Friday, 21 April 2017

R is for the Robertson Screw and Screwdriver 

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, my theme for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, is CANADA. 

Join me throughout April (every day except Sundays) to learn more about the inventions, the people, and the cultures that make up one of the greatest countries in the world!

An Invention That Has Stood the Test of Time

A few years ago, after meeting Kevin Therres, a race car driver and the inventor of the only Jet Engine Funny Car to run on 100% canola biodiesel, my grandpa and I built a soap box car from scratch. You can read all about it in the Superman Duffy graphic novel, GOTTA JET!

We used a lot of tools that day, including the Robertson screwdriver. Which, as you’ve probably guessed, is a Canadian invention.

After badly cutting his hand using a slot-headed screwdriver, Peter Limburner Robertson—an Ontario resident—invented the square-headed screw and screwdriver. 

With his new 1908 design, a person could drive a screw more quickly, and because the screw was self-centering, only one hand was needed. Plus, the driver fit more tightly in the screw’s head, reducing the chance of the screwdriver  slipping out and injuring anyone.

Robertson’s invention was a big hit! Not only was it safer, the screwdriver sped up production. 

Robertson was clearly on to a good thing, because his design has stood the test of time. After all these years, no one has been able to improve on it. 

Gotta jet! Check back with me tomorrow as I round off week three of the A to Z Blogging Challenge with an “S” post bound to throw you a few curves. 

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Still following the Superman Duffy tour? Check out my Instagram and Twitter posts to see where the author and the illustrator will be travelling to next! Today they’re at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Sherwood Park. 


  1. Wow, I'll have to ask my husband if he knows the name of that square screwdriver we have. He enjoys DIY projects and separates screws by different thread types, lengths, and other factors that I probably don't know. I have seen plenty of Robertson screws in his collection and he's used them from time to time. Maui Jungalow