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.
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.