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Publication numberUS3674070 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 4, 1972
Filing dateJun 2, 1969
Priority dateJun 2, 1969
Publication numberUS 3674070 A, US 3674070A, US-A-3674070, US3674070 A, US3674070A
InventorsMahoney Michael
Original AssigneeMahoney Michael
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Universal screwdriver
US 3674070 A
Abstract
This disclosure describes a hand tool having the ability to engage various types and sizes of screw fastener heads. The hand tool comprises a bundle of wires held in a generally tubular housing with one end of the bundle projecting slightly beyond the end of the housing. The other end of the bundle presses against a deformable cell located in the housing. A handle is attached to the other end of the housing. When the projecting wires are pressed against the head of a screw fastener, the wires deform about the head thereby making a replica mold of the surface of the screw fastener head. Lateral torque thereafter applied to the handle causes the deformed wires to transmit this torque to the screw causing it to rotate.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

r I United States Patent I [151 3,674,070 Mahoney 1 July 4, 1972 54 UNIVERSAL SCREWDRIVER 3,349,655 10/1967 Locke ..81/185 [72] Inventor: Mirlhaillghzahogey, 4703 Marie St., Beltv Primary Examiner Andrew R Juhasz 02 5 Assistant Examiner-Michael Koczo, Jr. 22 il d; June 2 1969 Attorney-Griffin, Branigan and Kindness 1 1 pp 829,290 57 ABSTRACT This disclosure describes a hand tool having the ability to en- [52] US. Cl. ..l45/S0 A, 81/185 gage various types and sizes of screw fastener heads. The hand [51] Int. Cl ..B25b 15/02 tool comprises a bundle of wires held in a generally tubular [58] Field of Search ...145/50, 50.1, 50.15, 50.2, housing with one end of the bundle projecting slightly beyond 145/503, 50.35, 50.4, 50.5, 50.6; 81/71, 185; the end of the housing. The other end of the bundle presses 35/45; 269/266 against a deformable cell located in the housing. A handle is attached to the other end of the housing. When the projecting 5 R f r Cited wires are pressed against the head of a screw fastener, the wires deform about the head thereby making a replica mold of UNITED STATES PATENTS the surface of the screw fastener head. Lateral torque thereafter applied to the handle causes the defonned wires to 1176 4/1923 Pemne "269/266 transmit this torque to the screw causing it to rotate. 2,658,415 11/1953 Barowsky... ..269/266 X 1,794,008 2/1931 Forbes ..l45/29 B UX 11 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL "4 m2 3. 674. 070

[NV ENTOR MICHAEL MAHONE Y ATTORNEYS UNIVERSAL SCREWDRIVER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Various types of screw fasteners and tools for rotating screws are well known. The most common type of screw is the slotted screw which is rotated by a blade screwdriver. An almost equally common type of screw is the Phillips head screw which is rotated by a Phillips head screwdriver. Less common types are the hexagonal head cap screw which is rotated by a hexagonal socket, and the Allen head cap screw which is rotated by an Allen wrench. Other less common types of screw fasteners and tools for rotating them are also known. In addition to having varying head shapes, screw fasteners vary over a wide range of sizes. Hence, even for a particular type of screw head, various sizes of tools for rotating the screw are required.

One major problem with prior art tools for rotating screws is that they are specialized. That is, a different tool is required for each different type of screw head. In addition, different sizes of the same tool are required for different sizes of the same screw head shape. Because of this wide variation in head shapes and sizes, a wide variety of tools must be owned by a mechanic, or other person who uses screws, if he is to be able to rotate all types and sizes of screws. For similar reasons, the homeowner must own a wide variety of tools if he is to repair and maintain his home. Consequently, it is desirable to provide a single or universal tool or screwdriver that is suitable for rotating screw heads having different sizes and shapes.

Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved screwdriver.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a universal tool that is suitable for engaging the heads of screws having different configurations.

