Golden Gate Bridge: missing rivets

Golden Gate Bridge: missing recorded rivets
“There were about 600,000 field driven rivets in each tower. The rivets were heated in coal-burning forges located on scaffolds outside the tower and passed to crews within the tower by pneumatic rivet-passers through holes 6-1/2 inches in diameter and left in the tower webs for that purpose.”
(The Golden Gate Bridge: Report of the Chief Engineer to the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District – California, September 1937, pp. 148-9.)
Over the years, the focus of the written history of the Golden Gate Bridge was on the spectacular erection of the 70,000-ton towers and the spinning of wires across the Golden Gate. The words “field driven” were soon dropped from the phrase “field driven rivets” in the written record. Each 70,000-ton tower is now commonly recorded as being held together with 600,000 rivets. Actually, if the towers only had 600,000 rivets, they probably would fall down. New York’s George Washington Bridge has an estimated ten million (10,000,000) shop- and field-driven rivets, Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge an estimated five million (5,000,000) shop- and field-driven rivets. Vast walls of rivets can be seen inside and outside the Golden Gate Bridge towers in rare fabrication shop photographs, rivets driven in nearly every square foot of these massive steel towers. Shop rivets were driven with large pneumatic riveters operated by shop craftsmen, their history rarely recorded, their story and industrial tools rarely exhibited in museums.
Vern Mesler 2021

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Shop riveting
Replacing Rivets

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Historic Bridge Restoration