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What Is a Hexagonal Nut?

Various nuts, bolts and screws.
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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2014
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A hexagonal nut is a type of metal fastener that has six sides. Most nuts are cut in a hexagonal shape, since it seems to be the easiest shape to grasp. Nuts, in any form, are almost exclusively used to fasten a bolt to another object.

While the hexagonal nut is the most popular shape, there are many other types of nuts available. Nearly every nut on the market has a specific use, though the hexagonal nut can almost always be used in any situation. While it's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment in history when the nut was first used, historians have traced usage back a small factory in France.

The Besson factory began manufacturing nuts in 1568. These nuts were often used to fashion sleighs and carriages, though handmade wing nuts were often created in North America during the 1770s for the same purpose. Later, in 1818, Micah Rugg of Southington Township, Connecticut, created the first nut and bolt manufacturing machine in North America.

Since the time that the first nut was created, various manufacturers have been looking for ways to improve upon the nut and bolt system. Today, the hexagonal nut is used more than any other kind of nut due to its sheer versatility. Hexagonal nuts are generally made from steel that has been specially cut with the help of a steel cutting machine. The entire process is relatively quick, and thousands of nuts can be produced within a matter of minutes.

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Nuts may be made from steel, aluminum alloy, brass, and other materials, though steel hexagonal nuts are used more than any other type. Each side of a nut is frequently coated with a rust-proof material in order to prevent it from rusting. Nuts that have been rust-proofed can be used for both indoor and outdoor purposes. This is extremely important, since many nuts that were used during the 1800s and 1700s broke due to corrosion. Today, is possible for a hexagonal nut to break due to wear and tear, though this is highly unlikely.

People who wish to purchase any kind of hexagonal nut will discover that most hardware stores stock this type of nut. While certain projects may require nuts of different sizes, almost all nuts can be found without much difficulty. Specialty nuts can be ordered online or from a hardware store.

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