History of Threaded Fastening - Part #1: Fasteners

History of Threaded Fastening - Part #1: Fasteners

Today on the ASG Express Blog we’re touching on a subject we LOVE.

The history of threaded fastening.

In this two part series we’re going to address each type of screw used in modern assembly, the head types, and the drive types. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of each, but first, let’s go back in history:

Threaded Fastening Through the Years

Fasteners have been around since the first century B.C. when they were utilized in olive oil and wine production. The materials fasteners were made with graduated from wooden to metal in the 15 th century to attach wooden stocks to the mechanicals of muskets.

The first patent on record for a screw came in 1760 and was shortly followed by mass production when Jesse Ramsden invented the first screw-cutting lathe (pictured below).

Source: The Smithsonian & National Museum of American History

As applications for screws increased, so did the types of screws being used in production work. We’ll provide more information on each type below, but for the most part the evolution of screw heads was to aid the assembly process by providing fasteners with non-slip qualities – which helped reduce operator fatigue and scrap while improving the overall consistency of fastening activities.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the most common types of fasteners on the market today!

Types of Fasteners

Wood Screws

Wood screws have advanced quite a bit since debuting in the use of oil and
grape presses. Nowadays their primarily used in woodworking to draw two
halves of a joint together. What sets modern wood screws apart from those 
of the past are very tough shanks.

Machine Screws

Machine screws offer strength a wood screw cannot due to the sharpened
(and more numerous) threads and are widely used in machinery and
construction. Note the uniform diameter without the tapered pointed tip
you'll see in the next few examples. If the hole is tapped all the way through
then a nut is attached to the end to complete the fastening.

Thread Cutting Machine Screws

Thread cutting machine screws have a bit of dual use in that they're
essentially self-tapping, can create threads, and more often than not they're
used as fasteners without a nut in applications which require maintenance.

Sheet Metal Screws

Sheet metal screws can be thought of as a hybrid of wood and machine
screws. The pointed tip makes getting into sheet metal easy while the
screw also has sharper and closer threads to its wood counterpart over
the entire length of the screw. This is to ensure a proper seal.

Self Drilling SMS

Self drilling sheet metal screws are self-tapping just like the thread cutting
machine screw mentioned above. In applications where finishing the
fastening process with a nut is not possible, or again, the application requires
periodic maintenance, these provide a solid alternative. 

Hex Bolts

Hex bolts are basically a machine screw with a hexagonal head and are
sometimes used with a nut to complete the fastening process. Used widely in
automotive, construction and home improvement, hex bolts may be fully or
partially threaded along the shaft.

Carriage/Plow Bolts

Carriage bolts were used widely in the 1800s in the construction of horse
drawn carriages and are still commonly used to bare timber. The carriage
bolt is squared under the head to make it self-locking when it is placed
through a square hole in a metal strap. Since it is removeable from one
side these are extremely popular options in the production of locks and

Socket Screws

Socket screws are perfect for tight places where threaded fastening is
needed. The hexagonal drive built into the head allows for tightening with
an Allen wrench or hex key. These are found in many common applications
due to their ease of use and ability to reduce damage to internal

Lag Bolts

Lag bolts are primarily used for high load timber applications despite being
less strong than the carriage bolt. They are used in those applications, but
moreso to reinforce and add strength. The pointed tip and hexagonal head
make them a favorite in deck and rafter construction.

Shoulder Bolts

Shoulder bolts have a shank with a larger diameter underneath the head of
the bolt, but further down the diameter shrinks for the threaded diameter. This
change in diameter is what is known as the "shoulder" - allowing the threaded
portion to be firmly fastened to a part while also not clamping another part.
This axial clearance gives other attached parts such as pulleys or gears the
ability to rotate.

Ready to make a purchase to attach your fasteners? See our full line of screwdrivers or search directly for one of our air, electric, manual and cordless options at your disposal to find the correct tool which will provide the consistent threaded fastening results you’ve become accustomed to receiving from ASG.

Next week in Part #2 we'll cover the differing head styles and types of drives on the market today.

If you have any questions about your fastener application, or need further assistance, please contact ASG Customer Service at 888-486-6163 or asginfo@asg-jergens.com.

Jul 20th 2021 ASG, Division of Jergens, Inc.

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