Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Phillip Screw

Today July 7th in 1936, Henry F. Phillips patented the Phillips-head screw and screwdriver.

Few of us remember the time when Phillips screws and screwdrivers did not exist. However what is know as the Phillip's Screw was really invented by An Oregon inventor named J.P. Thompson. He could not sell it and sold the design to Henry F. Phillips.

Why a Phillips Screw? Mass production. Up until that time the standard screw in American industry was the traditional slotted screws. They were a problem in mass production due to the alignment time of the driver within the slot. A small problem for home- do-it-your-selfers but in mass production this alignment time when multiplied by thousands of time a day became significant. Henry Ford said he could save two hours in time a car by using Phillip Screws.

The phillips became so popular, that unlicensed knock off's soon appeared. The Phillips Screw Company did not pursue the patent violators, so in 1949, Henry Phillips was stripped of his patent. He died in 1958 in relative obscurity. His name, however, lives on in nearly every factory and workshop in the U.S.

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