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Old 01-13-2020, 07:27 PM   #1
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History of Robertson vs Phillips screw.

I stumbled across an interesting video on the competing history of the Robertson vs Philips screws. Enjoy!

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Old 01-13-2020, 08:32 PM   #2
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Thank you for sharing this. I’ve long wondered about it, but no more!
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:52 PM   #3
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That was an interesting history. I just checked the American Home Depot, Lowes, and Harbor Freight on line. None of them carry a robertson screw driver. There's a small assortment of driver bits, but no full size screwdrivers. Now I understand why there's a note of panic every time the forum discussion gets down to the nuts and bolts of the trailer construction. The historian did have one thing wrong, with enough determination, it is possible to use a small slotted screw driver in a robertson screw.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:09 PM   #4
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Or you get one when you pick up your trailer. Has multiple bits and is very well made.
Used to be a link to accessories on the ETI site, but I can't find it. They do sell it, if you don't have one or get one with your trailer.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:20 PM   #5
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Or you get one when you pick up your trailer. Has multiple bits and is very well made.
Used to be a link to accessories on the ETI site, but I can't find it. They do sell it, if you don't have one or get one with your trailer.


And it’s made in the US IMG_3423.jpg
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:22 PM   #6
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Already had sets of the Robertson bits that fit in a multi-bit screwdriver handle or use them in the power impact driver. Sets are available at all the stores here. It’s not presented any issues and found no need to buy specific Robertson screwdrivers, since the trailer is our only item that has Robertson screws.
Any mods I’ve done are getting SS Phillips head screws/bolts so a few more years, may not have many Robertson screws in this trailer.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:38 PM   #7
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I had a Robertson driver in my toolbox at home but not one with me when I went to Niagara Falls with the 19 the first time. I struck out for a hardware store to buy one and and soon learned there wasn’t a hardware store in Niagara Falls, Ontario anymore. However, I stopped at a garage sale where the owner had a lot of antiques and even more tools. He sold me a red handled (#2) Robertson driver for $2 that was in perfect condition right out of his tool box. I’ve used it many times since. I have the multi bit Escape driver and a similar ratcheting handle Milwaukee “stubby “ in my trailer tool box now. I have a modest selection of Robertson screws along also. I like the Robertson drivers and I like kind Canadians.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:48 PM   #8
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An important bit ( sorry ) of information about the Robertson is that you can place the screw on the driver and it will stay there as you insert the screw. Doesn't require two hands, one to hold the screw to the driver and the other to rotate the driver.

I'd read that the Phillips was adopted because if you applied too much pressure, the driver would jump out of the screw, and what you were attaching wasn't impacted. Of course, then you had to try to remove the screw and replace it, because the head was screwed ( sorry ).
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:27 AM   #9
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Every time I replace a screw at our house I replace it with a star screw. Either coated or brass. I used to use square heads but they would strip out when using stainless steel. As a rule I do not use stainless steel any more.



Star bits seem to solve every problem particularly camming out. Coated screws also allow for stronger screws to be used without staining wood or other materials. It seems to be the best solution for my shop.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:25 AM   #10
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I'm in the office furniture industry and one part of our industry Canadian companies do well in is laminate case goods. In the industry we call the screw they use a simple thing,' Canadian screw'. Much prefer them to phillip head screws.

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Old 01-14-2020, 08:28 AM   #11
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A very interesting observation was when my dad made my son a workbench when he was about 3 years old, complete with a set of smaller real tools. One thing he did was to pre-drill some holes in a 2x4 to drive screws in. The flat screw heads were a waste of time for the young guy as he could just not keep the driver in the slot. The Phillips head was better as it did not slip right out, but unless he kept pressure down on it, it would still spin in the screw. The Robertson was by far the easiest for him to drive and in the end pretty much the only one he played with, as the driver tip holds in the screw way better than the other two.

Being in construction my entire life, as well has having a nice wood shop for myself, I have installed hundreds of thousands of screws via various means. Robertson is just way ahead of Philips for easier use and better performance. Around here pretty much the only Philips screw heads used are in drywall screws so the driver can more easily slip out of the screw head when set. As well, we see a fair few Phillips heads on products imported from the US.

Phillips is fine, but Robertson is WAY better in most situations. I am frankly surprised that folks in the US fight using them as much as they do.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:26 AM   #12
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Phillips is fine, but Robertson is WAY better in most situations. I am frankly surprised that folks in the US fight using them as much as they do.

...he says about the only country in the world stuck on the timeline in the pre-metric era.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:44 AM   #14
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I don’t think we fight using Robertson screws in the US, they just aren’t generally available in the stores here. I agree that Robertson probably are a bit better, but never had any major issues using Phillips and I know that’s what I’ll find in the store if I need some especially in rural areas.
In both marine and the RV’s stainless has always been personal choice to use in case of leaks getting things wet, etc. Not seen any Robertson screws down here much, but doubt they’d have them in SS if we did find them.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:48 AM   #15
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I bought these about three years ago and have used almost all of them up now with various mods on our 19. Time for a new bag.

Square Drive Pan Head Sheet Metal Screws 18-8 Stainless Steel - #8 x 5/8" Qty-250 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FAUZMHQ..._LiEhEbPBWRX14

Adjustments.jpg
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:01 AM   #16
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GO Amazon! Now if the stores would stock them. Put these on my Amazon list. HD and Lowe’s don’t even show them available for online order or the stores.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Robertson is just way ahead of Philips for easier use and better performance. Around here pretty much the only Philips screw heads used are in drywall screws so the driver can more easily slip out of the screw head when set. As well, we see a fair few Phillips heads on products imported from the US.

Phillips is fine, but Robertson is WAY better in most situations. I am frankly surprised that folks in the US fight using them as much as they do.
Couldn't agree more. When you've driven them by the thousands it's not even a discussion point.

It was also a Canadian who made a quantum improvement in the mulit-bit screwdriver. I remember before the Picquick multi-bit driver was invented having multi-bit drivers with the various bits loose in the handle. After awhile it seemed that the one bit you needed hadn't been put back in the handle.

The Picquick, with it's revolver style bit holder, made it so much easier to change bits and keep them in place. Also served as a bit holder when you were using the same bits with a drill.

The guy who patented it made a fair bit of change from royalties. He bought a Rolls Royce. He called it his Royalty Rolls.

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Old 01-14-2020, 11:48 AM   #18
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GO Amazon! Now if the stores would stock them. Put these on my Amazon list. HD and Lowe’s don’t even show them available for online order or the stores.
The stores do stock them - but they are called square head screws.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Hardware...vZc2b0Z1z0sgtl

Here's a discussion of the difference between the two.

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questi...bertson-screws
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:38 PM   #19
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Where does the Reed and Prince/Frearson drive measure on the ease of use spectrum? That was the type used by phone company installers and is probably found in virtually every telephone connector block in the US.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:36 PM   #20
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Every time I replace a screw at our house I replace it with a star screw.
...
Star bits seem to solve every problem particularly camming out.
What do you mean by "star"... Torx, perhaps? The Torx system works very well, but is still uncommon outside of automotive and electronic products.
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