These developments meant that many things that previously had been made in small quantities by labor-intensive manual methods could be purchased in bulk from manufacturers at lower cost. Fort Vancouver in the Hudson’s BayCompany era was on an isolated frontier, the far edge of the Europe-centered commercial networks. But the Company's business was commerce, and as long as the maritime connection was maintained it could acquire just about whatever Europe could provide.
The cost of these nails to the Company was £115.1s.1d, or just over 115 pounds sterling. The Measuring Worth online calculator suggests that would amount to about $13,000 in today's dollars. (3)
I thank Heidi Pierson, Museum Specialist on the staff of Fort Vancouver NHS, for pointing out that archaeological evidence suggests more hand-wrought nails were used in the HBC era than might be suggested by looking at one shipment arriving from England in 1844. Heidi has prepared a very useful "mini-guide" to old nails, available HERE.
In the course of working up this posting I came across an extensive bibliography of literature on the history of nails and their interpretation in archaeology and historical restoration, available HERE.
(2) While child labor was common in the 19th century, the advent of nail-making machinery should get us past the image of workshops full of 10 year-old boys manually pounding out nails with hammer and anvil, from heated iron rod stock.