The history of screws (YouTube)
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    Default Robertson, Phillips, and the History of the Screwdriver (YouTube)

    Don't know how many of you guys watch the history guy on YouTube, but I thought some of you might find this interesting if not so much entertaining.

    Paul

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    Last edited by SpringGunner; 11-19-2019 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Better title

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    Lol, you beat me to it, I just watched that vid and came over to post it. A tool we use every day, and I admit had never looked into the story behind it. The funny part to me was that I've had this odd tapered square screwdriver in my drawer for well over 30 years that I had no idea what it was for, it came with the box, never had the heart to pitch it, now I know what it is for!

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    Would have been decent, if you wrote the correct title. The video’s title is

    Robertson, Phillips, and the History of the Screwdriver.

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    Years ago, I made a business trip to Chatham, Ontario with an overnight stay. I found the Sears store and bought every size of Robertson screwdriver they had, and a few other items not sold in my local store.

    Larry

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    Interesting but for someone who seems to be so knowledgeable he refers to a straight blade or flat blade screwdriver as a flat head screwdriver. A flat head is a shape of screw head, not drive or screwdriver design, and can have many different drive types. I see this error all the time though.

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    Glad you were still able to find it

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    I've used the Robertson screws in the past on woodworking projects. Never knew the history behind them as well. I watch a lot of documentaries but the history guy is the only way my wife will watch anything even close to them with me.

    Paul

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    He repeats, at about 14:00, the sometimes-claimed "advantages" of cam-out for the Phillips head; that view is unlikely as a manufacturer would not be likely to want to produce a product with damaged screw heads.

    See also;

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...4oTrz5ujkfTdFG

    for an interesting overview of the Phillips head that covers the cam-out matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plannerpower View Post

    See also;

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...4oTrz5ujkfTdFG

    for an interesting overview of the Phillips head that covers the cam-out matter.
    Interesting. Do you have a link that gives access to the remaining chapters of that treatise?

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    I have the thesis as pdfs but I was able to find a link; thanks, Google;

    Testing and Understanding Screwdriver Bit Wear

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    I have, for decades, used a square drive screwdriver (Klein) on residential electrical panels and breakers, and for driving Kreg pocket screws. I've also driven many square drive deck screws. My current favorite is Torx drive construction screws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plannerpower View Post
    He repeats, at about 14:00, the sometimes-claimed "advantages" of cam-out for the Phillips head; that view is unlikely as a manufacturer would not be likely to want to produce a product with damaged screw heads.

    See also;

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...4oTrz5ujkfTdFG

    for an interesting overview of the Phillips head that covers the cam-out matter.
    This evolution of the term "cam out" is technically and linguistically fascinating. Thanks for the find plannerpower, and I tip my hat to the thesis author as a bit of history really helps to bring the story together. For some reason this all reminds me of the common misunderstanding of F Scott Fitzgerald's line, "There are not second acts in American lives" Which is interpreted as you don't get a second chance in life, whereas Fitzgerald was actually saying Americans want a short cut and do not like introspection, where complication, introspection and character development is what typically happens in the second act of a theatrical play. I can make this observation since I am Canadian, and we have the Robertson. Which has different problems.

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    An interesting video and a channel I hadn't known about so thanks for the link. As a Canadian the Robertson screw head design is more than common up here and I did know a fair amount of the Robertson history mentioned in the video. With the volume of goods we import the Phillips head would be even more common with already assembled goods. I've power driven thousands of Robertson wood screws and can safely say when the screw driver tip AND the screw heads are properly held to the correct size tolerance and hardness then yes there vastly superior to the Phillips. Up here or at least in western Canada in any hardware or building supply you'd rarely find bulk wood screws that aren't a Robertson head. Unfortunately most of the Robertson design screws and driver tips now seem to be imported from off shore and I've seen multiple issues with both the driver tip life, proper fit between the screw recess and driver and up to stripping the driver tip or screw recess. Or at times shearing off the heads even while driving them into soft woods due I think to poor heat treat and/or metal quality. All that's not the fault of Robertson's original design since I can still remember more than well any of those problems rarely or never being an issue when the screws and driver tips were being made in North America. That should be no surprise I guess.

    Fwiw since this is the Antique Machinery and History forum and so many of those slotted head screws are found on that age of equipment maybe a few points about that screw slot design aren't out of place? Probably a high percentage here will already know it, but it's strange how few outside the machinist, gunsmith, watch and instrument trade even understand the actual issues with the standard slotted screw heads mentioned in the video and that so called cam out problem. That issue is mostly due to the almost universal use by the tool manufacturers of providing those worthless tapered tips on the screw drivers themselves. That taper is designed for fast easy manufacturing and an attempt for the tip to fit as many slot sizes as possible. The realities are it couldn't be designed more poorly if they were trying. It puts the maximum torque right at the top and very weakest part of the screw head. And even if the screw driver doesn't cam out and helped to do so even easier due to that taper, it still starts damaging the edges of the slot if the tip size doesn't fully fit the screw slot width, depth and length. And from my experience that almost never happens. The tighter the screw is that's being removed the more damage you'll do. Buggered up screw slots are a sure indicator on any assembly the previous metal butcher either didn't understand the requirements, doesn't care or didn't have the correct hollow or parallel ground screw driver tips. It was even mentioned in that video Robertson himself got injured due to the screw driver slipping and then showing those ridiculous tapered screwdriver tips that lead to the invention of the Robertson square drive head. I've proven to myself enough times that when a parallel or hollow ground screw driver tip does fit the slot dimensions as the design intended you'll either get the screw to move or the head shears off because it's seized/rusted into the threads. So when that screw head slot is properly engineered for the head size, that slot should be fully capable of withstanding all the torque the head can take "IF" that properly sized and ground screwdriver tip is being used. At best those tapered screwdriver tips are just about good enough for farm / automotive use or stirring paint. :-) imo. Brownells Gunsmithing Supply sell these for some real good reasons.BROWNELLS FIXED-BLADE SCREWDRIVER SETS | Brownells In a pinch I've even had to mill my own non hardened steel tips for slots I don't have the correct tip for. South Bend as just one manufacturer seems to have used quite a few large head slotted machine screws on there equipment. On old equipment, guns, instruments, machine tools I'd be willing to bet most here have seen more damaged slotted screw heads than they have undamaged. Any time you seen an undamaged slot it probably means that screw has never removed since the factory installed it.

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