The way things are named in English- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The way things are named in English

    Not being from an English speaking culture, I'm sometimes baffled by the way some things are named in English.

    First, there's naming things according to the guy who invented it: allen key, phillips screwdriver ... hoover. While this is not a totally foreign concept to me, it doesn't say much about what "it" is.

    Second, there's naming it by a technical principle. What is a "vacuum cleaner"? Does it clean vacuums? To me it makes more sense to name the thing according to what it does, like the Finnish "pölynimuri", Swedish "dammsugare", Danish and Norwegian"støvsuger", or German "Staubsauger"; literally: "dustsucker". It does, after all, suck dust...

    Why not name things according to what they do?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Omfg go clean your bike or something. You're obviously bored and/or drunk.

    Vacuum cleaner accurately describes the method it uses to clean - by creating a vacuum. Doy.

    A floor mop is called that because it mops floors.

    Trust me, the fact that billions of English speaking people understand what these items do means they named it appropriately.

    According to your insanity, the bicycle was improperly named. What? You think it should be called a People Peddle or a Wheelie Rollie??

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    Quote Originally Posted by sumgai View Post
    Vacuum cleaner accurately describes the method it uses to clean - by creating a vacuum. Doy.
    My point exactly: it clearly describes the method. It does not describe what it does.

    ... and I do understand it, because it was taught to me at school

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    vacuum cleaners use a fan to create a sub-atmospheric pressure (vacuum), the higher-pressure air outside of the vacuum cleaner pushes it self into the vacuum cleaner, and carries debris with it (cleans)

    so its a cleaner that uses vacuum. dust sucker is actually incorrect, vacuum isn't actually sucking debris, the air that is trying to equalize it self is pushing the debris.

    youtube.com/watch?v=zwdo-2gOTyM


    that video is also a good example of even european concepts being named after their creator/ discoverer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    My point exactly: it clearly describes the method. It does not describe what it does.

    ... and I do understand it, because it was taught to me at school
    Ok so you are admitting then that this thread is a cleverly disguised post whore plot. There's no other reason to even discuss this.

    You do realize there is a beer forum for alchies like yourself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sumgai View Post
    Ok so you are admitting then that this thread is a cleverly disguised post whore plot. There's no other reason to even discuss this.

    You do realize there is a beer forum for alchies like yourself?
    This thread serves a good purpose of upping my noob post count so I can post pics and links when need be

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    vacuum cleaners use a fan to create a sub-atmospheric pressure (vacuum), the higher-pressure air outside of the vacuum cleaner pushes it self into the vacuum cleaner, and carries debris with it (cleans)
    Totally interesting to an engineer

    But what use is it to a person trying to figure out how to get the dust and dog hairs off the floor

    .-.-.-.-.

    I don't need more posts but this is a matter that occasionally pops into my head when I have nothing important to do. I was hoping someone could explain the preference in naming to me, or show proof that the preference does not exist.

    ... Who are these Allen and Phillips guys anyway? I can never remember which kind of wrenches they invented.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    like axe murderer? one does not murder axes, do they?
    fap

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    Dog sitter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Totally interesting to an engineer

    But what use is it to a person trying to figure out how to get the dust and dog hairs off the floor

    .-.-.-.-.

    I don't need more posts but this is a matter that occasionally pops into my head when I have nothing important to do. I was hoping someone could explain the preference in naming to me, or show proof that the preference does not exist.

    ... Who are these Allen and Phillips guys anyway? I can never remember which kind of wrenches they invented.
    well an engineer made the vacuum cleaner so it probably made sense for them to name it what they did.

    take the universal serial bus for example, wtf does that mean? doesnt matter, its common place now. the engineer probably thought it was genius. or a planetary nebula, planets arent at all created there, but the name is still there and commonly known and accepted.

    allen wrenches are pretty cool, they were created as the opposite of a standard bolt/socket. when you have a bolt and it breaks, you have to drill and tap the bolt, when you have an allen wrench and allen bolt, the tool is the weaker link and its easier to drill the tool tip out instead of the entire bolt.

    tons of things get named after whatever the person that makes or discovers them decides to name them. the number "google" found its name because the person that came up with the number asked their kid what to call the number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Dog sitter?
    baby sitter

    running shoe

    i guess running shoe makes sense because it describes what its for

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    My point exactly: it clearly describes the method. It does not describe what it does.

