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The Evolution of Fasteners: Ancient Bolts to Modern Precision Parts

Most people using fasteners give little thought to their evolution, and some mistake them for recent development. That would be wrong, as these products have been around longer than you probably think. One thing’s for sure – the development of fasteners has been crucial to human development. This article explores the evolution of fasteners, from primitive bolts to the modern precision parts you see around today. If you need fasteners for a project, check out B&G Manufacturing. 

The Evolution of Fasteners: Fasteners History

Fasteners have been essential in building and engineering for millennia, like the Archimedes Screw, thought to exist from the 3rd century BC in Egypt. Some speculate the human race used screws way earlier in ancient civilizations in China, Greece, and the Arctic. 

Ancient bolts made of wood, bone, or stone

Were the earliest versions of what you now call fasteners. Despite their lack of precision and durability compared to modern standards, these rudimentary systems significantly protected structures, tools, and machinery. 

By the 3rd century CE, humankind invented the first metal rivets. Our ancestors used metal rivets to secure two materials together by inserting the rivet through a hole in each and then flattening the ends. 

Rivets significantly improved over their wooden predecessors as they were more robust and durable. 

In the 10th century CE, we developed screws, nuts, and bolts. They were a massive upgrade on rivets because they made the assembly and dismantling of machines much easier. Additionally, people began using various materials like iron, copper, and brass to make fasteners. 

The demand for fasteners increased in the mid-1700s.

This resulted in manufacturers such as the Wyatt Brothers in the UK to manufacture more than 150,000 of these components weekly. As a result, fasteners became commonplace in building, manufacturing, and other sectors

Fastener technology took a giant leap forward in the 1800s due to the Industrial Revolution. The invention of new machinery for mass-producing screws and bolts lowered their price and increased availability. 

There was a similar surge in demand for these parts in the US during the Civil War, which required manufacturers to produce parts for machines utilized in war and transportation. 

The Evolution of Fasteners: Manufacturing Standardization 

The invention of the screw thread and using interchangeable parts transformed the industrial industry. Thread standards in the US came about after the adoption and refinement of multiple systems between 1864 and 1884. 

However, the US made temporary adjustments to fit the two systems during World War I due to variations in American and European standards that made coordinating manufacturing efforts difficult. 

That birthed the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1947, marking the arrival of permanent standardization for the entire fastener industry. 

ISO developed voluntary international standards that fastener suppliers and manufacturers universally use across various industries to facilitate international trade. 

The Evolution of Fasteners: Modern Precision Parts Fastener Suppliers 

Fastener technology advanced rapidly in the 20th century, propelled by the needs of the aerospace, automobile, and other high-tech sectors. 

As a result, fastener manufacturers started making stronger, more durable fasteners that could endure harsh environments and corrosion. 

Materials like stainless steel, titanium, specialized alloys, and other high-performance materials found widespread usage, improving fasteners tremendously. 

The invention of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer numerical control (CNC) machining has significantly improved fastener precision

These technologies allow fastener suppliers and manufacturers to use complex geometries and threads, allowing for designing purpose-built fasteners for individual applications. 

Final Word on Fasteners

The evolution of fasteners has been remarkable since ancient times. Fasteners have been essential to transforming the world and propelling our societies to modernity, especially since the start of the Industrial Age. 

Request a quote, call us at 800-366-3067, or contact B&G Manufacturing fastener suppliers if you need nuts, bolts, or screws for any application. Don’t forget that our team will be at the International Fastener Expo this October, so you can swing by and ask us any fastener questions in person! We hope to see you there.