Henry F. Phillips

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Phillips screw head

Henry F. Phillips (1890–1958) was a U.S. businessman from Portland, Oregon. The Phillips-head ("crosshead") screw and screwdriver are named after him.[1]

The importance of the crosshead screw design lies in its self-centering property, useful on automated production lines that use powered screwdrivers.[2] Phillips' major contribution was in driving the crosshead concept forward to the point where it was adopted by screwmakers and automobile companies.

Biography[edit]

An engineer, Phillips was an acquaintance of John P. Thompson,[3] who sold his self-centering design to Phillips in 1935 after failing to interest manufacturers. Phillips formed the Phillips Screw Company in 1934, and after refining the design himself (U.S. Patent #2,046,343, U.S. Patents #2,046,837 to 2,046,840) for the American Screw Company of Providence, Rhode Island, succeeded in getting the design quickly adopted by industry.[4] One of the first customers, in 1936, was General Motors for its Cadillac assembly-lines. By 1940, 85% of U.S. screw manufacturers had a license for the design.[5] He sold all the patents in 1945 to Ford Motor Company for an estimated 5 million U.S. dollars.[citation needed] Due to failing health, Phillips retired in 1945. He died in 1958.

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Patent 2,046,837
  2. ^ Adams, Cecil. "Why did this guy Phillips think we needed a new type of screw?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Phillips Timeline - 1935". Phillips Screw Company. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Cross Shaped Slots Help Guide Screws" Popular Science, January 1936, page 38 middle of page
  5. ^ "About Phillips - A Historic View". Phillips Screw Company. Retrieved 2010-01-11.