Cobbler's Nail Cups
In construction of the earliest footwear, the maker used a
wooden peg to affix the sole and the heel to the body of the
shoe or boot. Each generally fabricated his own stock of pegs.
With the appearance of better manufacturing processes, small
nails, tacks and brads could be made in a consistent manner.
They came in a myriad of sizes, necessitating a coherent storage
system that allowed for easy access.
The nail cups shown in these pictures are from two manufacturersthe
larger is marked with "Universal Shoe Machinery",
the smaller with "C.S.L. Nail Cup"yet they are
essentially the same. Another popular brand was the Star nail
cup. Made of cast iron, the six to eight compartments sit
on a rotating base. They were produced in many forms, including
a two-tier model. A patent search has turned up only patent
#551,997 by J.N. Parker. It appears that the cup portion became
public domain and was manufactured by many sources.
Now collectables, these items have been included in the woodworking
newsletter because, similar to clamps where you cannot have
too many, a sensible storage system is always needed in the
workshop and this method still seems pertinent today.