It is another object of this invention to provide a universal screwdriver that has the ability to engage the heads of screw fasteners that vary over a wide range of sizes and shapes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with a principle of this invention, a hand tool having the ability to engage various types and sizes of screw fastener heads is provided. The hand tool comprises a bundle of wires held in a generally tubular housing. One end of the bundle of wires projects slightly beyond the end of the tubular housing and the other end of the bundle presses against a deformable cell held in the housing. A handle is attached to the other end of the housing. When the projecting wires are pressed against a screw head, the deformable cell allows them to deform about the head. The application of a lateral torque to the handle then causes the sides of the wires to press against the screw head and rotate the screw.

In accordance with a further principle of this invention, the bundle of wires is constrained from rotating within the tubular housing by the clutch action created by the wire bundle twistin g and expanding within the housing thereby causing intimate and forceful contact with the housing walls.

In accordance with another principle of this invention, each wire of the plurality of wires making up the bundle of wires is cylindrical in shape. I

In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention, each wire of the plurality of wires making up the bundle of wires is hexagonal in shape.

In accordance with still another principle of this invention, the cylindrical housing is in the form of a socket and the bathdle has a square ended shank suitable for engaging a square aperture in one end of the socket.

It will be appreciated from the foregoing summary of the invention, that a novel universal tool suitable for engaging the heads of various types and sizes of screw fasteners is provided. The tool is easily used by pressing the projecting end of the bundle of wires against a screw head. The deformable cell located at the other end of the wires allows the projecting end of the wires to deform about the head of the screw. Hence, for example, a portion of the wires may deform into the slot of the screw if the screw head is slotted. Thereafter, when torque is applied to the handle, a force is applied to the screw head which causes it to rotate in the desired direction.

In addition to the universal nature of the tool, it will be appreciated that it has other benefits. For example, when a screw fastener is secured in a deep countersunk hole or other obscured environment, it is often difficult to determine the type and size of the screw head. Prior to this invention, a variety of screwdrivers often had to be tried until the correct one was found. Often this trial and error" requirement resulted in maning the head, sometimes to the extent that the appropriate tool could no longer engage the head. However, this invention overcomes these problems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS I The foregoing objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial diagram illustrating one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional diagram along lines 2-2 of FIG.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional diagram along lines 3-3 of F IG.

FIG. 4 is a pictorial diagram of an alternate embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of a wire bundle that forms a portion of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional diagram of a modification of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a pictorial diagram illustrating how the bundle of wires of the invention engage the head of a slotted head screw; and

FIG. 8 is a pictorial diagram illustrating how the bundle of wires engages the head of a Phillips head screw.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the invention arid comprises a cylindrically tubular housing 1 1 fixedly attached to a handle 13. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, a plurality of equal length wires 15 in the form of a bundle fill the .inside of the tubular housing. The wires 15 are held in the tubular housing such that they project outwardly from one end of the housing. The other end of wires impinge against a deformable cell 17 located inside of the housing. The deformable cell 17 is prevented from moving away from the ends of the wires by pressing against the end of a shaft 18. The shaft fits in the tubular housing and is attached to the tubular housing 11 by a pin 19. Preferably, the bundle of wires 15 are semi-rigidly held in the tubular housing 11; however, they are not held so tightly that they are prevented from individually longitudinally moving against the deformable cell when pressure is applied against the projecting end of one or more of the wires.

The deformable cell 17 is basically a cell whose shape and surface qualities are altered under the influence of an applied force. It may be formed of either a resilient or a plastic material or a finely divided solid which behaves like a plastic material (such as a large number of tiny ball bearings). In fact, the deforming cell in some tools may be formed of a fluid material (such as grease). Hence, the deformable cell can be formed from various types of materials. In addition, it can take on various shapes, as desired. Its only requirement is that it have a surface which can be deformed under the influence of an applied force, such deformation not being permanent.

