The History of a Hand Drill

A drill is a tool used for making round holes or driving fasteners. It is fitted with a bit, either a drill or a driver chuck. Hand-operated types are dramatically decreasing in popularity and cordless battery-powered ones proliferating due to increased efficiency and ease of use.

The Ancient Origins

Around 35,000 BC, homo-sapiens discovered the benefits of applying rotary tools. This would have rudimentarily consisted of a pointed rock being spun between the hands to bore a hole through another material. This led to the hand drill, a smooth stick, that was sometimes attached to the flint point and was rubbed between the palms. This was used by many ancient civilizations around the world including the Mayans. The earliest perforated artifacts, such as bone, ivory, shells, and antlers found, are from the Upper Paleolithic era.

The Modern Drill Era

Fast-forward to the recent era, in 1895, the first portable handheld drill was created by brothers Wilhem & Carl Fein of Stuttgart, Germany. In 1917 the first trigger-switch and pistol-grip portable drill was patented by Black & Decker. This was the start of the modern drill era. Over the last century, the electric drill has been created in various types and multiple sizes for an assortment of specific uses.

Common Uses of Drills

Drills are commonly used in woodworking, metalworking, construction, machine tool fabrication, construction, and utility projects. Specially designed versions are made for miniature applications.


From the rudimentary rotary tools of ancient civilizations to the advanced cordless drills of today, the evolution of drills showcases humanity's constant pursuit of efficiency and innovation. Understanding this history not only gives us an appreciation of the tool's significance but also inspires us to continually seek advancements in all technology areas.

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