Pacific Gas & Electric Company (pole nails).

by Rolland Meyers

The direction of my collection of nails has always tended toward railroad tie nails and away from pole nails of all kinds. But several years ago I got my first dog!! The dog needed walking and I needed an excuse to walk the dog. So I would put the nail puller in my back pocket and the dog would walk and I would pull. We have covered a good portion of the City of Oakland and a fair representative sample of other areas in Northern California (PG&Es service area).

At one point I had several "holes" in my collection as far as dates went and one day on an outing with my wife and the dog I spotted a couple of old looking poles along the road near a State Park north of San Francisco. I saw a date that I had not pulled before.......and unfortunately that was ALL that I saw. I started pulling the nail out and finally met with success. It was then that I noticed the entire pole was covered with poison oak, a plant to which I am seriously allergic. It took a month to recover from pulling that one nail.

I set out to find, as closely as I could what consisted of a true and full set of Pacific Gas and Electric Company nails. I had heard stories from workers that they began using them in the very early 1900's, and many old timers "swore" they had seen some from those years when they first started working for the company. The earliest date I can substantiate is a 1922 2 x 1/4(07) rr steel nail. There may well be some before this datebut in my contacts with others that collect them and with the current staff and head of the pole treating department none could be substantiated.

Over the years I found two others that seriously collected the PG&E set and we have exchanged notes on those nails that we have personally pulled from PG&E poles. Those two are: Wayne Gregory (#608) of Sacramento; and Larry Murdoch, not a TDNCA member, from Red Bluff, CA. I have been asked by several collectors to print a list of the nails we have attributed to the PG&E set. I will do that here.

But I will qualify the listing by including only those nails that I personally pulled. Those pulled by Larry Murdoch all are duplicates of the ones I pulled, but in the case of Wayne Gregory, there are several nails that Larry or I did not find. Because the area around Sacramento had other power suppliers and poles it is possible some of the nails in Waynes listings are not PG&E.

One last item before I print the listing. In the years 1952-1956 there was a major retreatment of PG&E poles already in place. As the poles were treated on site the old nail was supposed to have been removed and a new nail (with a washer ) put into the pole. This is why there are is an abundant amount of poles in the area with nails from this period. Once in a while you will see poles with two nails because the retreatment crews either forgot or neglected to pull the original nail.

Once again, I am sure this does not constitute the complete set, but after pulling a lot of nails and walking a lot of poles this is the set I have:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (No. California) nail set.
1922 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1923 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1924 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1925:b TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1926 TYPE 07 2 x 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1926:b TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1927 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1927 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1928 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1928 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1929 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1929 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1929:b TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1930 TYPE 18B 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1930 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1931 THROUGH 1939 TYPE (07) 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1940 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL (THIS HAS A VERY SMALL DATE AND IS NOT SHOWN OR LISTED AS A PHOTO IN DNC OR JEFFS BOOKS)
1941 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1942 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1943 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1944 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 SQUARE RAISED STEEL
1945 TYPE 05 2 X 1/4 SQUARE INDENT STEEL
1946 TYPE 06 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1947 TYPE 05 2 X 11/4 SQUARE INDENT STEEL
1947:b TYPE 05 2 X 1/4 SQUARE INDENT STEEL (I CAN FIND NO PHOTO OR MENTION OF THIS NAIL IN EITHER DNC OR JEFFS BOOKS)
1947 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1948 TYPE 07 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1948:c TYPE 06 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL (EXTREMELY SMALL HEAD/REGULAR SHANK)
1949 THROUGH 1958 TYPE 06 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1959 THROUGH 1971 TYPE 12 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1972 TYPE 09 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1973 TYPE 09 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1974 TYPE 12 2 X 1/4 ROUND INDENT STEEL
1975 THROUGH 1980 TYPE 12 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1981 TYPE 12 2 X 1/4 ROUND RAISED ALUMINUM
1981 ? ? 2 X 3/16 ROUND RAISED STEEL
1982 TO DATE.......
(FROM 1981 UNTIL THE PRESENT THE NAILS ARE ALL 2 X 3/16 ROUND RAISED STEEL - I AM NOT POSITIVE OF THE TYPE ALTHOUGH THE DATE STYLE FOR SOME IS THAT OF A TYPE 10 - THE SHANK MARKINGS VARY IN THE AMOUNT AND SPACING OF THE ANCHORS. I AM NOT SURE OF THE MANUFACTURER?)
If anyone can add to this list with substantiatied pulls from PG&E poles I hope that addition will be submitted so the full and true set of PG&E can be established.
Regards.
Rolland A. Meyers
Oakland, CA
TDNCA #1270