The force that deforms the deformable cell 17 is applied to the cell via the wires 15. That is, when the projecting ends of the wires are pressed against a screw head, such as the slotted head 21 illustrated in FIG. 7, some of the wires move inwardly while other wires move outwardly. In this manner, a blade 23 of the type illustrated in FIG. 7 is formed. The blade 23 that is' formed is, hence, adapted to fit into the slot 25 in the screw' head 21. Similarly, as illustrated in FIG. 8 when the ends of the wires 15 are pressed against a Phillips head screw 27, the wiresdeform into the shape of a Phillips screwdriver 29. If desired, after the screw has been inserted or removed, as the case may be, the projecting wire ends can be pressed against a flat surface so that the ends become planar. v

In operation, the bundle of wires is pressed against a screw head and, as previously described, deforms about the head. Thereafter, lateral torque is applied to the handle 13 and the screw is revolved in the desired direction. The bundle of wires is constrained from rotating within the tubular housing 11 due to a clutch action created by the bundle twisting andexpanding within the housing thereby causing intimate and forceful contact with the walls' of the housing.

It will be appreciated from the foregoing description that the invention provides a universal screwdriver that is suitable for use with screw heads of various sizes and shapes. As illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the same screwdriver can be used to drive both slotted screw heads and Phillips screw heads. In addition, the wire bundle will deform to fit over hexagonally.

shaped screw heads or into Allen shaped head screwheads, as well as over or in other, less common, types of screw heads.

FIG. 4 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the invention wherein a plurality of wires 31 are held in a socket shaped housing 33. A deformable cell 35 is held in the housing by any suitable means at one end of the wires. The wires 31 project outwardly from the one end of the socket. A handle 37 having a shank 39 is also illustrated in FIG. 4. The end of the shank 39 farthest moved from the handle 37 is square shaped and adapted to fit into a square aperature formed in one end of the socket shaped housing 33. It is to be understood that the FIG. 4 embodiment is useful with conventional socket handles as well as the handle illustrated.

FIG. illustrates the cross-sectional shape of the wires 31 that are held in the socket shaped housing 33. Specifically, these wires have a hexagonally shaped cross-section rather than a cylindrically shaped cross-section as illustrated in FIG. 2. It will be appreciated that, in some environments, it is more desirable to have the wire bundle formed of hexagonally shaped wires rather than a round shaped wire because hex agonally shaped wires are less likely to twist when torque is applied to the handle. It will also be appreciated that other crosssectionally shaped wires can be utilized by the invention; for example, the wires can have a triangular cross-section, if desired.

FIG. 6 illustrates a further alternative embodiment of the invention wherein the tubular housing 11 is square shaped in cross-section rather than round shaped as illustrated in the other figures. As in the other embodiments of the invention, a plurality of wires are held inside of the square shaped tubular housing in a manner that, preferably, completely fills the housing. For purposes of clarity, only some of the wires are illustrated in FIG. 6; however, in an actual embodiment of the invention, the entire inner area of the housing 11 would be filled with wires so that a compact bundle is formed.

It would be appreciated from the foregoing description of I the invention that a universal screwdriver suitable for use with a wide variety of screw heads is provided. In addition to the advantage that the end of the screwdriver is deformable thereby allowing it to fit over a wide variety of screw head shapes and sizes, the invention also has the advantage that it can be utilized in environments where it is difficult to tell what type of screw is to be removed. That is, when a screw head is located in a countersunk hole or other dim or dark environment, various types of prior art screwdrivers often have to be experimented with to determine what type of screwdriver is necessary. However, the invention eliminates this problem because its end deforms to fit over the head without experimentation.

that only preferred embodiments of the invention have been herein disclosed and described and that the invention can be modified in various ways in view of this disclosure and description. For example, round and hexagonal cross-sectionally shaped wires have been illustrated and described. However, as previously stated, other cross-sectional shapes can be used. In addition, various lengths of wire can be used depending upon the amount of twisting allowable in the wire bundle for a particular embodiment of the invention. Hence, the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein:

What is claimed is:

