IRONWORK REPAIRS IN TIMBER-FRAMED BUILDINGS.
7. The origins of
nails, staples, screw fixings and bolts. 4/6.
Staples as a method of
fixing are also an archaic form with the Romans forging a plethora of designs
for all conceivable applications. The OED lists the earliest literary mention
as being in 1295.
Staples were commonplace
items used in conjunction with hasps and bolts for doors and strongboxes,
ropes and chains and later for fixing iron nuts in place. In 1677 Moxon wrote
" You must with square Staples, just fit to contain the Bolt with an
easie play, fasten these staples, by rivetting them with the Bolt within them..to
the Main-plate. "
Iron ties often are pierced
to take nails and also shouldered or crimped to receive staples. Invariably
these staples (Fig. 7.12) are of a square section (the type mentioned by Moxon
above) and also have square shoulders. Staple is a term that can be applied
to any U-shaped impact fixing but here is used uniquely to refer to the iron
fixings used to secure the iron tie by passing across its width and sitting
against a shoulder or in a rebate. They are driven into the timber and hence
have sharp points. Undoubtedly the larger ones must have had pilot holes drilled
for them in order to prevent the dry timber from splitting out or to make
it possible to drive them in.
Two square-shouldered staples. The smaller is typical of those used to secure
iron ties. The larger has been redeployed as a hinge.
Their form seems unchanged
until the C20th when round section wire staples (Fig. 7.13) are used in place
of the stronger square forged type. For creating a dating typology they are
of dubious value within themselves but the form of the iron tie reflects changes
in technology and availability of wrought iron.
The Craft Barn at Cressing Temple, Essex. A modern iron tie from the 1950's
is fastened with a round sectioned staple. The tie itself is of poor quality
wrought iron and has corroded considerably.