Nobody Really Knows Why a Certain Type of Hardware Is Called a Washer

Metal washers usually have the function of spreading a load or pressure over a larger diameter. In addition, fasteners can be tightened more effectively when a washer is in place and they do not come loose as easily. Manufacturers need steel fender washers for various purposes. They can order standard or customized models from a supplier such as Superior Washer & Gasket Corp, an American-based company that makes these parts. The ordering process is fast because even custom orders can be placed online.

Fender Washers

The term fender washer does not indicate a brand name but rather a particular design. The diameter of the metal is unusually large compared with the size of the hole. This hardware can be picked up at any home improvement store, but manufacturing plants order them directly from suppliers to get a better price for quantity and for the option of customization.


Why are these disks with a hole in the center called washers? The idea of a washer might bring to mind a machine that cleans clothing with water and soap or a person who does this job. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to why the components have this name. Linguists do have some theories, however, but dictionaries call these possibilities uncertain or doubtful.

The term appears to have originated as either an English or German word during the Middle Ages. One theory is that the word washer is related to the concept of whitewash as a thin layer of stain applied to wood. The disk would be a thin layer between two fastening components that protect the materials being connected.


It should be noted that washers in those days might have been made from leather or another material more prevalent than metal at the time. Today, washers are made of numerous materials that are intended for specific uses. Along with steel, the rings are made of copper, aluminum, and plastic. Water faucets often contain a rubber ring that nearly everyone refers to as a washer but, technically, that component is a gasket and has a somewhat different function than a washer.