1. A universal screwdriver of the type used for rotating various screw-type fasteners and the like, comprising:

a tubular housing, said tubular housing defining an elongated cavity having a centrally located axis extending longitudinally therein;

a handle means attached to one end of said tubular housing for urging said tubular housing in a direction along said axis and for rotating said tubular housing about said axis;

a homogeneous deformable cell having a uniform composition and being affixed in said elongated cavity;

a plurality of wires held in the elongated cavity of said tubular housing such that inner ends of said wires contact the homogeneous deformable cell and outer ends of said wires extend away from said homogeneous deformable cell to a position adjacent the end of said housing remote from said handle, saidplurality of wires forming a bundle in which each wire is in contact with other wires, said wires having freedom of movement within said elongated cavity, such that when the outer ends of said wires are twisted relative to said inner ends of said wires, a portion of said bundle expands within said tubular housing thereby causing intimate and forceful contact between said bundle and inner walls of said tubular housing.

2. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 1 wherein said wires have round sectional shapes taken in a plane perpendicular to said axis.

3. A universalscrewdriver as claimed in claim 2 wherein said elongated cavity defined by said tubular housing has a sectional shape in a plane perpendicular to said axis which is bounded by straight sides.

4. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 3 wherein said cavitys sectional shape in a plane perpendicular to said axis is square.

5. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 2 wherein said elongated cavity defined by said tubular housing has a round sectional shape in a plane perpendicular to said axis.

6. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 5 wherein said homogeneous deformable cell is formed of a resilient material.

7. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 5 wherein said homogeneous deformable cell is formed of a plastic material.

8. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 1 wherein said wires have sectional shapes in a plane perpendicular to said axis which are bounded by straight lines.

9. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 8 wherein said wires sectional shapes in a plane perpendicular to said axis are hexagonal.

10. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 9 wherein said elongated cavity defined by said tubular housing has a round sectional shape in a plane perpendicular to said axis.

11. A universal screwdriver as claimed in claim 10 wherein said homogeneous deformable cell is formed of a resilient material.

I! I i l

Patent Citations
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US3349655 *Jun 24, 1966Oct 31, 1967Locke William NWrench having a bundle of rods individually retractable to conform to a variety of fastener configurations
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4197889 *Oct 20, 1978Apr 15, 1980C. Hager & Sons Hinge Manufacturing CompanySecurity screw, driver therefor, and process
US4488462 *Nov 9, 1981Dec 18, 1984Wall Stanford JScrewdriver with dual tip
US5193420 *Jan 24, 1992Mar 16, 1993Smith Charles TLocking lug removal tool
US5287778 *Oct 2, 1991Feb 22, 1994Cook Steven MUniversal screw driver
US5622090 *Apr 16, 1996Apr 22, 1997Worktools, Inc.Scalloped interior socket tool
US5638727 *Dec 5, 1995Jun 17, 1997Allway Tools, Inc.For use with removable driving bits
US5791209 *Apr 3, 1997Aug 11, 1998Worktools, Inc.Self-forming socket
US6948407 *Mar 11, 2004Sep 27, 2005Chih-Ching HsienBox end wrench
US7481138Jan 16, 2008Jan 27, 2009Joseph Powell ChapinAdjustable bit tool for driving screwdriver screws and bolts
US7886637Jan 30, 2009Feb 15, 2011Black & Decker Inc.Multiple pin retention for universal socket
US7963195Aug 25, 2008Jun 21, 2011Black & Decker Inc.Powered ratchet assembly
US8621961Apr 28, 2010Jan 7, 2014Milwaukee Electric Tool CorporationMulti-purpose tool
US8770069Mar 23, 2011Jul 8, 2014Eric DraizinAutomatically-configurable screwdriver assembly
EP0769354A1 *Oct 10, 1996Apr 23, 1997Worktools, Inc.Self forming socket
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WO1997014539A1 *Oct 10, 1996Apr 24, 1997Worktools IncSelf-forming socket
Classifications
U.S. Classification81/442, 81/185
International ClassificationB25B15/00, B25B13/00, B25B13/10
Cooperative ClassificationB25B15/001, B25B13/105
European ClassificationB25B13/10C, B25B15/00B