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Incredible Inventions

Robertson Screw and Screwdriver

Inventor: Peter Lymburner Robertson (1879-1951)

After badly cutting his hand while using a slot-headed screwdriver, Peter Lymburner Robertson invented the square-headed screwdriver and screw in 1908. He received the Canadian patent for his invention in 1909. A person could drive a screw more quickly with this new design and the screw was self-centering so only one hand was needed. On top of that, the driver fit more tightly in the screw's head, thereby reducing the chance of the screwdriver slipping out. The Robertson screw was a big hit! Industry loved it because it sped up production and resulted in less product damage. No one has been able to improve on this design in all the years that have followed!

Photograph of Peter Lymburner Robertson

Peter Lymburner Robertson, inventor of the Robertson screw and screwdriver

Page from a patent for the Robertson screw, 1909, with a diagram of the screw

Page from a patent for the Robertson screw, 1909

Promotional card for the Robertson screw, entitled A STUDY IN EVOLUTION

Promotional card for the Robertson screw, which promotes the invention as the most recent advancement on Archimedes' screw


Lamb, Ken. P.L.: Inventor of the Robertson Screw. Milton, Ontario: Milton Historical Society, 1998.

Spencer, Bev. Made in Canada: 101 Amazing Achievements. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2003.