Nuts, Bolts and the Hex-Headed Innovation
Nuts and bolts with hex heads are practically ubiquitous. When I was in marching band, one of our chants at football games referred to the fasteners. Whenever the referee made a bad call, the whole band would yell “nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, we, got, screwed!” Of course, that was if anyone was paying attention to the game. Aside from bando chants, the fasteners hold together my drum set, chairs, tables and many more applications. My computer desk at home actually has hex-head bolts that keep on getting unscrewed. I could end the problem with aid of a wrench but I have no need for such easy fixes.
As much as they are used today, hex-head nuts and bolts didn’t used to be the standard fastener. Square-head bolts once dominated the fastener market. They were much easier to make at the time considering older tools, metals and techniques. Less accurate tolerances were required and there was enough room to employ the large headed bolts. However, as machinery became more compact, bolts evolved to featuring hex-heads to make room on the smaller machines.
Forty years after the first cold-headed machines were developed; Bessmer steel mills began punching out hex-headed nuts and bolts. This was only possible after the company began producing new mild steel in accurate thickness and quantity. Still, these bolts were individually made, which meant they could vary in size. It wasn’t until the World Wars that nuts and bolts became standardizes and mass produced. Massive armies needed standardized equipment for maintenance purposes. So, cold heading companies and other manufactures started to standardize production of war material. Now it’s an essential part of modern life.