Capewell Celebrates 130 Years of Nail Making

Inventor George J. Capewell launched the Hartford firm with a new process that enabled workers to produce horseshoe nails with an automatic cold swaging process rather than the conventional method of laborious hot forging nails by hand.

The formation of Capewell was a typical example of the Hartford community’s many contributions to the 19th century Industrial Revolution, which was led by demonstrating inventiveness in manufacturing technology. Another Hartford example of industrial enterprise was the development of the Colt Patent Fire Arms, Co. This firm’s success was based on the invention of the revolving chamber pistol, advanced methods of manufacturing and development of an interchangeable parts system.

Capewell’s growth continued for many years as markets for the firm’s nails expanded throughout the world. After 79 years, the company was sold in 1970 to Standard Screw Co. of Hartford, and later to the George D. O’Neil family of New York City.

In 1985, the Mustad International Group acquired the nail operation and formed Capewell Horsenails, Inc. Over the past 26 years, Mustad has invested heavily in improving the quality of its nails and service to its customers, including building a new nail-making facility in 1999 in Bloomfield, Conn.


  • Marshall “Buster” Conklin of Horseheads, N.Y., passed away in mid-June. He was the long-time farrier instructor and resident farrier at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame. Cornell resident farrier Steve Kraus plans to pay tribute to Conklin’s career during the…
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