The electric drill is a modern invention, the idea for which was based on a tool first believed to be used by the Egyptians. Drills are used in many applications and industries to bore holes in various hard materials such as wood, rock, metal, bone or teeth.
According to archeologist Sir Flinders Petrie, the Egyptians used copper tubular drills driven by a wood shaft and rotated by a bow-string that were powered by hand, water wheel or windmills. Empirical evidence exhibits the results of drill work; however, an actual specimen has not been discovered.
Varieties of hand-powered drills, such as the brace and bit, gimlet, eggbeater drill and push drill, have been used since the 1400s. Each tool built upon the previous one to increase ease of use, performance or enhanced design.
The first electric drill was designed by an Australian man, Arthur James Arnot, with the intent to drill rock. His invention was patented on August 20, 1889.
A German engineer, Wilhelm Fein, invented the portable electric drill in 1894. This was a hand-held device, accounting for its portability. However, the portability was limited to the power cord length.
In 1961, the first cordless drill was introduced. Cordless drills have rechargeable batteries. They increased productivity, versatility and work quality. Updates to the modern day drill include the trigger controlling the bit rotation speed, ergonomic designs and battery packs that provide extended life.