Instructable user arcticpenguin unraveled the mystery behind various screw types (what? You think that there are only Phillips and slotted screws?). Take for example, the history of the Phillips screw:
This cross drive screw story starts when Henry Phillips purchased a crude form of a cruciform-recessed screw head concept from an Oregon inventor named J.P. Thompson.
Henry F. Phillips (1890 to 1958), a U.S. businessman from Portland, Oregon, has the honor of having the Phillips head screw and screwdriver named after him.
The cruciform shape can be considered to be a cruciform design with their 90 degree shapes as most have similar physics properties.
Phillips developed Thompsons invention screw into a workable form. Phillips had come up with a recessed cross screw designed for efficiency on an auto assembly line. The idea was that the screwdriver would turn the screw with increasing force until the tip of the driver popped out, called camout. When tightening a Phillips screw with a Phillips screw driver you will notice that when the torque gets to be too strong, the screw driver winds itself out of the screw so the screw head would not be ruined or brake off.
Phillips also founded the Phillips Screw Company in Oregon in 1933, but never actually made screws. He had called on every established screw manufacturer in the US and was told simply that the screw could not be made. Screw makers of the 1930s dismissed the Phillips concept since it calls for a relatively complex recessed socket shape in the head of the screw; as distinct from the simple milled slot of a slotted type screw.
Phillips then called on the American Screw Company, a newcomer to the industry whose new president, Eugene Clark, personally became interested in the new product, despite the opposition of his engineers, who like others in the industry had insisted it could not be made. According to one printed report, the president of American Screw Company said: "I finally told my head men that I would put on pension all who insisted it could not be done. After that an efficient method was evolved to manufacture the fasteners and now we have licensed all other major companies to use it." (Source)