Quick-Wedge screwdriver. Enough, already.

This 1960 ad for the Quick-Wedge screwdriver gets points for using the correct spelling of both words, instead of using the more easily trademarkable, but intellectually corrosive, trend of spelling product names like an idiot. They easily could have gone with any of the following, (and contributed to the national problem of adults that can only spell phoenetically, and resent anyone who actually paid attention in school), but thankfully didn't...

  • Quik-Wedge
  • Quic-Wedj
  • Kwik-Wej
  • Cuique-Uedgje
  • Kuik-Oueg
  • Qooicke-Ooij
  • Coic-Wj
  • Kwihk-Ouedjgj
  • Grunt-Grunt

Yes, the advertising industry missed one small opportunity to contribute to the dumbing down of  America when this ad his the pages of Mechanix Illustrated.

The Quick-Wedge screwdriver claims to grip the screw, instead of the standard behavior for flat screwdrivers, which is to leap out of the screw head and plunge deep into your radial artery... again.

How does it grip the screw? The explanatory illustration in the ad explains nothing, so don't waste your time rotating your eyes towards it. Toolmonger.com explains it thusly:

To use the Quick-Wedge driver, seat the slotted screw on the tip of the screwdriver. Then move the tube forward to apply force against the edges of the screw slot. Drive the screw, then release it from the screwdriver by sliding the tube back towards the handle.

So the Quick-Wedge blade (whose company still exists!) is split, and the halves are cleverly wedge-shaped in such a way that, when you push on the telescoping handle (which telescopes), the two halves of the blade spread out in the screw's slot, hopefully gripping it, instead of making it spring off of the screwdriver, skittering under the refrigerator.


We could just discontinue the use of stupid, horrible, slotted screws entirely, which were made obsolete in 1908 with the invention of the square-drive screw, and again in 1936 with the Phillips screw! Why buy a special, expensive, complicated, articulating screwdriver to restore some utility to a primitive, outdated design, when you can just use a better, widely available screw that only requires a simple one-piece screwdriver that won't make you stab yourself, first on accident, and then in rage? Haven't you wiped enough arterial spray off your walls already? I once read that the Japanese names for Phillips and slotted screws are just "plus" and "minus" (...possibly because of the shape of the hole they make in your skin when you slip?). So smart and straightforward, the Japanese.

It must be pointed out that Quick-Wedge are not to blame for slotted screws. They simply figured out how to finally make them work, and the answer is a robotic telescoping scissor-action screwdriver, and that is pathetic.

Here's a neat article on the history of screws, to get you good and mad at stupid, horrible slotted screws.

The Chest of Many Things. Home of screws. Make a left at the
 Peeewee Herman bike, and open every drawer in turn,
muttering under your breath about labeling these goddamn
drawers some time.
Of course, the reason everyone still has a stupid, horrible flat screwdriver at all is the fact that there are still slotted screws in the world. Mostly, I find them on older devices. How older? Well, they're not from 1936, that's for sure. So, any object less than 79 years old has no excuse to use stupid, horrible slotted screws - the perforators of thumbs. Every time I'm taking something apart, for whatever reason, and I find a slotted screw, I replace it with a Phillips screw from the Chest of Many Things. I have a policy of only turning slotted screws counter-clockwise, so that I can throw them in the recycle bin. I fucking hate them.

It's a little surprising to find that square-drive screws (whose driver is square in cross section, duh), predate Phillips screws by like thirty years. The story of why they took off in popularity and then came crashing back to Earth in popularity is one of patents and lawyers, and can be read in the neat article on Mental Floss, linked a few paragraphs back. I have a box of those somewhere, and a screwdriver to match, but I will never voluntarily use them unless I have no choice. But, at least the squaredriver isn't as blade-like as a flat screwdriver and as a result, doesn't slide as easily into my wrist, if it does slip out of the screw, which it won't, because it's merely uncommon, and not stupid or horrible.

Click for big.


Michelle_Randy said...

Ooooh, that Chest of Many Things..... I covet it. I need to go to confession, I guess!

Jim D. said...

As a late-middle-aged white male grasping at any straw that might possibly connect me to some final vestige of coolth, I have been using slotted-head screws on everything I build. Some days I tell myself this means I'm a hipster, using obsolete technology "ironically" as I sip my PBR (also ironically; when I'm drinking earnestly it's Fleischmann's Gin). Other days I tell myself slotted-head screws make my stuff look "Steampunk," though I'm not really sure exactly what that means beyond "something understood by youthful cool people like Kevin Kline". Your post has awakened me to the error of my ways. I henceforth pledge to only turn slotted-head screws counterclockwise, just like Phil R. Go. It's time I face facts: I'm pasty-white, middle-aged, and my life is pathetic. Thanks, Phil!

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Thanks Michelle. The Chest of Many Things was Dad's. He made it, so, of course it's built from two inch thick plywood, and weighs more than a small moon. If it tips over, it will fall through the Earth's crust.

But that's as may be, because Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Chest.


[ -Mgmt. ]

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Jim, I cannot guess why you use slotted screws. Haven't you suffered enough in life? I'm also middle aged, I think, and I doubt that jumping on a bandwagon from 1936 will carry much water with the beardy fixed-gear bicycle types sipping PBRs while they wait in line for a perfectly ordinary hot dog from a terminally trendy food truck.

Please enjoy Plus screws, secure in the knowledge that hipsters will use any screw they can find, so long as it's rusty, bent, and preferably stripped.

[ -Mgmt. ]

Parker said...

Careful dissing the square headed, or Robertson Drive, screws - you might find yourself set upon by a wild pack of Canadians who may polite you to death. Like every good Canadian, I of course have several sizes of Robertson Drive screwdrivers.

Jack_Dayton_72 said...

I have several of these....exactly the ones from the ad. My Grandpa's, originally. You use these to get the screw started and then finish with a normal flathead screwdriver.....they are an awesome invention but fragile if you really put a lot of force on them.

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