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

Did you know one of the oldest nail companies around can be found in Mansfield?

Video Transcript

- It happens here is driven by your New England Chevy dealers.

- It happens here Mansfield. Ever been to an outdoor concert at the Xfinity center? Maybe you remember it as the Comcast center, or Great Woods, or the Tweeter Center. Mansfield's also the birthplace of Honey Dew Donuts. But long before there were donuts, there were more practical things, like nails.

ERIC DELONG: Tremont Nail is a 200 plus year old nail manufacturing company started down in Wareham, Massachusetts.

- You see, it used to happen in Wareham. That is, before the British burned it down in the War of 1812. But the Brits couldn't stop Tremont Nail. They just took their nails and equipment to Mansfield and built a new factory out of nails where they made more nails.

ERIC DELONG: We are the last sole surviving, full production square nail company in the world. The machines that we used today were originally built in the mid 1800s.

- So what is a square cut nail?

ERIC DELONG: The replicas are when people came over and started making nails by hand, and it has a blunt point so that it will cut the wood rather than wedge it apart. And the square cut nail has almost twice the holding power of a wire nail. These are the real deal.

- If these are the real nails, then this is the real nailer.

GARY FRANKLIN: I'm Gary Franklin and I'm a fifth generation cut nail maker. My great, great grandfather started working for Tremont back in the 1850s. He fought for the Union Army and he taught his son, and his son taught his son right down to my dad taught me.

ERIC DELONG: He has a depth of knowledge that surpasses any of us.

GARY FRANKLIN: Hot off the press. Hold them by the point, they're very hot.

- 12 employees, including Gary, run the 200-year-old machines in the nail room, producing about 1.2 million pounds of nails a year.

ERIC DELONG: We sell a lot to people who are doing reproduction work, 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.

GARY FRANKLIN: He's carrying on the family tradition.