If you have bought fasteners before, you have probably heard of Cherry rivets. The original application for Cherry rivets has been all but forgotten thanks to the many times the brand has changed hands, but they were actually created for aircraft manufacturing.
In many ways, the history of Cherry rivets parallels the evolution of blind bolts. Cherry rivets were devised for a specific application, and the design was adapted for other applications over time. While the original Cherry rivets are no longer in use, we wanted to offer a history of the evolution of Cherry rivets and Cherry Aerospace to provide insight into how fasteners and their manufacturers can change over time.
The History of the Cherry Rivet
Carl Cherry is the father of the Cherry rivet. In 1936, Carl’s stepson worked as a riveter for Douglas Aircraft, which produced military aircraft and the commercial Douglas DC-3 at the time. His stepson went to Carl with a production problem, knowing Carl would be interested because he was a mechanical engineer with a degree from MIT. Douglas was having difficulties on the assembly line. Solid rivets were installed by two workers, one armed with a hammer and the other with a bucking bar on each side of the workpiece. Some situations only allowed for rivet access from one side, requiring elaborately shaped bucking bars to install the rivet.
This problem was not unique to Douglas, so Cherry started working in his kitchen to develop a solution. He experimented with solid rivets, then drilled a hole in the rivet to accommodate a steel mandrel. Tests and refinements throughout the summer of 1937 led to a new rivet design, and that fall Cherry applied for a patent initially issued in 1939. Carl Cherry then founded the Cherry Rivet Company in Los Angeles in the year 1940.
The new Cherry rivets could be installed from one side, i.e., they worked as blind rivets, which made aircraft manufacturing easier and more consistent. With the coming of World War II, demand for Cherry rivets escalated, and the Cherry rivet became the standard for the aircraft industry.
Capitalizing on Cherry’s Success
Since the Cherry Rivet Company was founded in 1940, the company has undergone various transformations.
Towsend purchased the Cherry Rivet Company in 1951, and in 1952 the company moved to Santa Ana. Textron then purchased Cherry from Townsend in 1959. In 1995, Textron Inc. also acquired Avdel in the United Kingdom, and in 1996 Avdel’s aerospace business with Cherry to create Textron Aerospace Fasteners. In 2003, Textron Aerospace Fasteners was combined with other Textron divisions to form Textron Fastening Systems, which later became known as Acument Global Technologies. In 2007, the company was acquired by Precision Castparts Corporation, and today Cherry Aerospace continues to sell fasteners to the aerospace industry as a PCC subsidiary.
Acument Global Technologies’ Avdel group and Global Electronics and Commercial division were purchased in 2010 and renamed Infastech Limited. Stanley Black & Decker acquired Infastech and incorporated it into the Stanley Engineered Fastening group in 2013. Stanley now owns Avdel and offers a variety of blind rivets, including POP® fasteners. Ironically, while Avdel and Cherry were once fierce competitors, they are now owned by the same company.
Today’s Family of Avdel Blind Rivets
Avdel has become one of the most reliable and popular fastener brands, partly because some Avdel blind bolts evolved from Carl Cherry's original designs. Here are just a few of the most popular Avdel fasteners available through the Bay Supply Fastener Marketplace:
Designed for demanding applications where safety and performance are a priority, the Monobolt rivet is a high-strength fastener that provides a sealed joint and a visible lock. It can be used to fasten metal to plastic and is made of a corrosive-resistant alloy, making it ideal for harsh environments.
Avdel T Rivet®
The T Rivet has a body that slots into three legs for a secure clamp. The T Rivet creates a strong, weathertight seal that can handle vibration without rattling, making it suitable for tasks that require any standard grip rivet.
Avdel N Rivet
The N rivet is a breakstem rivet with a countersunk head, available in a Zinc Clear Trivalent finish to protect against corrosion.
Avdel Q Rivet
The Avdel Q rivet has a high shear and tensile strength with an interference lock for even greater reliability. It also features a splined stem design that plugs the entire length of the shell. It is ideal for fastening metals together, fastening plastic to metals, or for use with a thin rear sheet.
Avdel E Rivet
The E rivet ultimately became the Avdel Avex rivet, an aluminum rivet with a multi-grip breakstem fastener designed for thin sheet materials. It can be used for metal-to-metal, plastic-to-plastic, metal-to-plastic, and metal rear sheets.
Avdel KTR Rivet
Avdel Klamp-Tite Rivets (KTR) are structural rivets with a mechanical lock for added strength at the joint. They are made of aluminum alloy with a large bearing area on the blind side so that they can be used with plastic components, appliances, automobile assembly, cladding, and related applications.
Avdel Interlock Rivet
Avdel Interlock rivets provide structural strength, vibration resistance, and multi-grip capabilities, forming a fully sealed, vibration-resistant joint. This rivet can close large gaps and has superior shear and tensile strength, so fewer rivets are needed per assembly. Interlock rivets are commonly used in automotive and commercial vehicles, cabinets, appliances, and heating and ventilation systems.
The rivets developed by Cherry Aerospace before the Second World War are still in use today in the aerospace industry. They have provided a design on which other fastener makers have developed new blind rivets. If you are looking for a suitable fastener for your next job, check out the Bay Supply Fastener Marketplace or contact one of the professionals at Bay Supply. You can also download the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Cordless Rivet Tools to learn more about blind rivet tools, installations, and applications.