd, #10, Brenham, TX 77833.
The Texas Date Nail Collectors' Association
Despite its name, the TDNCA is a North American
which has served date nail collectors since 1970. The magazine Nailer
News is issued four times a year, and it contains articles on
ads for nails, info on nail shows, etc. Issues are normally about
24-30 pages long.
Annual membership is $20.00. Send your check to:
501 W. Blue Bell Rd #10
Brenham, TX 77833
The upcoming date nail show
As always, if I fall behind in my listing of the next show, contact
Charles Sebesta (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for the latest info.
Our 2011 Summer Show in LaCrosse, Wisconsin was initially scheduled to
be at the Knight's of Columbus Hall on State Road 16. However,
since those arrangements were made the building has been sold.
The new owner has refunded our initial payment and has also provided us
with additional funding to off-set some of the rental cost at our new
locaton. Mark Gilles, our Show Chairman says it is a win-win
situation: better facilities at less cost.
The new location is:
The Moose Lodge
1932 Ward Avenue
LaCrosse, WI 54601
To get there take Exit #5 off of
Interstate 90 in LaCrosse onto State Road 16 and go south through
LaCrosse (no turns - Hwy 16 turns into Losey Blvd.) until you reach
Ward avenue (McDonalds is on one of the corners) and turn right.
Go five blocks and the Moose Lodge is on the left.
Mark says that we will have
adequate space for up to 32 tables, all furnished by the lodge.
Right now Mark plans on setting up 27 tables, but he would appreciate
if all those planning to attend would let him know how many tables that
they will need.
Thursday afternoon, August
4th: 3:00 to 6:00pm for set up
Friday, August 5th: 8:00am
Saturday, August 6th; 8:00am
to 12:00 noon
(We need to have things cleaned up and be out of the
building by 1:00pm)
On Thursday evening, Mark has reserved the private upstairs dining room
at the "Freight House" for dinner at 7:00pm. It is the old
Milwaukee Road Freight depot. It's at 107 Vine Street, in
On Friday evening (if we have enought who wish to go) he'll reserve
space at the "Train Station BBQ." It is located in the 'old'
Milwaukee Road passenger depot, which is now the AMTRAK Depot.
It's located at 601 St. Andrews Street in LaCrosse.
If you have additional questions, you can contact Mark at:
Cell: (608) 385-3850
Home: (608) 782-9580
Work: (608) 775-4010
Extra currulicular activities
There will be some flyers with information for a
train trip to the Boone & Scenic Valley RR station on Thursday or
Saturday available at the show.
Here is a photo, taken by Wes Hodges, from the March 23-24, 2001 show
in Shelbyville, KY. It is of Don Blake's marvelous display of
nails. What you see is only half of it!: (--1--)
Here are some nice pics of the show taken by Steve Cochran at the
KS show (July 28 and 29, 2000): (--1--)(--2--)(--3--)(--4--)(--5--)(--6--)(--7--)(--8--)(--9--)
Photos from the Kerville, TX show, which was held in March, 2000
by Steve Cochran):
(--1--) Show host John
Haifly looks over Don Blake's table
(--2--) Some nice old Rock
Island nails in this one!
(--3--) Santa Fe nails.
The e-mail newsletter Nail Notes
About once a month I send out "Nail Notes" to over
people via e-mail. This newsletter informs people about new
tips, date nail shows, and often contains digital photographs of nails,
opinions, etc. "Nail Notes" is free. If you want to
me. Your address will NOT be given out to anyone.
If you want to see past mailings, they are available
with a click of the mouse:
Notes, May 1999
Notes, August-September 1999
Notes, September 1999
Notes, November 1999
Notes, January 2000
Notes, February 2000
Notes, March-April 2000
Notes, May-June 2000
Notes, July 2000
Notes, September 2000
Notes, October 2000
Notes, December 2000
Notes, January-March 2001
Notes, April-June 2001
Notes, August, October, & December 2001
Notes, February & May 2002
Notes, November-December 2002
Notes, February 2003
Notes, April-May 2003
Notes, July-September 2003
Notes, Nov 2003-Jan 2004
Notes, March & May 2004
Notes, July-November 2004
Notes, January 2005
Notes, July-August 2006
The date nail discussion forum
This is set up on Paul Zeiner's web page. Go
to leave your comments, questions, wants, nails for trade, etc.
software does not record the date, so you might want to do that.
The most current entries are at the bottom of the list.
In January 2001 the Forum was revamped and the messages started
from nil. The messages from the old forum are still available for
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