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Tool time Tuesday and today a common tool, the Phillips screwdriver. The credited inventor of the Phillips screw was John P. Thompson who, in 1932, patented a recessed cruciform screw and in 1933, a screwdriver for it. After failing to interest manufacturers, Thompson sold his self-centering design to Henry Frank Phillips in 1935. Phillips was an American businessman from Portland, Oregon. The Phillips-head or crosshead screw and screwdriver are named after him. The importance of the crosshead screw design lies in its self-centering property, useful on automated production lines that use powered screwdrivers. Phillips’ major contribution was in driving the crosshead concept forward to the point where it was adopted by companies who made screws and automobile companies. The Phillips screw quickly became, and remains, the most popular screw in the world.