The rivet has existed for a very long time, in fact since the Bronze Age, and remains one of the best methods of permanently fastening two things (normally metal sheets) together. Rivets are commonly used when it is really rather important that whatever has been fastened stays that way, such as aircraft and ship hulls. The vibrations created by movement also have a habit of loosening nuts and bolts so the rivet is generally the preferred fastening.
Back in 1931, Louis Huck was looking for a method to speed up aircraft production, and the blind rivet was his answer. Unlike normal rivets, the blind rivet requires only one-sided access to your desired material, which is particularly useful in airplane construction because of ergonomically shaped hulls that are tricky to access.
Just as with normal rivets, a blind rivet is inserted into a predrilled hole, but the rivet has a mandrel—a cylindrical core made of tough material and with an engineered break notch. As the blind riveting tool draws the tough mandrel head back through the hole, it squashes the softer rivet head on the other side. Once enough force is applied, the mandrel head breaks, leaving it in the hole and a formed head on the blind side of the material.
A blind rivet is easier and faster to use than a traditional "solid" rivet. Although blind rivets are not necessarily as strong as normal rivets, the use of normal rivets is sometimes not a viable option. The basic design of rivets has changed little over time, but improvement in materials and riveting tools means that they are easier to fit and more reliable than ever. They are commonly used in the construction of anything from prefabricated houses to train carriages, buses, cars, and even sea containers.