Site of Blacksmith Shop/Nailery

Nailery - Building j View Interactive Version ]

In 1794, Jefferson added a nailmaking operation to the Blacksmith Shop in an effort to provide an additional source of income. Nailrod was shipped to Monticello by water from Philadelphia and was hammered into nails by as many as fourteen young male slaves, aged ten to sixteen. On a typical day in 1796, the fires of the Mulberry Row nailery produced about 5,000 to 10,000 nails in seven different sizes, including fourpenny brads cut from hoop iron by a nail-cutting machine.

The nails were sold in the neighborhood and in stores in the towns of Charlottesville and Staunton. In its first years the nailery was quite profitable, grossing over $2,000 in 1796, but Jefferson soon encountered competition from cheaper imported nails as well as difficulties in management. By the time the War of 1812 cut off the shipment of nailrod, the nailery had ceased to be a profitmaking operation.


Related Materials