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6 Facts About Screwdrivers

  • February 6, 2020

A screwdriver is an essential tool used to install and remove — as well as tighten or loosen — screws. It typically features a long and wide shaft that’s affixed to a screw head. The screw head is inserted into the screw, at which point turning the screwdriver will tighten or loosen the screw. While you’re probably familiar with the basic design of a screwdriver, though, you might be surprised to learn the six following facts about them.

#1) They Were Invented During the Middle Ages

While it’s unknown who invented the screwdriver, archeological evidence shows that they’ve been around since the Middle Ages. There are examples of screwdrivers being used in both Germany and France during the 15th century. Since them, screwdrivers have found their way to nearly every country.

#2) They Support Over a Half-Dozen Drive Types

While Phillips is the most common drive type used, screwdrivers support over a half-dozen other drive types. In addition to Phillips, you can find screwdrivers with a flat-head, Robertson, Supadriv, Fearson and Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) drive type. The drive type, of course, defines the type of screws with which the screwdriver can be used.

#3) Handles Are Made of Wood, Metal or Plastic

Different screwdrivers are designed with different types of handles. Some screwdrivers have a wooden handle, whereas others have a metal handle. You can even find screwdrivers with a plastic handle. The handle is the long and relatively wide section of the screwdriver that you hold when using the tool to install or remove a screw.

#4) Manual and Automatic Screwdrivers

There are both manual and automatic screwdrivers available. Manual screwdrivers require physical, manual operation, meaning you must hold and turn them to install or remove a screw. In comparison, automatic screwdrivers feature an automatic method of operation that’s typically powered by electricity from a wall outlet or battery.

#5) Some Screwdrivers Have a Magnetic Head

The screw head used in some screwdrivers is made of a magnetic material. The purpose of this magnetic head is to allow the screwdriver to “catch” the screw more easily. It also helps to reduce the risk of lost screws during removal. Without a magnetic head, the screw may fall out of sight immediately or shortly after it’s removed.

#6) Screwdrivers Didn’t Become Popular Until the Industrial Revolution

Although they had been around for several centuries prior, screwdrivers didn’t become popular until the first Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution paved the way for faster and simpler production of screws. With the rise of screws came an increasing popularity for screwdrivers.

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