3

I have been doing renovations in my apartment, which is in a building that is at least 120 years old.

I have noticed that many of the fixtures I remove are installed with slotted screws. I don't see new fixtures sold with slotted screws anymore, and I was wondering if the slotted screws give any indication of the age of the old fixtures.

Was there a point in time when Phillips and combo screws took over?

You probably know what a slotted screw looks like

5
  • 1
    (Screw provided to give scale to praying mantis.) :) Very nice pic! Note that there's nothing inherently wrong with an older fixture or with a slotted screw. You'll notice that every one of your face plates is held on with slotted screws... (except, perhaps, for the fancier "screwless" ones which have a clip that's screwed on then a cover that clips to it. I don't have any of those high-falutin' ones, so I'm not sure) – FreeMan Dec 8 '20 at 17:37
  • 1
    Well, the older fixtures are generally ugly as sin, but they certainly work -- it takes a lot to kill a light bulb socket. I don't love the slotted screws, though. They're fine in a face plate, but if they are used anywhere that is awkward to reach, they can really make the process of getting them out gratuitously difficult. – HotDogWater Dec 8 '20 at 21:00
  • Won't disagree with you on the pain of driving/removing slotted screws, just that there's nothing inherently wrong with an old device that works. ;) If need be, go buy a few packages of newer screws and replace 'em as you go! – FreeMan Dec 9 '20 at 14:53
  • Having recently sorted through some bridge size bolts, I am now terrified of that praying mantis. I would be more at ease if it was obviously domesticated, i.e. had a saddle and reins. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 9 '20 at 19:34
  • It's about 4 inches long and pretty friendly. As long as you're not a cricket. – HotDogWater Dec 10 '20 at 16:14
2

I'd say by around 1990 most fixtures and devices (outlets, switches) had been shipped with combination screws (both #2 Phillips and slotted drivers work, or sometimes #2 square and slotted). The transition probably started in the mid-70s and varied by region of manufacture, backstock quantities, etc.

Answer informed by vague accumulated memory, not empirical data.

1
  • I'll take vague memory, thanks! I don't expect to get a precise answer here, I'm just curious to roughly date things. – HotDogWater Dec 8 '20 at 21:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.