ECONOMICS: The Turn of the Screw

The U.S. and Britain are going to standardize screw threads. No great oratory attends this homely step, no military pageantry, yet it may be as important as half a dozen formal treaties.

The Americans will sacrifice their cherished Sellers screw thread profile in favor of a slightly modified British Whitworth profile, and the British will give up their 55° angle of thread in favor of the U.S. 60° angle. The agreement will eventually save millions of dollars, make cooperation in war & peace easier.

Universal & Permanent. Eli Whitney, an 18th Century Massachusetts Yankee, went broke after his cotton gin invention was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!