Friday, April 23, 2010

Cobalt Blue Salmon Pillow With A Date Nail In It's Mouth


Since the "cobalt blue salmon pillow" portion of our title is certainly self-explanatory, TSG supposes our readers are wondering, "What the heck is a date nail?"

Well, friends, wonder no more!

Date nails were invented in Europe the 1860s as a way to assess wood treatments used for railroad ties.  Nail heads were stamped with the date and driven into ties (and later, telephone poles) to keep a record of how well various treatments worked in preserving the wood. This method was adopted by railroads in the US some years later; the earliest know example being from 1897.

TSG encountered an amazing display of these bits of railroad arcana while visiting the Western American Railroad Museum (WARM) in Barstow, California. The exhibit pictured below is the result on one man's obsession...since 1969, Albert Gustafson has traveled the 50 states and Europe "pulling nails".  He has amassed the largest collection in the world.

Albert likes to mount his nails in a felt backing and frame them. As you would expect, we here at TSG have chosen a slightly more esoteric way to show off our collection.