Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles

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(243 words)

A nail could be either a measure of length (2 1/4 inches), especially for cloth; or it could be a unit of weight (usually seven pounds), especially for wool. Zupko suggested this was (as a measurement of length for cloth) originally a unit of body measurement, referring either to the distance from the end of the thumb nail to the joint at the base of the thumb, or to the last two joints of the middle finger, and taken equal to ½ finger, ¼ span, 1/8 cubit . Based on the foot of twelve inches it was made equal to 21/4 inches, or ¼ quarter of cloth measure, or 1/16 yard. It was also a weight synonymous with clove .…

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Elizabeth Coatsworth, “Nail”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles, Edited by: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Maria Hayward. Consulted online on 28 January 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emdt_SIM_000885>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124356, 20120503

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