Robertson was born in 1879. His family of six had a farm in Seneca Township. His father died in the Yukon Gold Rush. Peter was a handyman but eventually got a job as a salesman for a Philadelphia tool company. His district was Eastern Canada.
One day, he was demonstrating a single slot screw driver when it slipped and cut his hand. This prompted him to work on a non-slip driver and screw and he was successful. However, he was unable to manufacture his invention in either Britain or the USA because his design was hard to produce. He decided to produce it himself and devised an ingenious way to punch a square into cold metal. He set up his own efficient factory in Hamilton called "PL Robertson Manufacturing" in 1907. In 1908, he moved the factory to Milton. In 1909, he patented his screw driver and screw.
One of his first customers was Henry Ford. He was producing cars on an assembly line and time meant money. The Model T car used over 700 screws and this new screwdriver saved him over two hours per car to build because it didn't slip. Ford wanted an exclusive license for use and manufacture of the screw and driver in the USA, but Robertson turned him down because it was not in his best interests.
Ford found another screw and driver inventor in the USA whose product was not as good but had no reservations about the deal. His name was Henry Phillips who invented the "star" shaped screw and driver. The USA does not sell Robertson screws and drivers.
At one time Robertson shipped 20 tons of screws to England. His screw and driver is most popular in Canada where it is used extensively in the boat building industry. It doesn't slip and damage the boat material and it can be used with one hand. It is also easier to remove and replace after weathering.