HO scale railroad spikes: history question

When did HO scale railroad spikes first come into use, and who "invented" them? 5-string banjo players use them as a capo, inserted in the fingerboard,
for the short fifth string. I am interested in finding out which banjo player first used them for that purpose. Knowing when they first came into use for tracks might help me know when to start looking on banjos. Thanks. Don
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Don Tuttle wrote:

That's so far back in history that no-one could know - they were simply square nails with the head formed by forging it to one side rather than equally all round. You'll find the same sort of nail used to hold Viking longships together.

They probably didn't come into use until flat bottomed rail appeared - normally attributed to Vignol.
Regards, Greg.P. NZ
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I think you need to re-state your question, as like most other things we model, the HO spike is a miniature representation of the prototype spike. I think all would agree that to ask "who invented the HO freight car wheel?" is an empty question, and I think asking about the inventor of the spike is the same. To me, making a model of some one else's invention is not invention. That is not to say that asking "Who was the first to model the spike in HO with a single offset head instead of a round head nail?" or "Who invented the use of a staple to represent a pair of spikes to hold rail to fiber tie strip?" or "Who invented the first machine to nip the center out of a staple to make and insert two spikes?" are interesting questions. For the first, I agree with Greg that it's lost in history, but it's probably some firm that was already doing it in O scale and offered a similar product when the HO market matured. For the second, I think it's Atlas. For the third, I think it's Kadee. Geezer
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My dad was using commercially made HO spikes as early as the late 930s -but not as capo hooks- so they probably date back to the inception of HO as a popular gauge since almost *everyone* hand-layed their own track in those days.

I know.
http://www.zeppmusic.com/banjo/spikes.htm

Fruitless search. In almost 50 as an instrument repairman/luthier I've seen all sorts of things used as capo hooks: carpet tacks, brads, hand-filed brass rods, etc., and the basic idea of using HO spikes as capo hooks probably sprang up independently in various places as soon as the first banjo-playing model railroader set eyes on them.
There would be no way to determine exactly who was "first" anyway, because you'd never know if the oldest installation you'd found so far actually predated all the others you *didn't* find.
I'll admit that I was probably the first guy to publicly point out that spikes intended for code 70 and smaller rail were to be preferred*, as the online article referenced first appeared in Banjo Newsletter in the mid-1970s, but I seriously doubt that you'd ever be able to pin down (pun intended) just who did the very first spike installation.
Sorry,
Pete Roehling
*Note: The smaller spike head's lower profile provides more clearance under the 5th string, and allows an installation that doesn't snag passing fingers, puts the string less out of tune than other methods, and still allows the string to be fretted with no problems.
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Correction: The article first appeared in the May '79 issue of "Pickin'" magazine, but was also referenced in an issue of "Banjo Newsletter" that came out slightly later.
Us old guys are easily confused.
Pete
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"P. Roehling" wrote:

I wouldn't say that - I stayed in the mid-70s until long after May '79!
Greg.P.
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Sounds confused to me!
(Question: What's the difference between a banjo and a brass locomotive?
Answer: You can tune up a brass locomotive.)
Pete
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On 12/17/2007 12:19 AM P. Roehling spake thus:

OK, you started this:
Q: What's the definition of perfect pitch? A: Throwing a banjo into a dumpster without hitting the rim.
Q: What's the definition of a gentleman? A: One who knows how to play the banjo, but doesn't.
Q: Why was the banjo player crying? A: Because the guitar player put one of his strings out tune but wouldn't tell him which one.
Etc., etc., etc.
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(Snip)
Yup. They're called "Banjokes". But actually, musicians have jokes about all the different instruments and their players too.
For instance:
Q: What's the difference between a frog carrying a guitar and a human being carrying an accordion?
A: There's a good chance the frog's on his way to a gig.
Pete
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Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a larvgepizza?
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.
--
Steve

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Q: What's the difference between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul?
A: The Strat burns hotter, but the Les Paul burns longer.
I got a million of 'em, Mister Bones!
Pete
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On 12/17/2007 5:28 PM P. Roehling spake thus:

Well, OK, that thread could easily overburden any server running today.
So y'all all know about viola jokes, right? (In the same category as banjo/accordion/soprano/drummer/bass player jokes). Like:
Q: What's the difference between a violist and a seamstress? A: The seamstress tucks up frills.
But there's actually at least one good *pro*-viola joke (and I tell this as a former violinist myself):
Q: Did you realize that a viola and a violin are actually the same size? A: No, I did not. Q: Yes; it's just that violinist's heads are so much larger.
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So there's this guy who plays 4th chair viola in the Denver Symphony, and he finds a magic lamp, rubs it as per usual, and the requisite genie pops out and grants him three wishes.
He thinks about it for a while and says "My first wish is that I should be twice the viola player that I am now", and the Genie waves his hands, says "Alikazam!", and the guy wakes to discover that he now plays 3rd chair viola in the Philadelphia Symphony.
He enjoys it for a while, but grows bored and calls up the genie again, saying, "Genie, for my second wish I'd like to be *three* times as good as I am right now", and the genie waves his hands, says "Alikazam!", and the guy wakes to find that he now plays second chair viola in the New York Symphony!
He's content for six months or so, but finally decides to call the genie up for his last wish and says, "Genie, for my last wish I want to be better than any other viola player in the whole world!", and the genie waves his hands, says "Alikazam!", and the guy wakes to discover that he's now the 4th chair violinist in the Denver Symphony.
Sorry.
Pete -Who now has only 999,999 musician jokes left: 3 of which can be told in mixed company.
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