Hold Your Breath, Here Comes a Bridge – History of the Fastener Industry

Ever hold your breath while you were crossing a bridge. If you have, you’re not alone. Either when you were a kid or now watching your own children – seeing if you could hold your breath all the way across the span of a bridge is a common challenge. However, if it weren’t for the fastener industry, we might all be holding our breath for a different reason – fear – and not fun. The same holds true for taking a plane to Grandma’s house, or tossing the car keys to your daughter. The excellence of fasteners (nuts, bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), used in manufacturing today, allow us to take much for granted.

From the Industrial Revolution to 2 World Wars: It was a long and bumpy road to the levels of standardization and quality that we enjoy today. The Industrial Revolution saw the end of the crude fasteners that had been around since early civilizations when they were employed in carts and agricultural equipment. After hundreds of years of fairly static technological improvement preceding the Industrial Revolution, this new era saw large numbers of screws and bolts produced in a relatively short amount of time, with more consistency, and more precision. By the mid 1700′s, the Wyatt brothers in England were manufacturing 150,000 wooden screws a week. By the late 1700′s, across the pond in America, companies were also making fasteners.

However, expansion of the industry was difficult due to a lack of standards. Size, thread density, and other factors varied greatly among businesses. Two Connecticut firms established in the 1840′s – The Rugg & Barnes Company and the A.P. Plant Company – were the first large American manufacturers to focus solely on making fasteners. Then, as often happens, a large historical event motivated growth and innovation – such an event was the American Civil War. It brought with it a huge demand for machinery – machinery held together by screws, nuts, and bolts. With it came the need for developing an American thread standard. William Sellers entered the picture in 1864. He proposed a uniform system of screw threads which differed from the British (Whitworth) standard in that the tops and bottoms of the threads were rounded rather than flattened. Ultimately, this standard proved to be a superior one, as rounded threads better withstood stress and resisted cracking and breaking compared to the flattened threads of the Whitworth standard. Standards are not always adopted quickly, though, and it would be another twenty years before his system was accepted as the American standard.

Differing American and British standards did cause some problems during the world wars of the 20th century. Field repairs were made difficult by the inconsistencies, but cooperation and temporary measures saw them through. In 1964 the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), announced two universal thread systems: ISO Inch and ISO Metric. The United States is the only country still tied to the inch system.

The center of the industry – American moves west: As the country expanded toward the west, so did the center for fastener manufacturing. Cleveland, Ohio, which was close to the expanding railroads and steel and iron production, became the capital of the fastener industry in America. The industry saw steady growth throughout the 20th century. By 1969 there were 450 companies, 600 plants, and more than 50,000 people employed in fastener production. Nuts, bolts, screws and rivets put meat and potatoes on the dinner tables of many a family. However, the next twenty years would bring steady decline. The increasing availability of less expensive product from overseas cut into demand for American product.

“Bogus Bolts”: In 1985, a controversy surfaced with reports of equipment failure and even the loss of life due to faulty, substandard bolts. A U.S. House subcommittee spent 18 months on an investigation and ultimately determined that the faulty and counterfeit bolts were largely foreign-made. This led to the passage in 1990 of the FQA – Fastener Quality Act. This reignited demand for American made fasteners. By 2007, the fastener industry in the U.S. was a $14 billion part of the economy. Competition from foreign manufacturers continues, however, the U.S. maintains its leadership by responding to the need for technologically sophisticated products. The aerospace industry, the medical and food industries, energy producers, and the semiconductor industry all have a requirement for special materials such as A286, Inconel 718, PVDF, or MP35N, as well as for uncompromising quality and strength. The U.S. fastener industry continues to respond to these needs with unsurpassed excellence.

Polycom IP 321, 331 and 335 Phones – Simplifying Calling for Business Processes

IP phones have been key instruments of change in redefining the contours of business communication infrastructure. These internet-enabled telecommunication tools have proven to be successful in harnessing the potential of the internet in making cost effective calls that are as clear as conventional telephone calls with minimal call drops. These phones are available in several variants, each of which has distinct features that suit the business requirements of various companies. These operate on technologies like VoIP, SIP among others and look like traditional wired or cordless phones, which makes them easy to use for new users.

