Riviting story about locomotive boilers.

steamman

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May 26, 2020
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Columbus, Ga
Best Friend of Charleston--looks like it was riveted together. Metal rivets go back to the bronze age so was no new invention. Metal rivets had a head and shaft the rivet was heated before use to white hot and was put into the hole between to pieces of metal. One man held the head in place with a bar of metal while the man on the other side hammered the other side until it mushroomed flat against the other side. Rivets would not be replaced until the introduction of high strength bolts in the 1950s.

I see a lot of pieces in this boiler. IMHO some this was due to the lack of wide rolled steel. Some due to the design of the vertical boiler.

A consideration of boiler design is that because the boiler cycles between cold, heating up, hot, cooling down and back to cold, the joints must be caulked with a caulking chisel, hammering between the joints until the metal deformed to seal the joint. This would not change until nearly the end of steam locomotives when welding was used to seal the joints.
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Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
When I first graduated from High School, I had the opportunity of working in a shipbuilding industry. I was exposed to all the equipments for metallurgy, fabrication, design, but no technology. It was basic heavy shears, spot-welding, drill presses, hand tools, scribes, etc. Though I hated it at the time, looking back I reflect on a fond memory. I learned a lot.
Lubliner.
 

Irishtom29

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Jul 21, 2008
Location
Comancheria
In the boilermaking trade riveting plate was replaced by arc welding, in the ironworking trade nuts and bolts replaced the riveting of structural iron. Rivets made a tight seal because the rivets shrank as they cooled, pulling the joint tight. Every once in awhile on a repair job such as on a stove in a steel mill we'd have to drive out old rivets with a B&O; you washed off the head of the rivet with a torch, then one person held the B&O on the rivet shaft and another hit it with a beater; they shot out like bullets.

AB9DA17E-82DE-47B7-BE76-336B3AF3A383.jpeg




Retired field construction boilermaker, Local 1, Chicago.
 
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steamman

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Joined
May 26, 2020
Location
Columbus, Ga
In the boiler making trade riveting plate was replaced by arc welding, in the ironworking trade nuts and bolts replaced the riveting of structural iron. Rivets made a tight seal because the rivets shrank as they cooled, pulling the joint tight. Every once in awhile on a repair job such as on a stove in a steel mill we'd have to drive out old rivets with a B&O; you washed off the head of the rivet with a torch, then one person held the B&O on the rivet shaft and another hit it with a beater; they shot out like bullets.

View attachment 373525



Retired field construction boilermaker, Local 1, Chicago.
Another development was longer rolled steel that ultimately replaced the need to join smaller pieces together.
 

steamman

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Joined
May 26, 2020
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Columbus, Ga
In the boiler making trade riveting plate was replaced by arc welding, in the ironworking trade nuts and bolts replaced the riveting of structural iron. Rivets made a tight seal because the rivets shrank as they cooled, pulling the joint tight. Every once in awhile on a repair job such as on a stove in a steel mill we'd have to drive out old rivets with a B&O; you washed off the head of the rivet with a torch, then one person held the B&O on the rivet shaft and another hit it with a beater; they shot out like bullets.

View attachment 373525



Retired field construction boilermaker, Local 1, Chicago.
I enjoyed your story. Good info on how rivets held it together.
 

steamman

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May 26, 2020
Location
Columbus, Ga
I can imagine the amount of weight added by use of rivets and nuts and bolts. When the advent of welding finally arrived the reduction of weight and job time for application had to have increased efficiency, dramatically.
Lubliner.
Imagine the noise in a locomotive factory with all the riveting going on.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
X-Ray Viking Helmet.jpeg


This exquisitely rare viking helmet, only the second one ever found, was X-rayed to show its construction details.
It was riveted together using many small plates of iron.
Rivets really have been around for over a thousands years.
<smithsonianmag.com> Millennia-Old Headgear Is One of Just Two (Almost) Intact Viking Helmets​
 

Waterloo50

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Jul 7, 2015
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England
Imagine the noise in a locomotive factory with all the riveting going on.
The noise must have been unbearable especially in ship yards, here’s a little fact...
3,000,000 rivets were used in the construction of Titanic - 2 million of which were done by hand and 1 million were completed using a hydraulic hammer.
 

weasel

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Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
In urban construction, you might also see someone fabricating rivets on-site which, while still warm, would be hurled up to a worker who would put them in place. Frequently they'd be caught with a bucket - I always like seeing that in old newsreels, movies, or whatnot and thinking of how precise you had to be over and over. In today's day and age, if I make a typo I just ctrl-backspace and the word disappears. Not much of that when you're hurling semi-molten metal around.
 

steamman

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Joined
May 26, 2020
Location
Columbus, Ga
View attachment 373700

This exquisitely rare viking helmet, only the second one ever found, was X-rayed to show its construction details.
It was riveted together using many small plates of iron.
Rivets really have been around for over a thousand years.
<smithsonianmag.com> Millennia-Old Headgear Is One of Just Two (Almost) Intact Viking Helmets​
Rivets go back to the Bronze age, maybe as old as 4000 BCE. .
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Note the hand-cranked furnace as well. You sometimes will see blacksmiths still using coal-fired furnaces today to make small knives, tools, etc - that's great footage.
You can see coal fired forges fired up & metal being hammered into to shape by members of the Appalachian Area Blacksmiths’s Association 52 weeks a year.
We use rivets all the time, as well.
 

weasel

Private
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Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
You can see coal fired forges fired up & metal being hammered into to shape by members of the Appalachian Area Blacksmiths’s Association 52 weeks a year.
We use rivets all the time, as well.

I'm terrible with names, but there was/is a TV show that followed a small-scale knife manufacturer (a one person operation) somewhere in the Appalachian area who only used a coal forge. It may still be being broadcast, and it was fascinating to watch him work and explain the challenges and technique. I wish I remembered the name of it.
 
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