11:37PM | 03/01/00
Member Since: 03/01/00
3 lifetime posts
The answer to this question has eluded me since I started working at a hardware store at age 14. I'm now 22 and still searching. Where does the fact that nails are sized with the word "penny" originate from?


04:44AM | 03/02/00
Hi tooltyme, here's an answer that was posted just about 1 year ago by Henry in MI.

The "penny" system for sizing nails originated in England. The letter "d" was the designation for the English
penny. In the early days, the same abbreviation was used to indicate a pound in weight. Nails were weighed by
the thousand, so if 1,000 nails totaled 2 pounds, they were 2d, or 2 penny nails. The penny system has endured,
althoughtoday it refers only to nail length. For example, a 2d nail is 1 inch long. Each higher number represents
an increase in length of 1/4 inch, up to 12d (3 1/4 inch long). After 12d, the penny system becomes more
irregular. Today, there are approximately 890 2d common nails (big heads) or 1.380 finishing nails (small
heads) per pound.

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