National Treasure #28: Peter Lymburner Robertson

I don’t remember when I first heard about the Robertson screwdriver, nor when it first came to my attention that its inventor was a Canadian: Peter Lymburner Robertson. Back in the early 14th century, I expect.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that before working on this piece, I never thought about the need to manufacture screws and screwdrivers in matched sets: given the screwdriver, I just sorta took the screws for granted, if you see what I mean.

It seems the idea of the square-headed screw was someone else’s. Yet a good idea only gets you so far. P.L. figured out how to make it a manufacturing and commercial success, saving countless people from the cuts caused by the dreaded slip-prone slotted screwdriver.


This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.


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2 Responses to National Treasure #28: Peter Lymburner Robertson

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    Aside from his name ☺, that man has to be a Canadian Treasure even if many people don’t know the Robertson screw/driver are Canadian.

    Ever try to find them in the US? Ever try to screw the US’s Philips screw/driver. Both can be very frustrating!!!!!

    Thanks for coming up with Peter, who unfortunately is not a relative.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – It hardly seems fair that Americans don’t use Robertson screws when we use Phillips screws. Maybe we should enlighten them, somehow. Get right on that, would you?

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