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Technology 2023

The Development Of The Screwdriver

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The Development Of The Screwdriver
The Development Of The Screwdriver

Video: The Development Of The Screwdriver

Video: The Development Of The Screwdriver
Video: Robertson, Phillips, and the History of the Screwdriver 2023, June

The earliest documented screwdrivers date from the late Middle Ages - it is unclear whether they were invented in Germany or France. The original name of the tool is "screwdriver" or "Tournevis" in French. Although only the term screwdriver is used in standards today, the term screwdriver is still used. Screwdriver could not prevail.

Knights armor screws

The first documentary mention of the tool can be found in the medieval house book of Wolfegg Castle, a manuscript from the period between 1475 and 1490. These first screwdrivers had pear-shaped handles and were intended for slotted screws. These were used in the 15th century for the attachment of breast and back armor and helmets to medieval knight's armor and finally for several parts of the emerging firearms, in particular the match or flintlock.

Ten screws per minute leads to popularity

The screwdriver depended entirely on the screw, and it took several advances to make screws so cheap that they became popular. Because before the industrial revolution, screws were very difficult to produce and only with the mass production of the screw did the screwdriver become ubiquitous.

In 1760, the English brothers Wyatt found a way to produce a screw on a new type of machine that first milled the slotted head and then the spiral. With this, they managed up to ten screws per minute. Although their business ultimately failed, their cost-effective manufacturing method eventually led to a huge increase in the demand for screws, and with it the popularity of the screwdriver.

The screw profile is improved

However, the classic slotted screw was not satisfactory because it was neither particularly efficient nor safe to use with the corresponding screwdriver. Too often, the screwdriver's blade slipped out of the slot and into the workpiece when tightening, or more uncomfortably - in the hand. Canadian inventor PL Robertson was therefore not the first to come up with safe screw heads and screwdrivers, but he was the first to make a profit.

The so-called Robertson screws have a square internal square screw profile and prevailed in 1908 with the booming automotive industry. The new screw profile significantly simplified the use with drill drivers. Over 700 Robertson screws were installed in a Ford Model T.

Cross recess prevails

The cross-shaped screw profile of the American Henry Phillips is still known and widespread. Thanks to a clever move and the Second World War, the profile was finally able to establish itself as "the screw": Philips offered his idea to the American Screw Company at exactly the right time - one of the first customers was General Motors, who successfully screwed the Cadillac installed. Due to the enormous demand for screws for the driving and aircraft industry in the Second World War, the Phillips screw and with it the Phillips screwdriver spread worldwide.

Even though the cross-slot is the most well-known form, there are about 125 other screw head drives in all possible forms.

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