The Robertson Revolution (Be Square & Save Installation Time)


I once heard a saying that went something like this: “If one person states a position, it is an opinion; if two state a position, it is a movement; and if three or more people state a position, it is a revolution.” I would like to suggest that security techs up rise and start the Robertson Revolution.

What is the “Robertson Revolution”? First, let’s look at a little tech hardware history. Somewhere in the middle 1700s, the first mass produced slot screws and their counterpart, the flat blade screw driver, were introduced. In 1908, the Robertson square-drive screw was released and was the most popular U.S. screw. It was used extensively on new automobiles at the time, such as the Model T car. Later, in the 1930s, the Phillips head screw took over the market, and the Robertson lost popularity — even though it is still the number one screw in countries such as Canada.

Why am I making such a big deal about a tiny little screw that is overall not that popular with the general public and costs a bit more? Early on in my tech career as an installer, I found out that this is the handiest screw for alarm equipment installation. It holds in the driver bit socket in almost every mounting angle and allows for increased torque without slipping such as you get with Phillips screws. The extra torque capability allows for installation without extra drilling or positioning. They come in small sizes for small component installations as well. Since the screw is not common, you also get an extra level of basic physical security and tamper resistance. Pretty nice since this all comes from one simply designed screw.

Cheap Phillips screws (even slot types at times) are often supplied with security equipment. Have you ever seen a Robertson screw provided? Manufacturers, are you reading this article? Then make the tech’s life a little easier.

OK, enough said. Let’s start the Robertson Revolution. If you have not looked at using this screw, then now is a good time to start. Your distributor should be supplying them, and if not, ask “Where are your Robertsons?”

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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