    ... and I do understand it, because it was taught to me at school
    Actually, it describes exactly what it does better than "dust sucker" since a vacuum cleaner will clean more than just dust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    allen wrenches are pretty cool, they were created as the opposite of a standard bolt/socket. when you have a bolt and it breaks, you have to drill and tap the bolt, when you have an allen wrench and allen bolt, the tool is the weaker link and its easier to drill the tool tip out instead of the entire bolt.
    Sooo, when I go to a hardware store that only tags everything with a price tag, how do I tell an allen wrench from a phillips wrench?

    ... or from a chisel tip screwdriver, cross tip screwdriver, spanner, or a hex wrench?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by zyzbot View Post
    Actually, it describes exactly what it does better than "dust sucker" since a vacuum cleaner will clean more than just dust.
    Nonono. You are missing the point

    "Vacuum cleaner" describes how it does, whatever it does. "Dust sucker" at least gives you some idea that it might be useful for removing things that people consider dirt.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    This thread is doomed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Sooo, when I go to a hardware store that only tags everything with a price tag, how do I tell an allen wrench from a phillips wrench?

    ... or from a chisel tip screwdriver, cross tip screwdriver, spanner, or a hex wrench?
    do you go to the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken legs, and need the label to figure out if they are actually a sirloin steak or a pack of pork sausage?

    no, you know what a pack of chicken looks like. when i go to the hardware store, i know what tools look like.

    can you tell the difference between a road bike and a mountain bike? or do you need labeling for that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    can you tell the difference between a road bike and a mountain bike? or do you need labeling for that?
    Nope, but I cannot remember which kind of a wrench Phillips invented.

    The name Phillips does little to decribe his invention.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Nope, but I cannot remember which kind of a wrench Phillips invented.

    The name Phillips does little to decribe his invention.
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Allen%20wrench

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    like axe murderer? one does not murder axes, do they?
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    "Dust sucker" sounds like a term we would call an old haggled street hooker......

    "vacuum cleaner" = cleans via vacuum. It doesn't matter what it is "cleaning" I know it cleans things which is what I want to do. To me that describes both how and what, vacuum is the how cleaning is the what. When I clean, I am not just cleaning dust.

    I don't want something that just sucks dust I want it to clean, hence vacuum cleaner. Dust busters are what you describe to me with dust sucker as that was about all they did, not much cleaning happening there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Nope, but I cannot remember which kind of a wrench Phillips invented.

    The name Phillips does little to decribe his invention.
    it doesnt need to describe the invention though. if you had invented everything, you could have named everything whatever you wanted. you didnt, so youll have to reinvent everything, or call things what they are commonly known as.

    if you relied on names of objects to tell you what they did, you could end up with your foot trapped in a box because it was called a foot locker, and you would cause traffic jams by parking on parkways.

    a helmet doesnt describe the invention... i know theres a good joke in there somewhere about you not using one because its not called a noggin protector...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    Oh allen wrench is the same thing as a hex key. What about this Phillips guy?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Oh allen wrench is the same thing as a hex key. What about this Phillips guy?
    The Phillips screwdriver is a driver for the Phillips screw design, how much more do you want the invention to describe the purpose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    if you relied on names of objects to tell you what they did,
    Sometimes descriptive names seem to be used too, with pretty good success. If you know what a "boot" is, you'll probably be able to deduct what to expect from a "rubber boot" or a "hiking boot".

    I think wellingtons are some sort of boots too but that may be English English.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    The Phillips screwdriver is a driver for the Phillips screw design, how much more do you want the invention to describe the purpose?
    I see. What sort of a screw did Phillips invent?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Wellington is some kind of high fhalootin beef dish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Sometimes descriptive names seem to be used too, with pretty good success. If you know what a "boot" is, you'll probably be able to deduct what to expect from a "rubber boot" or a "hiking boot".

