Overview of Riveting: Past and Present Most historic metal bridges dating to before 1970 made use of rivets in some manner.Rivets were nearly always used to fasten together built-up structural steel on bridges.
Today, rivets are not used in the construction of new bridges.Because they are not used today on new bridges, making sure that historic bridges retain their use of rivets is the only way to ensure that this important aspect of bridge fabrication that lasted for over a century is not lost forever.Additionally, rivets have a much more visually pleasing appearance as opposed to bolts.Most rivets on bridges have a button head design which is found on each end of a driven rivet.By virtual of both their shape and symmetry, they give the bridge a much cleaner and pleasing appearance than bolts, regardless of what angle the bridge is viewed from.At the same time, the rivets, which are often present on the iron/steel of a bridge in great quality, actually give the steel of the bridge a pleasing sense of depth and texture. The simple fact that riveted bridges from the 1870s and earlier survive today, even with many of their original rivets, is testimony to durability and safety of rivets.
New rivets and the tools needed to drive them remain available today.
Bach Steel is proud to specialize in riveting, and we look forward for an opportunity to make use of our riveting skills to restore your bridge.
Instead, welds and high strength bolts provide the function of rivets in bridge construction today.
However, when restoring a historic bridge, it is important to maintain the original design of the bridge, and as a result riveting still has a place today in the field of historic preservation.
Yet often rehabilitation projects that address rivets requiring removal make the choice of replacing them with modern high strength bolts.
Choosing to do so eliminates an important aspect of the historic bridge’s design, craftsmanship, and even visual appearance.