Enjoy free shipping on all end-user orders

Call with questions:775-830-7114

The History of Electric Drills and Drill Bits

history of electric drillsIn construction, it’s hard to imagine a world where you could build anything without portable hand drills and drill bits. These tools have made some of the toughest jobs easier, and their invention dates back centuries, but not in the way we think of them now.

Drills in Ancient Times

Most machinery has been with us for hundreds of thousands of years. The drill is no exception. It is thought that cavemen created drill-like devices using strips of animal leather and wood to start fires for cooking and keeping warm. One of the first mechanical drill devices was the bore drill invented by the Egyptians sometime around 3000 BC. Following that was the auger drill in ancient Rome, which you can still find in use today. 

The Electric Drill May Seem Like a Modern Invention, but It’s Quite Old

concrete construction best practices

Fast forward to modern times and the development of the electric drill. The first one was invented in 1889 by two Australians, Arthur Arnot and William Bryan. They paired up an electric motor to a traditional drill design. It was a stationary drill that was too heavy to move from place to place. It had limited utility and could only be used in locations with ample electrical power.

Yet, the electric drill quickly gained attention in the working community where the need was incredible for such a tool. And in 1894, only five years later, the portable electric hand drill was invented. Contractors saw the potential, and many new innovations quickly followed.

In 1917, Black and Decker shocked the world with their revolutionary hand drill. It was the first design shaped like a gun with a finger-trigger switch and a handle like a gun. This design quickly gained popularity with contractors and many companies began developing attachments for these wonderful additions to construction.

The First Cordless Drill

cordless drill

Although Black and Decker invented the first cordless drill in 1961, it was not widely available or marketed. Because of this, many say Makita was responsible for the first cordless drill design in 1978. They were the first company to market their cordless drill to the construction community and general public.


Now cordless drills have become an essential tool for construction projects, big and small. They are widely available in different voltages and torque settings, with the ability to add specialized drill bits.

When Was the First Rotary Hammer (Hammer Drill) Invented?

The first rotary hammers were invented by the Bosch Corporation in the mid-20th century. The invention of this specialized tool has since revolutionized the construction industry as one of its most essential tools. Rotary hammers work by combining a hammering movement with a rotary movement to efficiently bore through concrete, masonry and other hard materials encountered during construction projects.

Today, hammer drills are a staple in any construction environment, due to their usefulness and convenience in completing difficult tasks with ease. Now, users can easily break through rock and cement with very minimal effort on their part. The invention of this specialized tool has since revolutionized the construction industry as one of its most essential tools.

When Was the First Drill Bit Invented?

Which came first, the drill or the drill bit?

Drill bits have been used for thousands of years, for various purposes such as creating fire, woodworking, and masonry applications. The earliest evidence of drill bits dates back to 35,000 BC, where a sharpened stick was used to make holes in soft materials. During ancient times, drill bits were made of flint, bone or bronze.


The modern drill bit, which is made of high-speed steel or carbide, was patented in the late 19th century and became widely used in the 20th century for drilling into hard materials such as metal or stone. Today, drill bits come in various sizes and are used in many industries including construction, mining and manufacturing.

Carbide-tipped drill bits were invented in the mid-20th century. The exact date is difficult to determine, but the use of carbide in cutting tools can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s. The innovation of carbide-tipped drill bits revolutionized drilling by providing a more durable and efficient alternative to traditional high-speed steel bits. The increased hardness and abrasion resistance of carbide allowed for faster and more accurate drilling, particularly in hard materials.

When Were Concrete Stop Drill Bits Invented?

The exact date of the invention of the concrete stop drill bit is not well documented, but they have been available on the market for several decades. Concrete stop drill bits are a type of stop drill bit designed specifically for drilling in concrete and other masonry materials. These bits feature a shoulder that limits the depth one can drill.

Concrete stop drill bits are commonly used in construction, masonry, and concrete work where precision and control are critical in drilling holes. They come in a range of sizes, usually designed for a specific task or function, such as setting concrete anchors to the correct depth.

concrete anchor setting tools

You can purchase concrete stop drill bits for drop-in anchors here

Set It FAST’s line of hammer stop drill bits come in different sizes and are designed to work with a rotary hammer and our drop-in anchor setting tools. You can also find our loved drop-in setting tool and stop hammer drill bit combo kits here.