What is the Origin of Nuts & Bolts?

Overview

Nuts and bolts are small metallic building devices that bind one part to another. Nuts, similar to screws, come in variations such as the handled wing nut. Bolts attach to the bottom of nuts to hold them in place. They are usually circular or hexagonal in shape.

Screws

Nuts originated with screws, which were invented by Romans to bind wood, build machines and secure chariot wheels.

First Nuts

In the 1400s, designs were produced by Leonardo da Vinci in Italy, Luc Besson in France and for Johannes Guttenberg's printing press. The first nuts were blunt-end screws.

First Bolts

Early bolts were handmade and difficult to match with nuts. No two were made the same. Matching sets were kept together. A lost piece required replacement with a new pair.

Standardization

The Industrial Revolution demanded mass production and standardized sizing. Nuts and bolts were used on everything from toys, wagons and factory machines to the cotton gin.

Threading

In 1797, Henry Maudsley designed a lathe that precisely cut threads. Yet each shop made threaded fasteners its own way. Replacing parts depended on available producers and materials.

Legacy

Nut-bolt designs remain consistent. The parts are sold globally and used daily. The expression "nuts and bolts" refers to the idea that something is practical or to an item's essential aspects.

References

  • History of Nuts
  • Black Smith Bolt
  • Thread History
Keywords: nuts, bolts, origin

About this Author

Sarah York has been a freelance writer and editor for five years. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Danforth Review, Pisgah Review and The Renaissance of Teaching and Learning and in various online sources. She holds both a B.A. in English and M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.A. in Literature from Western Carolina University.

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