FTM 128: Fastener Head Markings

Fastener Training Minute 128: Fastener Head Markings

This edition of the Fastener Training Minute with Carmen Vertullo was originally published May 23, 2018 as “Fastener Head Markings” during episode 128 of Fully Threaded Radio.

Hi everybody, thanks for listening to the Fastener Training Minute brought you by the Fastener Training Institute. And from the Carver FACT Center (Fastening Applications Consulting and Training) here in San Diego, California.

Today’s topic is fastener manufacturer’s identification markings on fasteners. Which ones require them, how do you know who is who? What kind of resources are available for knowing who is who? And where do we usually mess up with this topic? So come back in a few minutes and we’ll discuss some of these resources. You might want to write them down, so have a pencil available.

We’re talking about fastener manufacturer’s head marks or identification marks. Not a lot to know about this topic, but it is a very important one. One of the questions that I ask in our CFS class to our new students is “Do you agree or disagree that fastener head markings are a reliable indicator of the quality and traceability of the fastener?” Sometimes they agree and sometimes they disagree, but generally you should know that the head marking on a fastener is very very important, both in terms of the grade or property class, (which we’re not going to talk about), and a manufacturer’s head mark is crucial to lot traceability, which is a fundamental concept in the Fastener Quality Act. So never ignore the Fastener identification mark.

So how do we know what that little letter means? You know that it’ll be an “N” for Nucor or the triangle for Infasco or those marks? How do we know whose is whose? Well, there are two main resources that I want to call to your attention. The first one is the Patent and Trademark Office. The Patent and Trademark Office first began registering trademarks when the Fastener Quality Act came about in the 1990s. They have a very good website. If you want to go to it, just Google “PTO fastener marks” and you will be able to quickly download their PDF document on Fastener Insignia. It’s called the fastener Insignia register Act of insignias. And the current version is January 16th, 2018. Now that document has two types of insignias.

It has the official registered insignia, which is kind of a code that consists of four digits or four characters, two numbers or two letters. These are basically companies that register their trademark for the purpose of the Fastener Quality Act. It also registers their private label. or their private Mark which is sort of like a symbol or letter that means something, such as the “N” for Nucor. The four digit number is just arbitrarily chosen. Well its not totally arbitrary, it’s in order 01 something, 02 something, two numbers and a letter. So that’s what we get from the Patent and Trademark Office and its totally free. You can download that quickly and easily by Googling “PTO Fastener head markings” or “PTO identification marks“. The other one is a government document called MIL handbook 57G, and that is the military’s official registration document for fastener head marks or identification marks. If you just Google MIL handbook 57g you will find that one easily. And if you can’t find it easily downloadable there, you can also get it by going to a website called Assist with search and that’s a government website for military documents which are not copyrighted and you put in MIL handbook 57G and you can download that very large expensive document and it’s got most of the common and some very uncommon Fastener manufacturers head marks in it.

One of the questions we get often is “what if I want to register my trademark?” Each of the documents from the Patent and Trademark Office and from the government MIL handbook 57G has a form that lets you register your trademark. It doesn’t cost very much and I think the MIL handbook 57G is free. But that one only gets updated every couple of years and maybe the patent and trademark office may charge a little bit of money like $20 or something like that. So if you want to register your head mark, you can do that.

In both the inch and the metric or ISO World any product that is larger than a quarter of an inch or M6 and is heat-treated and/or is made out of stainless steel, generally will require a fastener manufacturers identification mark. There are a few exceptions to that. I’m not going to list them but generality that holds true. So that’s about all there is to know about head markings for fastener identification.

But as a fastener professional you should have those two documents on hand. They’re easy to get there a couple of other things you can purchase and there are some other fastener head marking catalogs that you could get that are probably helpful to have. If you know some I would like to know about them. I have a collection of a few. One thing that we are missing that I think would be of great value for someone in the industry, is a listing of fastener manufacturers head marks that are not registered in either one of those two documents; the Patent and Trademark Office or the MIL handbook 57G.

So we need to compile that list because every now and then we run into a head mark that nobody knows who’s it is, and we have trouble tracking it down. As matter fact, I just had a case like that today and that’s what made me decide to talk about this topic.

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about the sources for fastener manufacturers ahead marks and how to get your hands on the resources if you need to have more information.

I want to thank you for listening to the Fastener Training Minute.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap