Scrutinising The Simple Screw

Scrutinising The Simple Screw

The trusty screw, a builder’s reliable friend that’s responsible for securing, fastening and generally holding the world together. But where did these magical little bits of metal first come from? Nobody knows for sure, but according to some they date back to Nebuchadrezzar II who reigned over the Neo-Babylonian Empire as far back as 605 BC!

However, it wasn’t until the early 16th century that metal screws started to be widely used.  Initially used as a fastener for securing firearms together, offering a snugger fit and one that could withstand the vibrations from the firing gun.

By the mid 1700s, the first factory production of screws started by brothers Job and William Wyatt, who patented a design for a machine that could produce screws automatically.  Their novel machine first cut the slotted head and then carved the helix, producing a screw every six or seven seconds which bought considerable time savings and a much higher quality product.

Despite the improvements, the screw wasn’t perfect as a lack of standardisation made fastener interchangeability problematic.  To overcome these problems, Joseph Whitworth collected sample screws from a large number of British workshops and put forward two proposals:

  1. The angle of the thread flanks should be standardised at 55 degrees
  2. The number of threads per inch should be standardised for various diameters.

His proposals, which were further developed in the years ahead, became standard practice in the 1860s.  Once again, the UK was playing an important part in the development of the screw that is now a tiny, yet key, component of so many global structures that we know today.

These little heroes have adapted and changed over the years and are now a fundamental piece of kit in the building world. Here at TimCo, we have recently played our part in the screw’s development unveiling a new multi-purpose screw - the ‘C2’ - using patented twin cut technology that achieves a 43% quicker screw time and half the torque of other screw. Pretty impressive, huh?

The C2 not only saves time and energy, but the twin-cut technology applies the screw in exactly the same position and angle every time. We know it’s going to be as popular as its big brother, the TimCo Classic, which has sold more than 4.5 billion!

At TIMco, we too have  evolved since our humble beginnings to now provide the building trade with a range of quality fixings, nails and drill bits – but we’ll never forget that our principal success is largely down to the simple screw.