The development of the Torx screw began in 1967, was patented in 1971 and was invented by Bernard F. Reiland for the then Camcar Textron company.
Technology had progressed in manufacturing to limit the amount of torque in automatic screwdrivers and since torque could be better controlled, Textron wanted to extend the life of their tools by creating a new fastener system. So, Reiland developed the Torx to add extra surface area to screws and fasteners which reduced the amount of torque applied to prevent over-torquing and thus breakage and slippage. Eliminating both of these of course extends the life of the tools and fasteners in use.
Once developed and manufactured the benefits of Torx became obvious. First and foremost, it initially helped prevent tampering. That’s less of a benefit now given that Torx drivers are pretty common, but 40+ years ago it did the job and can still be of use today in some cases. The real benefit though is that the Torx driver does what it was designed to do. We all know the frustration of using a slotted driver only to have it pop out on whim. We also probably have equal amounts of frustration with the Phillips driver camming out.
Using a Torx screw and driver, by contrast, is pretty nice. It has a nice, snug fit. It doesn’t slip out, break or strip, so long as high quality, correct sized driver is used. Since their inception, Torx screws have been widely adopted and have had a lot of variations created.
As manufacturing technology has improved, fastener technology has grown from the initial slotted screws to square, to Phillips/Pozidriv and finally to Torx and beyond.
Technology created the need for screws that cam out as well as a solution that dealt with torque and allowed for screws that didn’t need to escape. Torx screws have a lot of advantages and they came about at an interesting point in tool history and have grown into a staple of the home improvement industry.
Torx head screws are now far more prevalent than ever with the rise of battery operated impact drivers. With the correct Torx bit, screws and fixings that feature a torx head surpass most others in their respective field.
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