Classic Boat Screw Trivia – By Herb Pocklington


A while back a Woody-watcher took another to task for saying Chris-Craft were held together by “Reed & Prince” screws…… not “Phillips-head” screws as alleged.

Actually they were “Frearson-head” made by Reed and Prince (then in Worcester MA, now in Leomister, MA. My friend Alton Reed, CEO of R&P decided not to utilize the name Frearson and lamented the fact that he couldn’t get people to stop calling them Phillips.

Frearson’s claim to fame was that the screw’s 75 degree recess descended to infinity, thus opening the door to the phrase”one (bit) size fits all screws.”

I can say with impunity that Gar Wood, up the road 18 miles in their new Marysville boat factory, also used R&P Frearson for, when they stopped production, I bought their large stock of screws to use in our Algonac, and other factories.

The “one size fits all” was later a factor in our kit boat program for we got away with supplying one number 710 R & P “hand-operated” wooden-handled screw-driver – to go with screw kits that varied with boat size. We did that with a straight face, realizing that our friends at Black and Decker would later do us a good turn, so to speak.

The tremendous popularity of Chris-Craft kit boats, and the sample completed boats we furnished to dealers, led to the creation of the Cavalier Division. I understand the some of those kit boats, and many of the Cavaliers are now classified as antiques….as am I.

When a Chris-Craft technician (actually as they just “worked” there they called themselves “workers”) was screwing a hull planks to a frames with 400-500 2-1/2 inch number 12 flat head bronze screw with an electric driver, he used a much larger bit than did a guy in the trim department attaching chrome-plated hinges on a dish-locker with a 1-1/4 inch X 8 chrome-plated FHB brass screws – with a #710 hand-driver, or, in the case or our northern factories, with what was known as a “Yankee” screw-driver. I do not know what they were called at our factories in Salisbury, MD, or Chattanooga, TN.

5 replies
  1. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Herb, it's always a thrill and a pleasure to read your stories about the way it really was in the days at Chris-Craft. Thanks so much for sharing your true-life memories with us.


  2. Craig Schmidt
    Craig Schmidt says:

    Speaking of which… Does anybody know of a vendor who will or has put together a small selection of the popular size screws that we owners of small Chris-Crafts usually need? I know where I can get a whole box of whatever size I need, but what I really want is just a half dozen or so of the popular length number 8 10 an 12's.

  3. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    Classic boat connection may have something. I think the tough thing is that each boat is so different that it makes it tough. But a great idea. I know for some cars like mustangs and camaros you can get that

  4. 46Custom
    46Custom says:

    I have bought frearson type silicone bronze screws from several places and have had good luck with all but the folks at Southern Crown have been very helpful, selling me some of the screw sizes that I've needed in small quantities by the each and at a reasonable price. Thumbs up!

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    R&P of Leominster is not the same company as the former Worcester company. The Leominster company is merely using the name which it purchased during the Worcester company's liquidation in 1990.

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