A crowbar, also called a wrecking bar, pry bar or prybar, pinch-bar, or occasionally a prise bar or prisebar, colloquially gooseneck, or pig foot, or in Britain and Australia a jemmy or jimmy (also called jemmy bar), is a lever consisting of a metal bar with a single curved end and flattened points, used to force two objects apart or gain mechanical advantage in lifting; often the curved end has a notch for removing nails.
The design can be used as any of the three lever classes. The curved end is usually used as a first-class lever, and the flat end as a second-class lever.
Designs made from thick flat steel bar are often referred to as utility bars.
Materials and construction
Commonly crowbars are forged from long steel stock, either hexagonal or sometimes cylindrical. Alternative designs may be forged with a rounded I-shaped cross-section shaft. Versions using relatively wide flat steel bar are often referred to as "utility" or "flat bars".
Etymology and usage
The accepted etymology identifies the first component of the word crowbar with the bird-name "crow", perhaps due to the crowbar's resemblance to the feet or beak of a crow. The first use of the term is dated back to circa 1400. It was also called simply a crow, or iron crow; William Shakespeare used the latter, as in Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 2: "Get me an iron crow and bring it straight unto my cell."
Types of crowbar include:
- Alignment pry bar, also referred to as Sleeve bar
- Cat’s claw pry bar, more simply known as a cat's paw
- Digging pry bar
- Flat pry bar
- Gooseneck pry bar
- Heavy-duty pry bar
- Molding pry bar
- Rolling head pry bar
- Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 1989. pp. jimmy 1, n. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-861186-8.
- OED: crow-bar; crow, sense 5a
- AHD: crow Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
- Snopes: crowbar
- "No Fear Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet: Act 5 Scene 2". www.sparknotes.com.
- "What is a Pry Bar and What Are They Used For?".