Every human appears to have screws lying around our homes and offices. They often accumulate like dust particles. Open a compartment or an energy box and there would have been a jumble of screws of different kinds and sizes littered among other assorted items of flotsam and junk that individuals collect and never appear to lose. Occasionally we go looking for a screw for a distinctive application or task and usually, we will find just the machine to accomplish the chore.
We don't think much about screws. I can't remember the last time I actually bought a mess, if ever. They come attached or contained in lots of the assembled products we purchase. We know what screws do and their importance in holding things together; but we don't reflect much on their provenance. They are innocuous, inanimate objects inside our lives for the most part.
And yet, fortunes have been made off of the simple screw. Screws were first utilized in building trades in the 15th century in France and Germany. They truly became crucial in enabling architects to create on a grander scale. However, the production of screws was difficult, cumbersome and not standardized. The industrial revolution, which began to explode internationally in the midst of the 19th century, required that the screws become a large production staple.
The first known pioneer to entrepreneurially produce a fortune from enhancing the screw was P.L. Robertson. Mr. Robertson was a Canadian who sold mechanical products in Ontario may be the late 19th century. He recognized that the screws available during the time were difficult to work with. His concept was to position a square divot in the top of the screw. This became the famous "square socket" screw. The head of the screw driver was refitted with a square nib and locked firmly onto the top of the Robertson screw. Robertson was a prolific patent filer, and he was ardent in protecting his invention. Soon the "square socket" was in wide used in industry and the trades.
The SPS Company (Standard Press Steel) in the first area of the 20th century wanted to avoid paying royalties to P.L. Robertson and Co. SPS invented the UNBRAKO distinct screws and implements. Today we all know these products as Allen Wrenches and hex-head screws. Try to imagine any DIY project, or IKEA furniture assembly, without utilising the Allen Wrench to lock the parts together.
Henry Phillips was an Oregonian and inveterate tinkerer. He was conscious that the automobile industry was desperate to accelerate the assembly process. Henry Ford had created the automated factory line. Parts and tools were needed to aid in improving efficiencies in mass production.
One of many problems that engineers faced was that screws were difficult to self-center. Henry Phillips attacked the problem and created one of the very most useful, famous and omnipresent product innovations in history; the Phillips Head Screw. His first commercial success with the Phillips Head Screw was a purchase to Cadillac for use within the 1934 models.
Imagine a hardware store anywhere in the world that didn't stock a range of screws and screw drivers.
The Allen Wrench-Hex Head screws, the Phillips screw and the square socket were simple riffs on a standard product already in wide use. None of those inventors created an "alpha" product. They only improved on an existing design(s). This is actually the great opportunity that has created so much wealth, so many enduring companies and improved so many lives. It can be a path available each and every day to creators, inventors and entrepreneurs seeking to incorporate value to commerce. It is not necessary to generate the wheel. Just develop a new use or benefit for the wheel and many rewards will available to you.