If you use screws frequently, you may have, at some point, wondered about the history of the screw. Who invented the screw? How were screws used in ancient times as compared to how they’re used now? When were flat head screws invented? Whether you work in construction or you’re simply a fan of trivia, we’re here to sate your curiosity with some facts about the history of screws.
You may be surprised to find out that screws have been around for quite a long time — since about 400 BC when Archytas of Tarentum invented them. Archytas has been referred to as the founder of mechanics. In addition to his work in mechanics, he also worked in philosophy, mathematics, science, geometry, music theory, acoustics and public affairs.
One of the initial uses of the screw principle was the extraction of juice from grapes and oil from olives. The screw was then developed to be used in devices for raising water for land irrigation and removing water from ships. Screws were also adapted for use in paper and printing presses.
Though screws have always been useful, it would take centuries before the use of screws became widespread. This delay in extensive use was due to the difficulty of making these tools.
When the first successful screw-cutting lathe was made, long screws could be cut from others. This allowed for correctly sized screws to be mass-produced and for precision screws to be used in the building of steam engines. After that time, screws could also be used in the construction of bridges, canals and roads.
Though the use of screws became more widespread in the mid-1400s, it wasn’t until the mid-1700s that screws were produced in factories. Then in the 1840s, a machine was developed to mass-produce screws in factories. Screws were made in several different shapes and sizes until the National Screw Thread Commission came up with a standard to abide by in 1928, though custom screws continue to be made today for specific jobs. Today, Americans use more than 200 billion screws each year.
Now, what about the history of specific types of screws?
Buildex designed the original self-drilling screws and called them “Tek” screws. Today, the term “tek screws” is used to refer to self-drilling screws. To create this self-drilling screw, a drill bit was placed on the end of a screw. This allowed consumers to avoid pre-drilling a hole before using the screw, saving them time and money.
Initially, self-drilling screws were made with a tall head that had serrations. This was placed under the washer and allowed the screw to lock in place. Once importers began manufacturing their version of the self-drilling screw, they used wanted to save money on materials. This resulted in producers shaving down the heads and removing the serrations so that fewer materials would be needed and the end product would be cheaper to make.
Unfortunately, this also meant a decline in quality. All Points Fasteners returned to the style of old and have reverted to the original design, putting the serrations and tall heads back, while still maintaining a reasonable price. Quality is the priority, and that’s what consumers will find with our tek screws.
Screws are a vital part of any construction or building project. You wouldn’t hang up a small picture frame in your living room with a house nail, would you? Or use an upholstery tack to build furniture? Yet when it comes to selecting the right screw for the job, many people will simply grab whatever’s closest to complete projects or make a repair. Using the correct screw is crucial for completing a project correctly and avoiding problems like snapping screw heads or loose screws.
Screws are created in various shapes, so figuring out which screw is the right tool for your project comes down to knowing how you’ll need to use it. What type of materials and items will you be fastening together? What sort of machinery will you be using?
The categories related to screw design include drive type, head style and the type of point on the screw. As you can imagine, the combinations are nearly endless, which is why screws are such a versatile tool with many common uses. The following are a few examples of screws and their uses:
Tek screws can be used in various industries. These screws are typically used in metal-to-metal applications and you can use them with different substrates and gauges of metals. Tek screws are commonly used in HVAC, sheet metal and roofing. Some of these screws are designed for specific purposes, so consider the screw specifications when making your selection.
Typical uses of copper screws are gutter installation, construction and sheet metal roofing. Copper screws are durable, sustainable and aesthetically appealing. They also conduct heat and energy and have antimicrobial properties. These qualities make copper screws an excellent tool for construction, as they are resistant to deterioration and corrosion, and their conduction properties are beneficial for pipes and wires in heating and cooling systems. Because of its antimicrobial properties, a copper screw is also the perfect tool for hospitals and other facilities that need to remain sanitary.
Copper screws can also keep gutters from sagging after they’re exposed to heavy rainfall or snow, and these screws give the home a beautiful aesthetic. Copper screws designed for sheet metal can also preserve the roof’s integrity over time better than nails and can offer a secure fit.
The appropriately-named wood screws are designed to be used in wood. They’re typically made of bronze, brass or steel, and they’re easy to identify due to their coarse threads at the end and unthreaded shanks at the top. Because of their design, wood screws can move through the fibers of wood without much resistance, which reduces splintering.
You can also use concrete screws to fasten objects to concrete and drywall screws to fasten objects to drywall. If you need screws for a project, the odds are good that you’ll be able to find screws that are perfect for the job.
You’ll find an extensive inventory of screws at All Points Fasteners. No matter what project you’re working on and what material you’re working with, you can find the screws you need.
We value our customers, so we offer tools of exceptional quality. Contact us to find top-quality screws for your next project.