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It Happens Here: Mansfield's Tremont Nail Company Has Historic Ties To Early America

MANSFIELD (CBS) - Did you know one of the oldest nail companies around can be found in Mansfield?

"Tremont Nail is a 200-plus year old nail manufacturing company that started down in Wareham, Massachusetts," Eric DeLong, the President of Tremont Nail and Acorn Manufacturing, told WBZ-TV.

That's before the British burned it down in The War of 1812.

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An early photo of the Tremont Nail Company. (Photo credit: Wareham Historical Commission)

But the Brits couldn't stop the Tremont Nail Company. They just took their nails and equipment to Mansfield and built a new factory out of nails where they made more nails!

"We are the last sole surviving full production square cut nail company in the world. The machines we use today were originally built in the mid 1800's," DeLong explained.

So, what is a square cut nail?

"They're replicas of early America when people came over and first started making nails by hand. Ours are square cut meaning they are sheered rather than stretched and cut on a wire machine. It has a blunt point designed specifically so that it will cut the wood rather than wedge it apart therefore causing less splitting. And the square cut nail has almost twice holding power of a wire nail. These are the real deal. The real nail," DeLong said.

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Nails made at the Tremont Nail Company in Mansfield. (WBZ-TV)

If these are the "real nails," then Gary Franklin is the "real nailer."

"My great-great-great grandfather started working for Tremont back in the 1850's and he went into the Civil War. He fought for the Union Army. He taught his son, and he taught his son, and his son taught his son, right down to my dad taught me," Franklin, who is a fifth generation cut nail maker, told WBZ.

Twelve employees including Gary, run the 200-year-old machines in the nail room, producing about 1.2 million pounds of nails a year, selling most to people doing reproduction work and restoration on older homes. But the nails they make at Tremont do much more than hold an old home together, they tell the story of the people who make them.

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The Tremont Nail Company in Mansfield. (WBZ-TV)

"I'm just carrying on family tradition," said Franklin.

Tremont Nail produces 30 different styles of square cut nails and ship them to customers all over the world.

For more information, visit their website.

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