Dating antique furniture locks
Therefore, most boards used in the construction of early cupboards show signs of being cut with an up-and-down saw.
The circular saw although introduced in the mid 1850s could not be made big enough and powerful enough to cut lumber of the size used in furniture construction until 1880.
During the Industrial Revolution, the method of making nails, screws, hinges, latches, and of milling lumber changed often. The style of nails changed a dozen times, the hinge changed four times, the screw changed three times, and so did latches and pulls.
Before 1846, all screws were handmade and the slot in the top of the screw was hand cut with a hacksaw. Because the new machine made screw was inexpensive, it was readily accepted by cabinetmakers.
Machine plane marks are of some use in dating cupboards made as early as 1860, but machine plane marks usually suggest a construction date of 1880 or later.
The introduction of the modern looking butt hinge used to hold doors on cupboards dates to 1820. By 1840, cast iron hinges became thinner as manufacturers tried to squeeze more hinges out of each pound of iron.
The slot still had to be cut by hand with a hacksaw.
Country furniture made with these screws can easily be dated to the ten-year period 1846-1856.