Can anyone here point me toward an authoritative history of
hex head nuts and bolts? I see square nuts and bolts in old
machinery and tools in museums, but I don't think I've seen
a hex head nut or bolt in anything built before 1900. Does
anyone know who invented/developed the hex head nuts and
bolts? When, where, why, etc? Any info on this topic
Probably Sir Joseph Whitworth - he standardised the threads used in screws
and bolts in 1841 and must have standardised the heads as well. There was a
TV program about him recently here in the UK.
This isn't authoratative history, but I've seen photographs of Civil War era
seacoast mortars where it can be clearly seen that the carriage is assemled
with square head bolts and HEX head nuts.
||> Can anyone here point me toward an authoritative history of
||> hex head nuts and bolts? I see square nuts and bolts in old
||> machinery and tools in museums, but I don't think I've seen
||> a hex head nut or bolt in anything built before 1900. Does
||> anyone know who invented/developed the hex head nuts and
||> bolts? When, where, why, etc? Any info on this topic
||Probably Sir Joseph Whitworth - he standardised the threads used in screws
||and bolts in 1841 and must have standardised the heads as well. There was a
||TV program about him recently here in the UK.
And every kid who bought a ratty TR4 in the 1960's knows the name Whitwort,
although most thought his first name was "Goddam".
Texas Parts Guy
||> ||> Can anyone here point me toward an authoritative history of
||> ||> hex head nuts and bolts? I see square nuts and bolts in old
||> ||> machinery and tools in museums, but I don't think I've seen
||> ||> a hex head nut or bolt in anything built before 1900. Does
||> ||> anyone know who invented/developed the hex head nuts and
||> ||> bolts? When, where, why, etc? Any info on this topic
||> ||> appreciated.
||> ||Probably Sir Joseph Whitworth - he standardised the threads used in screws
||> ||and bolts in 1841 and must have standardised the heads as well. There was
||> ||TV program about him recently here in the UK.
||> And every kid who bought a ratty TR4 in the 1960's knows the name Whitwort,
||> although most thought his first name was "Goddam".
||> Texas Parts Guy
||You know Snap On still shows Whitworth 3/8" drive sockets and
||combination wrenches in their catalog! Just looked at their site to
Yep, and I saw them in a catalog recently, probably KD Tools
And I think I've seen reference to some current use in some unlikely assembly -
Texas Parts Guy
Not to mention the "constant depression" carbs (as opposed to "constant
area", among other adjectives). and Lucas, the prince of darkness (and the
reason the brits drink warm beer: Lucas refrigerators), but I don't have an
answer to hex vs square heads.
Aw c'mon now guys , be honest. Lucas electrics weren't really all that bad
except when they were on poorly maintained machinery.
I've been a motorcycle mechanic for years and my personal experience is that
Lucas electric components have actually been a bit more reliable than
Nippondenso and other popular brands.
Wrong. Even on impeccably maintained vehicles the stuff was
was simply poorly engineered. For example BSA, Triumph, and
Norton all sold motorbikes with the archaic zener diode
"regulator" technology, that was simply not up to the
US DOT requirements for full-time headlight on use. The
batteries would simply go dead because the charging
system was improperly designed.
The diode would sink 50 watts max, so the dynamo (that's
what the brits termed them) could only put out that much
The total load on the bike was 45 watts for the headlight,
5 watts tail light, plus an amp or two for the ignition
system. Add them all up and the buss voltage was typically
11 volts. Not enough to charge. God forbid you should
have turn signals or a brake light.
Never trust a bike with an ammeter in the headlight bucket.
Honda understood the frustration that faced riders, and
marketed their vehicles with absolutely bulletproof
charging systems. This was one way they were able to
eat the brit manufacturer's lunch.
please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
Seem to recall reading somewhere ... sorry no references, my books are still
Hex stock had so many obvious advantages ... far more efficient use of
material to turn a bolt from bar stock ... less waste, far less machining
time ... ditto for simpler box wrenches, sockets etc. Less stress on
the box wrench corners, also more compact. Reckon it became the norm
pretty much as soon as the mills became capable of making it.
None of this applies to hot-forged or cold-formed bolt heads, and rolled
threads, that represent virtually all the common fasteners today. But there
was a long period where all machine screws and bolts were turned from hex
(or square) stock.
The American Sellers coarse thread is a copy? of (the same as) the
Whitworth coarse thread.
The thread angle is different - whit. 55degrees, Americian 60, but
interchangable as all pitches line up accept half inch where one has
12TPI the other 13.
Before our country went metric this caused considerable confusion
amoung engineers not in the know and still does for our vintage
Some car makers are using non-standard fasteners in Europe.
I did a cam belt change on a Rover recently. The engine mounting nuts were
M12. That should be 19mm AF. No metric or AF socket fitted. Finally found a
7/16 Whitworth one that went on perfectly. Rover aren't the only ones, Ford
fit non-standard bits as well.
OK, I admit our Lucas electrics were a bit of a joke in the 60's. The carbs
were good though, SU or Zenith. One jet and it was big enough that it didn't
get blocked. Change the air filter regularly so that the piston stays clean
and it works perfectly. Then out came the TR5 with fuel injection. Now that
was another story. I don't think they exported that to USA. You had the
TR250 with carburettors. A lot of UK cars have been converted to carbs for
Obviously the hex nut came about along with the development of the three
self-centering chuck--(and turret lathe)--Compare this with the
centering a 4 sided bar-(and grasping it firmly)----They continued with
nuts by making "hot pressed" square blanks , dropping them into a
fixture & drill & tap.
"Bob Powell" email@example.com
Can anyone here point me toward an authoritative history of hex head nuts and
bolts? I see square nuts and bolts in old
As Bob points out, all you need to make a hex-headed bolt or a hex nut is hex
stock. Part of the problem here is in the question. Most simple mechanical
devices do not have an original attribution, to a person or even to one
I don't have any really good early cites, but hex-headed bolts and nuts were
common in some applications in Western technology by at least mid-nineteenth
century. The oldest tradition probably comes out of hot forging with a header
(nail and bolt headers are common). But machinery for making screws was also
well developed by the 1840s. (I'm not talking about "screw machines," but about
machinery for making screws, such as bolt cutting machines and nut tapping
machines. Screws with tapered points show up, for example, about that time.)
Index milling machines for milling the sides of nuts and bolt heads are also in
evidence from about then--at least by the 1860s, in the U. S.
At the same time, much classic machinery, such as the common engine lathe,
retained the use of square-headed bolts/screws, more as part of the style than
not, I think, throughout most of the 1800s. Machine builders were conservative,
and would want to fulfill the buyer's expectations as to what the product
should look like, work like.
I was a mechanic at the local Triumph motorcycle dealer in the mid to
late 60's and at least 80% of all repairs were electrical. We actually
offered a complete (except for the alternator, points and handlebar
switches) replacement of all electrical components, including wire and
connectors (which were also shite), for $200 US (a tidy sum considering
a '67 Bonneville sold for $1472). About 20% of our customers had the
replacement done before taking delivery of the bike, about a third of
the rest were back for the modification with 6 months. Maybe Lucas got
better later, but it was absolute crap back then.
Not which, but *who*. The man's name was Soichiro
and he had a vision for how to gain entry into the
world's mtoorcycle market. He effectively unseated
norton, bsa, triumph, indian, harley davidson.
He did this by understanding what the common pitfalls
were in the motorcycles of the day. And engineered
his vehicles to absolutely avoid them.
I am certain that there is more than one honda engineer
who lost his job over a drip of oil on a showroom floor,
or an electrical switch that failed during a test run.
please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com