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In naval folklore there is a tale that every ship is built containing a single, commemorative "golden rivet"— an idea doubtless adapted from the golden spike that was temporarily driven at the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. The rivet's location is allegedly different for each ship and undisclosed, known only to the crew. No such rivet exists: gold is too malleable to use for a rivet. Like many urban legends, the "golden rivet" is perpetuated for the amusement of "old salts" at the expense of the gullible.
Most often the myth is used as a practical joke or snipe hunt played on junior sailors, exploiting their naivete and natural curiosity with their new surroundings. The prank consists of informing a new sailor of the existence of the "golden rivet" and encouraging him to look for it. After scouring the entire ship without success, it eventually dawns on the junior that he has been the butt of a joke.