    I think wellingtons are some sort of boots too but that may be English English.
    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I see. What sort of a screw did Phillips invent?
    descriptive only to people that know what the original item is. in your boot examples, if someone doesnt know what a boot is, then they wont know what a hiking boot, rubber boot, combat boot, or boot of a car is.

    just like how you dont know what a phillips screw is, now you cant figure out what a phillips screw driver is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Nonono. You are missing the point

    "Vacuum cleaner" describes how it does, whatever it does. "Dust sucker" at least gives you some idea that it might be useful for removing things that people consider dirt.
    In way this guy is right. Quote fivefivesix "vacuum cleaners use a fan to create a sub-atmospheric pressure (vacuum)." If that's the criteria, then the engine on your car is just a big vacuum too. in fact, the diesel engine (wait, isn't that named after a European man???) is actually a MUCH more effective "vacuum" than the one you use to transfer dirt from you floor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLNC View Post
    In way this guy is right. Quote fivefivesix "vacuum cleaners use a fan to create a sub-atmospheric pressure (vacuum)." If that's the criteria, then the engine on your car is just a big vacuum too. in fact, the diesel engine (wait, isn't that named after a European man???) is actually a MUCH more effective "vacuum" than the one you use to transfer dirt from you floor.
    Internal combustion engines do create vacuum, thats how they used to draw fuel and air into the cylinders.

    They are still a relatively crappy vacuum though.

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KIUw2HRu7Fg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    Internal combustion engines do create vacuum, thats how they used to draw fuel and air into the cylinders.

    They are still a relatively crappy vacuum though.
    Petrol - gas engines are, because they limit the air with a throttle valve. Diesel's that nix the throttle plate create a huge vacuum. Ever seen a diesel "run away?" I saw one do it, and it sucked a bunch of rags into the air cleaner from about 18 inches away.

    Actually two, but it wasn't a real "run away" as the idiot other mechanic thought it would be a smart idea to clean the air filter with brake cleaner before he started the engine. I'm not quite sure how he's still working with us, but....
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    descriptive only to people that know what the original item is. in your boot examples, if someone doesnt know what a boot is, then they wont know what a hiking boot, rubber boot, combat boot, or boot of a car is.

    just like how you dont know what a phillips screw is, now you cant figure out what a phillips screw driver is.
    "boot" and "screw" are pretty basic words and most likely learned early on. Now, I know what a screw is. I'm still resisting the temptetion to look up whether the one invented by Phillips has any special features, other than his name.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by XLNC View Post
    Petrol - gas engines are, because they limit the air with a throttle valve. Diesel's that nix the throttle plate create a huge vacuum. Ever seen a diesel "run away?" I saw one do it, and it sucked a bunch of rags into the air cleaner from about 18 inches away.

    Actually two, but it wasn't a real "run away" as the idiot other mechanic thought it would be a smart idea to clean the air filter with brake cleaner before he started the engine. I'm not quite sure how he's still working with us, but....
    yeah, someone forgot to disconnect the battery of a pretty large diesel engine and they removed the oil cooler, the truck started and shot oil about 20' in the air.

    the vacuums at work get down to about 3militorr, which is much much more than any internal combustion engine could ever get near, and even 3MT is still crappy compared to what vacuums in labs at places like stanford can do, and those vacuums are pretty crappy compared to space, which still isnt a perfect vacuum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    "boot" and "screw" are pretty basic words and most likely learned early on. Now, I know what a screw is. I'm still resisting the temptetion to look up whether the one invented by Phillips has any special features, other than his name.
    it provided a much better contact area, allowing more torque to be applied, and minimizing stripping of the screw head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    it provided a much better contact area, allowing more torque to be applied, and minimizing stripping of the screw head.
    Pretty good. Sounds like it would look different from the kind that was used before.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Now I am going to a bar and order a phillips screwdriver -- that is vodka and milk of magnesia:-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by XLNC View Post
    Petrol - gas engines are, because they limit the air with a throttle valve.
    You mean Otto Cycle engines. Right?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Not being from an English speaking culture, I'm sometimes baffled by the way some things are named in English.

    First, there's naming things according to the guy who invented it: allen key, phillips screwdriver ... hoover. While this is not a totally foreign concept to me, it doesn't say much about what "it" is.

    Second, there's naming it by a technical principle. What is a "vacuum cleaner"? Does it clean vacuums? To me it makes more sense to name the thing according to what it does, like the Finnish "pölynimuri", Swedish "dammsugare", Danish and Norwegian"støvsuger", or German "Staubsauger"; literally: "dustsucker". It does, after all, suck dust...

