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The Question:

Who is the Phillips head screwdriver named after? Is there really a Phillips?

The Answer:

There really is a Phillips! Henry F. Phillips, of Portland, OR, invented the X-shaped socket head screw for car makers who needed a screw that could be driven with more torque and that would hold more tightly than slotted screws. Car makers also needed a screw that would center quickly and easily, and could be used efficiently on an assembly line.

The invention was initially rejected, but eventually accepted by the American Screw Co., who in 1936 persuaded General Motors to use the Phillips head screw in manufacturing Cadillacs.

Phillips lost the patent to his eponymous invention in 1949.

—The Editors

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