Sheets of rolled iron, of the thickness of the intended nails, are cut into strips or ribands, that are in width equal to the length of the intended nails; being then held horizontally, with a flat side upwards, the ends are pushed in a slide against a regulated stop, under a cutter, fixed to a powerful lever, or, as is generally the case, to the lower extremity of a fly-press, which cuts off a portion constituting a brad, or nail. In making brads or sprigs, which have no heads, and are merely wedge-formed pins, the strip of iron is turned upside down, alternately, at every cut, which keeps the inclination of the angle of the cut uniform throughout the length of the strip of iron without any waste. In making brads with half-heads, or bills, the strip of iron is kept with the same side upwards, and the position of the cutter is alternately reversed by making a half turn backwards and forwards; thus are formed two bitted-brads out of one parallelogram. To make this matter understood, we add the annexed illustration: - a represents a strip of sheet-iron, which is passed between two guides b b against the stop c; the line dd marks the direction of the edge of the cutter, which may be supposed to have descended and cut off a portion e, forming a brad: it will now be seen that if the strip a be turned upside down, and pushed against the stop c, the next portion/will take the place and position of e, and, consequently, be cut off by the next descent of the cutter dd; and thus, by repeatedly turning the strip over and back again, and pushing it forward every time with one hand, while the other is occupied in working the lever of a fly-press, the brads are formed with great rapidity.
It will be seen, likewise, on reference to those lines marked g in the figure, that they represent two brads, with half-heads, or bills, which, being placed in that manner, head to point, it is obvious that, by turning the cutter half-way round alternately, they will be cut both alike, out of one parallelogram, as represented. Except for making the larger kind of cut nails, the strength of boys and women is fully competent, who are, consequently, employed in most manufactories, each of them working a distinct press; and headless nails are thus made by each worker with nearly the rapidity and regularity of the ticking of a watch. Ingenuity has, however, devised much more expeditious modes of working, of which the machine we shall next describe is a respectable specimen. It is a recent invention of Messrs. Ledsam and Jones, of Birmingham, to whose enrolled specification of their patent we stand indebted for the following information.
Messrs. Ledsam and Jones have given, in their specification, a series of drawings, representing two different forms of their machine, together with several variations in the detail; but it has been our study to comprise all that is essential in the following elevation of their apparatus, which, we trust, will be comprehended by this explanation: - a a in the following engraving, exhibit two (out of four) of the standards to the frame, the other two being behind them, and connected, in a similar way, by horizontal bars, as that at b. This frame is fixed, and forms the support of a swinging-frame cc, and a horizontal shaft d d, which revolves in bearings at ee; fis an eccentric on the shaft d, regulated by a screw, and acting on a frame g, attached to the swinging-frame e, which latter vibrates upon arms or trunnions h h; i is a connecting rod attached to the crank on the axis d, and to the axis of a stout pair of leaves kk; this axis moves vertically in a groove, as shown by dotted lines in the central cheeks of the swinging-frame; the leaves k k are connected by hinges to the boxes 11, which are supported by the rocking standards m m; theae boxes contain the moving cutters n n, which are kept in their places by screws
(not shown); on the inclined faces of this gauge, the rods, or strips, of which the nails or brads are formed, rest; r r are fixed cutters in the end cheeks of a swinging-frame, and retained in their places by screws s s; t a frame attached to the fixed frame, and carrying the cross-bar v, shown on a larger scale by the annexed Fig. 2; w is one of the guide rods hooked on the cross-bar v, and screwed up to a beam above; x a perforated weight sliding upon w, having its lower end hollowed to receive the ends of the bar, or strip y, of which the brads are made. This bar slides down after every cut against the edge of the fixed cutter r, and rests upon the surface of the gauge g, which determines the breadth of the nail; then the leaf k forces forward the box I, containing the cutter n, which cuts off the iron in a right line with the plane of the under surface of the opposite cutter r. z, Fig. 1, is a band-wheel for communicating motion from the prime mover, with a loose pulley at its side for throwing the machine out of action.
The action of the machine is as follows: - By the revolution of the axis d, the eccentric upon it forces the swinging-frame c into an inclined position; the crank on the axis at the same time acting upon the rod i, draws the leaves k k into a horizontal position, and thereby forces the movable cutters n n forward against the fixed cutters r r, dividing obliquely the strips of iron placed between them in their progress, the same as if cut by shears; the brads thus formed fall down the inclined surface of the gauge, and are received in a box beneath. The opposite vibration of the swinging-frame makes a second cut, and thus on both sides of the machine (though represented only on one side) a series of rods, or strips of iron, are placed in a line, all of which are cut twice at every revolution; thus, supposing eight rods or strips (the number used by the patentees) are applied to each pair of cutters, 32 brads are cut at every revolution of the axis: of course a considerable power being necessary to do this, that of a steam-engine, or water-wheel, is to be employed in this machine, in preference to manual labour.