The term rivet is used to describe various fasteners that have a few common characteristics. One end is preformed and the other end is reshaped when put into use. All have a straight shaft that runs through the bonded materials. They are used to join two or more materials and create a stronger and tighter connection than a screw of the same diameter. Riveting is used in all kinds of construction today, metal is the most riveted material. However, wood, clay and even fabric can also be riveted.
The most well-known type of rivet, the hot rivet provides the strongest connections. In this process, glowing hot rivets are fed through precisely drilled holes where the unformed end is hammered to close the joint. The rivet contracts as it cools and compresses the joint tightly.
The story of the rivet is a fascinating journey through history. Here are 20 facts you didn't know about rivets:
1. The first rivets appeared in Ancient Egypt 5,000 years ago and fixed handles to clay jars.
2. During the time of the ancient Romans, rivets were common in construction.
3. Seventh-century Vikings used rivets to fasten the planks of their boats.
4. In the mid-19th century, advances in metal technology marked the dawn of the modern era of riveting. Riveting became the primary method of constructing metal tools, buildings, and vehicles.
5. Wrought iron, steel and aluminum are the most common riveted metals due to their relatively soft composition.
6. Since cast iron is not very flexible, it cannot be riveted.
7. Bolts and welding are two other ways of connecting metal, and each has its own use. Bolts are more versatile as they can be disassembled. Welding is more efficient, lighter and versatile as it can add various shapes in many configurations. The disadvantage of welding is that it affects the cellular structure of the metals being joined and can create unwanted internal stress. Riveted joints are more flexible and yield under changes in temperature.
8. The first widespread, modern application of the rivet was in boiler making.
9. The shipbuilding industry owes much of its early success to the riveting process. Great increases in maritime traffic between 1830 and 1940 increased the use of rivets.
10. There are two types of riveting: hot and cold. Cold riveting is generally used when small rivets are required. Hot rivets are typically larger and are used in large-scale structures such as ships, boilers and steam engines. These rivets are heated before assembly.
11. In the mid-1800s, rivets began to be used in the construction of architectural structures. Iron beams were riveted together, super-strong structures were created, and the way to today's skyscrapers was paved.
12. Art and architecture used the rivet almost as much as industry. When it was built in 1887, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was the tallest structure in the world. The 1,063-foot-tall tower consisted of 18,038 pieces riveted together with 2.5 million rivets.
13. Other important uses of rivets throughout history include the Golden Gate Bridge (1.2 million rivets), the Sydney Harbor Bridge (6 million rivets) and the RMS Titanic (3 million rivets).
14. On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss patented his copper rivet jeans. The rivets were intended to reinforce the pants at common stress points. Levis has sold over 200 million copper rivet jeans to date.
15. Many WWII era tanks were riveted together until weaknesses were found in this construction method. Evidence from the battlefield showed that the rivets could loosen when a large shell hit the tank. Loose rivets would become small projectiles that would fly off the inside of the tank, injuring soldiers.
16. Some drummers use special scratchy cymbals that differ from regular cymbals by having a few rivets attached to them. The sound of a sizzling cymbal when struck is louder and sharper.
17. Ancient techniques for installing rivets used hammering a special tool called a mace. This cup-shaped tool will help shape the hammered end of the rivet into a mushroom shape that is the same as the other end.
18. The advent of pneumatic tools made riveting more efficient. Today's riveting is done with special air-powered riveting guns that fire multiple times per second, shaping the rivet head into the final mushroom shape.
19. Pop rivets are also known as blind rivets because a person can easily install them. Instead of hammering the rivet, a special riveting tool pulls the inside straight.
20. The origin of the word "rivet" comes from the Persian parchīn “1. It is a quote from the word “curved, hook, nail with the tip bent after being nailed down”. This word is derived from the Persian word parchīdan. This word is derived from the Persian verb çīdan, çīn- چیدن, چین “to twist, twist”. The English word for rivet is based on Middle English and Old French, from the word "river", meaning to fasten or rivet something.