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US Patent: 157,087
Improvement in screw-drivers
Isaac Allard - Belfast, ME

USPTO Classifications:

Tool Categories:
screwdrivers : screwdriver mechanisms : spiral screwdrivers

Frank A. Howard - Belfast, ME
Isaac Allard - Belfast, ME

New York Manufacturers Co. - New York, NY
F. A. Howard & Son - Belfast, ME

Augustine Collum
Austin Fuller

Patent Dates:
Applied: Oct. 14, 1874
Granted: Nov. 24, 1874

Patent Pictures:
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"Vintage Machinery" entry for Howard Manufacturing Co.
A 1992 article by Clifford D. Fales in The Gristmill says that the first mention he has found of a spiral screwdriver for sale is in the October 1883 issue of Carpenter & Building magazine, which announced the availability of the Allard Spiral Screwdriver manufactured by F. A. Howard of Belfast, ME.

The Fales article quotes an 1895 Charles A. Strelinger catalog that says they had received queries about spiral screwdrivers as early as 1877; presumably Allard or someone else had been making and selling their screwdrivers, but were selling them direct.

The Fales article goes on to say that the 1868 design (Allard's patent 80,583) was impractical, and was never made. The problem is that the force of the spring is supposed to drive the screw. Later designs used the hand pressure to drive the screw, and if a spring was present it simply provided the return stroke to re-extend the screwdriver.

The following information taken from Clifford D. Fales' database.

Earliest patent for a spiral screwdriver with a mechanical clutch Marketed as: Allard's Patent.

Marked, "F. A. Howard /— Maker —/ Belfast, Me. / Allard's Pat. / Aug. 4, 1868 / Nov. 24, 1874" or "F. A. Howard /— Maker —/ Belfast, Me. / Pat'd Aug. 4, 68 / Nov. 24, 74 / Mar. 1, 92" or "N. Y. M'f'g'r's Co. / New York / ELECTRIC / Pat. Nov. 24, 1874"

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