World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Nail file

Article Id: WHEBN0003690642
Reproduction Date:

Title: Nail file  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: File, Prom Night III: The Last Kiss, Multi-tool, Clauss Cutlery Company, Guitar picking
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nail file

Nail files

A nail file is a tool used to gently grind down and shape the edges of nails. They are often used in manicures and pedicures after the nail has been trimmed using appropriate nail clippers. Nail files may either be emery boards, ceramic, glass, crystal, plain metal files or metal files coated with corundum (sapphire).


  • Materials 1
    • Emery board 1.1
      • Emery pitches 1.1.1
    • Glass 1.2
  • History 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Emery board

An emery board

Emery boards are pieces of cardboard which have emery or emery paper glued to them, making them both abrasive and flexible, used for fingernail and toenail care. They are used by manicurists to shape and smooth the nail during manicure and pedicure sessions. Emery boards are inexpensive and disposable, making them a sanitary alternative to metal nail files. The emery board was first patented by J. Parker Pray of New York in 1883.[1]

Emery boards are generally less abrasive than the metal nail files, and hence, emery boards may take longer to file down nails than metal nail files. However, nail files may play a role in disease transmission if they are used on more than one person without adequate sterilization. Emery boards are usually less expensive than metal nail files, therefore emery boards can be economically disposed of after use on a single person. The nail can be smoothed and shaped accurately by taking light, even strokes in one direction across the top of the nail. Twenty to thirty easy strokes can typically shorten excessively long fingernails, while five to ten strokes are sufficient for shaping the nails.

Guitar players have also been known to use emery boards to smooth out calluses which may snag the strings of their guitars.[2]

Emery pitches

Baseball pitchers and cricket bowlers have been known to use emery boards to scuff the outside of the ball. The roughness can offer more grip and hand control. Surface scratches also alter the ball's aerodynamics making it more susceptible to spin and movement when in flight. However, the deliberate manipulation of the ball using an emery board is classified as cheating in baseball and cricket.

In an infamous 1987 Major League Baseball incident, Joe Niekro of the Minnesota Twins was caught with an emery board in his pocket and suspended for ten games. He claimed it was for filing his nails.


Glass nail files are more recently available. Since glass nail files have a smoother and more even surface they do not splinter the nail like emery boards or metal nail files. This makes them a preferred instrument by manicurists, although they are sometimes difficult to find in stores. Glass nail files come in very different qualities, some of them solid glass, others merely glass covered with an abrasive surface.


Although the modern nail file has only appeared at the end of the 19th century, evidence of nail file-like tools exist even further back in history. Marie Antoinette was known for her obsession of the 'lime à ongles', which was a nail file-like tool made of the pumice stone. Seeing her perfectly shaped nails, it instantly became the latest female trend in the French Court of Versailles. The pumice stone was carved into a pencil like shape, which was used to trim and shape the edges of the nail. This tool would not be disposed after use, but would be hand washed by the maids and placed by the bathtub to be used again. In 1830's a foot doctor named Sitts created an "orange stick" which was developed originally from an unknown dental tool which women used to file down their nails. Before this invention, women had to resort to using different acids, various metals and scissors to remove excess nail and shape them correctly.[3]

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Patent D15,041
  2. ^ Using Nail Files
  3. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.