If they were Robertsons, they probably would have snapped. A lot of the
Robertsons sold in America come from China, bought on the low bid.
Square socket screws had been invented before Robertson, but he figured
out how to manufacture them.
Phillips was concerned with producing a screw that a spinning bit on a
machine could engage and that would cam out when it reached a certain
torque. He turned it over to American Screw in Providence to work out
the manufacture. About the same time, Frearson had a cross screw that
wouldn't cam out. He turned it over to Reed and Prince, 40 miles up the
river in Worcester.
Ford turned from Robertson because he couldn't get a license to ensure
his supply. Was he afraid of depending on a sole source, or was he
afraid of possible tariffs?
Reed and Prince became common in maritime use, where nobody wanted
screwdrivers to cam out. Robertsons might have been better because
sailors wouldn't have mistakenly used Phillips drivers. If there were
few Robertsons in America and few cross screws in Canada, I wonder if
tariffs were an obstacle.
J Burns;3310265 Wrote:
> If they were Robertsons, they probably would have snapped. A lot of
> the Robertsons sold in America come from China, bought on the low bid.
I expect Canada gets it's Robertson screws at the same price from the
same place that the USA gets theirs, and in my whole life I've only had
one Robertson screw break on me when I was tightening it. I've never
had a Phillips or slot drive break, but that's mostly because I could
never put nearly as much torque on either of those drives with the screw
J Burns;3310265 Wrote:
If only he would have designed it to cam out at a HIGHER torque. It's
that problem with the screw driver camming out of the screw drive that
is the Achilles heel of Phillips screws. That's why I avoid using them
J Burns;3310265 Wrote:
My understanding is that Henry Ford wanted a license to manufacture the
Robertson screws in his own shops so that he could ensure his supply of
them. Robertson didn't want to give Ford the license to do that because
he'd have no way of knowing how many screws Ford would make. Robertson
wanted to be paid for each screw that Ford would make, but he didn't
trust Ford to accurately report that number, and hence the amount he
owed Robertson. In the end, neither man trusted the other and the
result has been that it wasn't until the Torx drive screw came out about
70 years later that the USA had a truly decent screw drive to use.
In my opinion, Torx is just as good a screw drive as Robertson. But in
my opinion, it's a crying shame that the USA is still needlessly
struggling with stupid Phillips and slot drive screws for so many years,
neither of which are easy to use.
J Burns;3310265 Wrote:
I don't believe tariffs played a big part in this. I believe this was a
chicken and egg problem. Americans didn't buy Robertson screw drivers
because they seldom encountered Robertson screws. Simultaneously,
manufacturers avoided using Robertson screws because they knew most
Americans wouldn't have Robertson screw drivers. That's still the case.
Everything I buy here in Canada that's made in China for export to the
US market comes with slot and Phillips screws. That's because the
Chinese know that Robertson screw drivers aren't very common in the USA,
so the Chinese use Phillips and slot drive screws instead. So, put this
one in the same bag as "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Robertson drive screws were never popular in the USA, and so people
didn't buy Robertson screw drivers and so manufacturers didn't use
Robertson screw. It's kinda the same thing with the Qwerty keyboard.
The only reason we still use it is because so many people know how to
touch type having learned to type on Qwerty keyboards.
Anyhow, I guess it's water under the bridge no matter how you look at
I've snapped several Phillips wood screws over the years, extracting
them with a manual screwdriver. My BIL is a carpenter who likes
Robertson screws for some purposes but almost always uses Phillips.
With a power driver, camming acts as a clutch to keep him from breaking
the screw or driving the head of the screw deep into the wood. In
drywalling, he can put mud on a Phillips screw without having it bubble.
Growing up, I didn't like slotted or Phillips screws. We had various
cheap screwdrivers around the house. I bought a set of 6 Stanley
screwdrivers. I hated them. I saw another set of 6 Stanley screwdrivers
that didn't cost much more but looked better. I bought them and found
out what a difference good screwdrivers can make.
The Reed and Prince, available since the 1930s, doesn't cam out.
Phillips developed its own non-camming screw, the Posidriv. It looks
like a Phillips and, unlike the Reed and Prince, works with a Phillips
driver. For torque, crosshead screws have an advantage in that the
blades are at right angles to the torque.
