The Road, Sea & Rail Collection uses real antique railroad artifacts. Our soldered steampunk cufflinks are made with genuine railway uniform buttons, dating between 1880 and 1950.
Railroads were one of the most important technologies of the Victorian and Industrial Era, connecting the world in ways previously unknown to society. First invented in the mid 1750s, the steam engine was a critical part of the innovation process.
The first passenger railroad carriage, drawn by horses was built in 1807 in Swansea, England but it was not until the 1820s that steam-powered railroads came to the US. The first westward bound railroad built in America was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O), which ran from Baltimore to the Ohio River in Virginia. The Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869, beginning several decades of thriving railroad transport.
About Railroad Date Nails: In the later half of the 1800s, North American railroads began to experiment with treated railroad ties as tracks were put down across the nation. Marking the ties as they went onto the track helped keep track of the life and maintenance of different ties. By the 1890s, date nails became the chosen method, with the year of installation stamped on the head of the nail. It is sometimes possible to trace different companies through the shape and markings on the nail. Like railroads, date nails were most used in the 1930s and almost completely disappeared by the 1970s.
Railroad History Timeline
1769 – Invention of steam engine by James Watt
1803 – First passenger railroad (horse-drawn) in South London.
1820 – Invention of wrought iron allows longer rails for tracks
1830 – First west-bound route in US, the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) line
1869 – Transcontinental railroad completed when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific meet at Promontory Summit
1872: George Westinghouse patents the first automatic air brake. This is basically the same system as is used by today's railroads.
1880s – Date nails begin to appear treated railroad ties (oldest known is an 1897 from the Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Line)
1883: The Northern Pacific line completed at Gold Creek, Montana.
1883: The Southern Pacific line is completed.
1885: The Santa Fe is completed.
1930s – Over 100 railroads using date nails, peak of use
1950-70 – Date nail use ends