Polycom Sound point IP321 is a successful phone from the kitty of Polycom, a leading manufacturer of telecommunication hardware. It is a two-line SIP enabled phone that possesses a single 10/100 Ethernet port and dual port 10/100 Ethernet switch that allows linking with a LAN or PC connection.

Polycom Sound Point IP 331 is also a business phone that has greatly assisted companies in mapping their communication territories with aplomb. Another two-line SIP enabled phone, this one has dual 10/100 Ethernet ports along with a dual port 10/100 Ethernet switch for LAN and PC connection.

Both these phones are ideal instruments for common areas like lobbies, break rooms, hallways, cubicles of employees as well as for call center executives who use an analog line while corresponding with a client over a soft line. Some of the special features found in these phones as well as IP 321 are call hold, park, pick up, transfer, three way local conferencing, shared call/bridged line appearance, distinctive call treatment and inbuilt XML multibrowser.

Some of the prominent features shared by these two phones are listed below:

• Two lines sip registration
• Full-duplex IEEE 1329 Type 1-compliant speakerphone with Clarity by Polycom acoustic technology
• 102 x 33-pixel graphical LCD
• 2.5-mm headset port compatible

Now, Polycom Sound Point IP 335 is a two-line IP phone with dual Ethernet ports that is designed especially for call center operators and equipped with HD voice technology, which makes voice communications more effective. It allows users to make use of technology that supports up to two lines, which can handle two calls on each line. This phone has high resolution back lit display (with 102×33-pixel graphical monochrome display), RJ-9 headset port, and standards-based Asterisk support – features that allow it to provide high end enterprise level business telephony solutions at extremely competitive prices. The integrated 802.3af Power over Ethernet support, Polycom Acoustic Clarity Technology (which produces crystal-clear voice by masking undesirable noise and echo), full duplex speaker, and X-HTML browser for web applications render it with considerable power at the lowest of prices.

And with the low calling costs involved with SIP based calling services, these phones are the ideal companions of all organizations looking to install or revamp a state of the art business telecommunication infrastructure.

Net-ing Bargains on Golf Equipment

If it sounds like insanity to pay $500 for a driver from an upper-end brand name, don’t worry, because you don’t have to. The Internet abounds with opportunities for golfers to find good discounts on golf equipment. Buying direct from a manufactures saves you the wholesaler’s and retailer’s profit that you would otherwise be paying. And an online store that sells clubs from a number of manufacturers still can offer good deals, because the company is not paying for the cost of a brick and mortar location. The big brand name manufacturers spend a fortune on advertising, promotion, sponsorship of golf events, etc. All these costs find their way into what you end up paying for the clubs. A golf club really doesn’t cost that much to manufacture. It has simple components and simple assembly. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find bargains on golf clubs.

To enjoy these great Internet savings, you just have to get used to a new way of shopping for clubs. Golfers used to visit a sporting goods store or golf pro shop, look over the various kinds of clubs, then choose several to try out and get the feel for the club (most stores had an indoor net to hit balls into). With Internet shopping, you can’t physically touch the club until you pay for it and have it delivered. This can cause some anxiety for golfers shopping online. It’s one thing buy a dozen golf balls that way, but club selection is normally a more personal, individualistic experience. There is the alternative of course of visiting a retail store, looking at clubs and then going home and ordering the ones you want from an online discounter.

Demo Clubs and Clones

One online service has managed to bridge the gap between the retail store and the Internet store. This company allows you to “demo” clubs in your home. You don’t have to visit a store to try clubs out. They deliver them right to your door. You pay a modest demo fee, and then select a demo clubs from an online list of thousands, including those from top club manufacturers. Your selections are delivered free via FedEx 2 day-air. You can try out your clubs for up to 5 full days. Then you ship the demo clubs back in a box and with a label the company provides. If you want to purchase the clubs, you can apply the demo fee you paid and buy the clubs. This site has an Advantage Club, with members-only special offers and discounts via mail and e-mail, as well as advance notice of upcoming specials.

If you have a good idea what clubs you are looking for, and are ready to purchase, a good site to visit is The Golf Warehouse. This site lets you select the price range you prefer, and then see what clubs or sets of clubs are available. You can also make selections by brand name manufacturer. They also sell shoes, apparel, accessories and custom-made clubs.

Find lots of bargains on the Internet for discount golf clubs, equipment, and clothes.