The Torx was invented as tamper-proof version of the Allen, first
produced in 1910 in Hartford. The BMW motorcycles I've owned had only
slot screws, Allen screws, and hex cap screws. With a good screwdriver
and a good screw, I could apply as much torque to a slot screw as to an
Allen screw. The advantage to the Allen screw is that an Allen wrench
twists like a torque wrench when it's tight enough.
Riders used to have trouble with screws on Japanese motorcycles because
they were using Phillips drivers on crosshead screws that weren't
Phillips. It's important to feel whether a blade really fits a screw.
OTOH, I don't know if phillips head screws were created to cam out at a certain torque
or to merely make production assembly easier on the assemblers. Only
gotta turn the tool 90°, at most, to engage screw. I do know I never
saw a phillips head scew until I ran across Japanese motorcycles,
which make extensive use of phillips oval head screws, which require
painfully tight tolerances to get properly alaigned w/ the screw
Camming out made production assembly easier. Wringing the head off a
screw or stripping threads is inconvenient.
Japanese motorcycles don't have Phillips screws. They have JIS B 1012.
It costs $44 to see the specs.
It would cost another $65 to see the specs for Pozidriv (ANSI Type 1A),
but I can't tell the difference.
If you go into a store, even a Japanese motorcycle shop, and ask for a
JIS screwdriver, they'll probably advise you to go screw yourself
because there's no such thing.
You could spend time and money ordering them on line, but PZ bits fit
JIS screws so well that I think JIS is just another name for Pozidriv.
Both are designed not to cam out. PZ bits are common and cheap in
America. Some deck screws use them. I've read that PZ is popular with
People have had trouble with crosshead screws because the screwdriver
they use may not fit the screw they have. I've read that Robertson
users are having a similar problem. Bosch, Irwin, and Home depot have
been shipping square bits to Canada. They look like Robertson bits and
work fine on American screws, but they damage Robertson screws.
Well, excuse me Mr. Pendantic!
I'll call 'em cross-slot-driver oval heads. They still look like a
phillips head and they were a PIA if one didn't have a hammered or
pneumatic impact driver to get 'em out. Until I got one (eventually
both), I stripped a lotta those cross slots. The surface contact
friction of the countersunk face, along with the assy torque, made for
a screw that was quite difficult to remove w/o stripping.
When friends would ask me to work on their Japanese motorcycles, I loved
the way the crosshead drivers that came with the bikes fit. I didn't
mess up any screws with Phillips drivers because I could feel that the
fit was bad. (I've read a Phillips may work if you grind down the point.)
I have impact drivers, but I've often skipped the hammering and used
them as screwdrivers. The important thing is that the bits fit because
they are PZ, even if they aren't marked. If it feels good, do it!
I didn't round off any Japanese nuts with SAE wrenches because I could
feel that the fit was bad. Is that pedantic or what!
I was japanese motorcycle mechanic. I've NEVER seen a Japanese tool
that was worth spit. Even Japanese impact bits would twist after
repeated use. I always bought Korean made imp drivers. I still have
the same one I use 40 yrs ago. Tip: Use the next size larger cross
bit. Still fits and doesn't reach the bottom.
No. I bought metric tools. I never even owned SAE wrenches until I
bought a Harley. By then, only half the fasteners on a HD were SAE.
Metric will fit both. Sometimes a tad bit loose, sometimes a tad bit
snug, but they always would fit.
True pendantic would be to buy flank-drive box wrenches. Bonney
invented 'em and guarded the jealously guarded the patent for yrs.
Since they also made SnapOn's combo wrenches, SnapOn was the first to
have flank-drive (that's SO's name for them, too. Bonney called 'em
something else) when Bonney's patent expired. Now, most tool
companies have a version.
They fit, but naturally weren't big enough for all jobs.
Your English is very good!
Have you tried Vessel? In business since 1916.
It's unfortunate that their customer-service line is at the Fukuoka
Office. I imagine they've lost a lot of American business by answering
the phone, "Fuck you, OK?"
In the 80s, I bought a big, cheap set screwdrivers from Harbor Freight.
Square wood handles, square shafts, flat black. Their quality is so
good that I've often sat by the stove drinking beer and admiring them
and contemplating becoming a Communist.
I had a beautiful #3 SnapOn crosspoint screwdriver, but I gave it to my
BIL. That's okay, my impact sets have bits from 1 to 4.
I can tell the clowns who overtorqued my lug nuts weren't using
flank-drive sockets. They deformed the corners of my nuts. Maybe
Bonney got the idea by examining the hollowed corners of worn-out impact
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.