When were hex nuts & bolts first used in the US?
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  1. #1
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    Anybody know?

    Jamie

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    I did a little research and found this link.

    http://anniversary.asme.org/2005landmarks3.shtml

    William Sellers was the person who got what became known as the USS (united States Standard) thread forms adopted in 1864. These included hex heads, but as to when they were actually used in the U.S. I did not see. I did find a source that said hex heads were used to hold armor together as early as the 15th century.

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    I did some more looking and found this @ http://www.usenews2.org/group/rec.cr...le-545754.html Which says this
    "Interesting question. Since I was headed to the library last night, I
    thought I'd see what I could turn up. From a fastener book from about
    1950, I found out that cold-heading machines were around in the 1840s,
    hex nuts were being punched out of flat stock in the 1880s,
    screw-making machines(not automated) were around in the mid-1800's and
    they were rolling threads in the 1880s. No sign of a date for hex
    head introduction, it was probably wider spread after the Bessemer
    process made cheap(and uniform) mild steel available. Hand-forged
    wrought iron nuts and bolts were probably easier to make with square
    heads. I saw no signs of hex head bolts being milled, they weren't
    made that way in quantity as far as I can see. Upsetting and forging
    in a die are lots faster and cost lots less. One short article did
    mention that larger hex nut stock was planed from square stock before
    machining instead of starting from drawn or rolled hex stock, for
    those nuts that weren't punched from flat stock.

    Stan"

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    This is probably relating to mass production of hardware. My 1918 L&S has hex head bolts that were turned and threaded from 7/8" hex stock. I replicated this for my missing follow rest bolts back early this year. It's really fast. Not fast enough to sell by the hundred down at the hardware store, but plenty fast enough for mass production of machine tools.

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    In Ian Hogg's book "Weapons of the Civil War" there is a photograph captioned "Union 13-inch Siege Mortars, outside Yorktown in April 1862". In it one can clearly see the carriages are assembled with hex nuts (and square head bolts). Square nuts were used also, some are visible holding the straps down over the trunnions.
    David

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    The 1700's seems a safe guess...

    To quote Karl Kruszelnicki in a recent article on the ABC Science Web site1: "...In the Industrial Revolution, it soon became obvious that threaded fasteners made it easier to assemble products, and they also meant more reliable products. But the next big step came in 1801, with Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin. The lathe had been recently improved. Batches of bolts could now be cut on different lathes, and they would all fit the same nut...The next invention was by Henry Maudsley, an English inventor. He built a lathe that could cut screws of any diameter...Between 1800 and 1810, his invention dragged the art of making threads into modern engineering practice. In 1841, Joseph Whitworth delivered his paper A Uniform System of Screw-Threads to the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 1964, the International Organisation for Standardisation adopted two thread systems for the whole world -- the ISO Inch Screw Thread System, and the ISO Metric Screw Thread System..."

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    Another question is WHY haxagonal nuts started to be used in large numbers.

    Square nuts and bolts were easier to make, and more robust against abuse by ill-fitting wrenches.

    Presumably when machine designs became more efficient and compact, nuts and bolts needed to be accommodated in smaller spaces. Smaller spaces also meant less room to swing the wrench through a useful angle, so the more faces the nut had, the better. Of course more faces demanded more accurately made wrenches.

    Supplementary questions: When were ring wrenches (spanners to us) introduced, and when were multi-faceted broached spanners and sockets introduced?

    Going back to hexagonal nuts, they’ve probably been around for hundreds of years as DryCreek pointed out, but I came across an interesting aspect in L T C Rolt’s ‘Tools for the Job’, in the context of James Nasmyth’s early days. In 1830 Nasmyth was a young assistant to Henry Maudslay at a time when Maudslay’s were building a very large engine for HMS Dee. Nasmyth helped to build a scale model (which is now in London’s Science Museum). The model needed large numbers of hexagonal nuts, many with integral circular collars. Nasmyth designed a milling attachment to go on Maudslay’s bench lathe, comprising an indexing head with a vertical arbor, mounted on the cross slide. A milling cutter or ‘circular file’ was held in the chuck.

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    Probably came over on Columbus's ships; ship building was an art way before that.


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