The Chobert Riveting System

Posted By Tom Feltham on 15 May 2014

Posted in The Vintage Machinery Almanac

This article first appeared in Practical Engineering 1940 Vol1 No5. The information in this article is accurate as of 1940. This article describes methods employed in Aviation Engineering at the time.


It is not generally known that the Chobert riveting system, which was introduced into this country by Aviation Developments, Ltd., of Welwyn Garden City, originated in the works of that great French pioneer aircraft designer, Bleriot, being invented by his then chief designer, a man named Kirste, who is now unfortunately in a concentration camp somewhere in Austria. The first person who had the courage in this country to put up capital for this system of riveting was Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe.

Foresight and Perseverance Pays Dividends

Unlike many firms now producing aviation components, Aviation Developments, Ltd., did not come in at the top. They came in at the time when the depression in the aircraft industry was at its worst. Competent judges said aircraft in this country would never be built in sufficiently large quantities to warrant making use of the Chobert system. It is a striking tribute to the modern outlook of this company that it took the products of the French company—which were regarded as the last word, and which had been sold in large quantities both in France and Italy— and made them a starting point for development.

The company had to spend a large amount of money on these developments, but this has been more than justified by the excellent results that have accrued.

Corporate Changes

There have just recently been a number of changes in the constitution of the company. Mr. David Orr, who may be regarded as a financial sponsor of the company in the early days, has resigned his seat on the board in order to take up a commission in one of His Majesty's services. His controlling financial interest in the company has been sold to the original founder, Mr. Stanley T. Johnson. Mr. Orr's seat on the board has been taken by Mr. Joseph Shevlin, F.C.I.P.A., A.I.Mech.E., F.C.S., etc. Mr. Shevlin is the principal of one of the leading firms of patent agents.

Global Success

The company is now operating, either directly or through agents, not only in the British Isles, but in Canada, Australia and S. Africa. About 75 per cent of the aircraft built in the British Empire contains Chobert rivets. The whole of the Air Forces of the British Empire also use Chobert riveting.

Premises and Staff

Some six months before war broke out the company moved from King's Cross to more modern, convenient, and less vulnerable premises, at 7, Woodfield Road, Welwyn Garden City. Increased staff is now working in more extensive, safer, pleasanter and healthier surroundings.