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Screws are relative newcomers to the production of furniture primarily because they are so hard to make by hand.But as the complexity and sophistication of furniture increased in the late 17th century and the use of brass hardware, locks and concealed hinges became more popular, there was an obvious need for a fastener that could hold two surfaces together without having to penetrate the back surface of the second piece.
The hand-tool used to drive slot-headed and cross-headed screws is called a screwdriver.They needed screws that could take greater torque and could provide tighter fastenings.The Phillips head screw was compatible with the automated screwdrivers used in assembly line.Ironically, there is a Philips Screw Company that never made Phillips screws or drivers.Henry Phillips died in 1958 at the age of sixty-eight.
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A square-drive head on a screw can be better than a slot head because the screwdriver will not slip out of the screw's head during installation.