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The screw is a fastener that features a helical ridge also known as threading wrapped around a cylinder and has a plethora of applications in everyday life. For instance, the main reason you can comfortably sit in your chair at the moment is because screws are holding you up. Moreover, you can thank the screws […]

The screw is a fastener that features a helical ridge also known as threading wrapped around a cylinder and has a plethora of applications in everyday life. For instance, the main reason you can comfortably sit in your chair at the moment is because screws are holding you up. Moreover, you can thank the screws incorporated in your computer for keeping all parts tightly together so you can access the internet; the examples on how these little fasteners support your daily activities could go on forever. While the common use of the screws has become so oblivious that people don’t give it a second thought, the history of the fastener is sprinkled with many fun and little known facts. Let’s elaborate.
screws

  1. The screw appeared in Ancient Greece

Even though historical evidence traces the first use of the screws to the Ancient Greeks, they don’t specify whether or not they were the inventors of the fasteners. Nonetheless, because the screws’ mechanism allowed a tremendous force to the exerted on an object with minimal effort, Ancient Greeks used them in the olive and grapes presses. On a side note, in case you didn’t know a mere 40 pounds pressure on the handspike will exert a pressure of over 900 pounds.

  1. They were commonly utilized was to hold down two thin pieces of material

Although nails are believed to have a longer history, the truth is that they are only effective in fixing pieces of material together when they are longer. On the other hand, even a small screw is capable of providing a permanent fix, one that you can’t break unless you cut around the surrounding material. This is why they were commonly utilized in weapon manufacturing during the 16th century.

  1. The first production screws were considered a financial failure

The first factory production of screws dates back to 1760 England when William and Job Wyatt patented a type of machinery that produces screws automatically. It is true that it took them almost two decades to tweak and improve the machine, but once finished the machinery was able to create better quality screws and save hours of labor. Strangely enough, their invention was perceived as a failure at the time, although the Wyatt brothers' successors managed to turn things around and manufacture over 16,000 items with a small team of 30 people.

  1. The mass production of screws began around the mid 17th century

As hard as it may be to imagine, screw manufacturing back in the day implied whole families working together to file threads and cut small slots into the head of the screw. Needless to mention that the costs for this operation were astronomical, so high that the screws used to be sold individually. Thank god for William and Job Wyatt’s idea!
5. The machine that produced tapered thread was invented in 1840s
The screws automatically produced by the Wyatt Brothers' machine were slightly different from the ones used today in the sense that the fasteners didn’t feature the tapered threading noticeable on the modern screw. Because the thread didn’t continue to the screw’s tip, it meant that you needed to drill a hole in order to install a screw. All that changed with the invention of the tapered thread machine in the 1840s in the United States.

About the Author

Jennifer Melone
By Jennifer Melone
Purchasing Agent

Started her career in the fastener world in 1991 working at Melfast as a receptionist, also handling clerical duties. Later on she began training in sales and also taking on purchasing duties. She is currently responsible for all purchasing and also is responsible for the sales of many accounts of Melfast.

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