The American Blacksmith

Power Riveters

Rivet Rivet Rivet

Riveting the Boilers

     In the strictest sense, the riveter is not a blacksmith. The rivet itself may have been hand forged by a blacksmith or power hammer forged by an industrial blacksmith. Once made though, the rivet was used by the riveter to assemble the parts of buildings, bridges, machinery, ships, &c.
Steam Riveting Machine.      In the manufacturing plants of America, power hammers were used to rivet smaller assemblies and sub-assemblies together.
     Our top image shows very large boilers being riveted by hand - notice the men with sledge hammers - also notice a forge which was used to heat the rivets.
     The image to the left shows a steam riveting machine which would be used in a factory. There a pre-measured beam for a building or a bridge could have been made with holes for rivets that would punched out and a then plate riveted to one end. When the beam arrived on the job site, the beam would be joined to another beam by being riveted, either by sledge hammers (in the early days) or later by pneumatic riveting guns. The large riveting machines were way too cumbersome to be portable.
     Today, welding has take the place of many riveting jobs.

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter      Perhaps the most famous riveter of all is Rosie. She was the product of artist Norman Rockwell’s brush. She first appeared on the May 29, 1943 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Rosie the Riveter was also glorified by the song of the same name:

     All day long whether rain or shine
     She’s a part of the assembly line.
     She’s making history, working for victory,
     Rosie the Riveter.

     With the advent of World War II, many men were needed for military service - and there was a great NEW need for ships, airplanes, armored vehicles, trucks, bombs, ammunitions, and - well the list would be almost endless. The US government put out a call for women war workers in magazines like Ladies’ Home Journal. The flower of America’s womanhood - wives, mothers, and sweethearts - all answered the call. Rosie became the symbol of women war workers. Rosie is also a symbol of the ability of women to get the job done.
     As Rosie takes her lunch break, she sits with her pneumatic riveting gun, ready to go back to work. Under her feet is a copy of Mein Kampf.

Rivet Rivet Rivet