    Why not name things according to what they do?
    Having read this (and further through the thread), I fully understand what you're saying, but.....
    Having moved from Australia to Switzerland and thus learning German/Swiss German, I see it from the other way around

    for eg: I dont want a dustsucker (Staubsauger) I want something that uses a vacuum to clean everything (welcome to different ways of thinking about something)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmg71 View Post
    for eg: I dont want a dustsucker (Staubsauger) I want something that uses a vacuum to clean everything (welcome to different ways of thinking about something)
    I suppose ... for a bit over a decade, a big part of my job has been to translate what an engineer says about something - how it works, what components it uses, what bits go which way to synchronize theezees and thatzees... - into something that tells a non-technical person what "it" does and how to make "it" work.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I suppose ... for a bit over a decade, a big part of my job has been to translate what an engineer says about something - how it works, what components it uses, what bits go which way to synchronize theezees and thatzees... - into something that tells a non-technical person what "it" does and how to make "it" work.
    a big problem with English is that it borrows from all sorts of different languages. Some words originate from the Latin or Greek directly. Many come from the Old English. But many words come to English use indirectly, and are then modified.

    why do you drive on a parkway, but park in a driveway? one of the classics in the English language.

    but there's a lot of regional variation, too. where I live now, a "shopping cart" is a "buggy". To me, a "buggy" is a word for an old-fashioned baby stroller. it drives me nuts when people call the television remote control a "clicker". some folks call the vacuum cleaner a "sweeper". there's this stuff all over the US, and when comparing the US to other English-speaking countries (and those countries to each other).

    The same thing happens in the Spanish language, too. it's so widespread that there are a multitude of regional variations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    like axe murderer? one does not murder axes, do one?
    fify

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    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    it provided a much better contact area, allowing more torque to be applied, and minimizing stripping of the screw head.
    i thought so too, but it turns out they were build so that the bit actually cams up out of the screwhead. which explains why they are such a pain to remove sometimes.
    "By design, Torx head screws resist cam-out better than Phillips head or slot head screws. Where Phillips heads were designed to cause the driver to cam out, to prevent over-tightening, Torx heads were designed to prevent cam-out."
    Torx - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    is that wack or what?

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    That is whack, A good screw driver that's well fitted to the screw holds pretty damn well

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    It's not just English. Every language does it. In Spanish they call a roller-coaster a "russian mountain" and an ironing board a "donkey".

    Quote Originally Posted by fivefivesix View Post
    That is whack, A good screw driver that's well fitted to the screw holds pretty well
    ya, it's just the ones that are too shallow that get sketchy. But, give me a torx any day over a phillips.

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    What about Kleenex...

    Or a Jacuzzi?

    Or a Cresent wrench?

    Why are diagonal cutters called Dykes?


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    Kleenex...
    Some silly marketing type's idea of a brand name.

    Jacuzzi?
    The Jacuzzi brothers invented it

    Cresent wrench?
    The Crescent Tool Company designed an adjustable wrench. It seems that the Bahco design is the most successful one in adjustable wrenches, though. ... You could find a crescent shape in a crescent wrench...

    Why are diagonal cutters called Dykes?
    "Diagonal CutterS" (pronounced "dikes") – as in the phrase "a pair of dikes" or "hand me those dikes" – is jargon used especially in the electrical industry

    I'll give you literal translations for those, from my native language:

    nose towel
    bubble bath
    split wrench
    side cutters

    OK, then ... what did people used to do with Mono shoes?

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  47. #47
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    Does anybody else feel this thread is a poorly written Gallagher routine? At least he had why do we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway.

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uWN9rTc08GU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Or that terrible Will Smith movie Wild West where all the objects were named for what the intended purpose was?

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    I suppose it is in many ways more important to remember who had a hand in getting something into production, than what that thing does


    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I suppose it is in many ways more important to remember who had a hand in getting something into production, than what that thing does

    like who first came up with m*Fer?! i know what it does but who put it into production?

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    One must also consider the joy of using terms that others have little chance of figuring out, unless they are "insiders".

    Great for developing a sense of Us vs. Them, where Us > Them.


    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  51. #51
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    Splitting hairs are we? Phillip's Screwdrivers are drivers intentionally designed to install and remove Phillip's head screws. Phillip's head screws are basically cross point head screws that were modified to resist over torquing. A cross point is just basic, its a cross slotted head type. A standard screwdriver doesnt tell you much either other, which is why some refer to them as flat tip. Torx head bolts are designed in order to resist cam out to increase torque. Allen keys are very similar to torques but are octogonal or hexagonal in shape instead of a "pointed star" pattern.


    And actually in this day and age in halfway intuitive person with a computer has this information at their finger tips.

    2010 Giant Yukon FX
    Pure XCR Wheelset/Geax Saguaro Tires/Tubeless
    Bike Weight Lost: 2.48lbs (1124g)

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