Irwin Industrial Tools

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Irwin Industrial Tools
Subsidiary of Newell Brands
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1885 in Martinsville, Ohio
Founder Charles Irwin
Headquarters Huntersville, NC
Key people
Charles Irwin, William Petersen
Products Hand tools
Previous logo

Irwin Industrial Tools is an American manufacturer and distributor of hand tools and power tool accessories. It is a subsidiary of Newell Brands. It is best known for producing Vise-Grip locking pliers. Additionally, it produces clamps, drill bits, taps and dies, screw extractors, bolt extractors, saw blades, pipe wrenches, screwdrivers, snips, and other construction tools.[1]


Irwin was founded in 1885 in Martinsville, Ohio as the Irwin Auger Bit Company by Charles Irwin, a pharmacist. Irwin had bought the rights to a solid-center auger bit from a local blacksmith.[2]

In 1924, another blacksmith, Danish immigrant William Petersen of DeWitt, Nebraska, invented the first locking pliers[3] and named them Vise-Grips.[4] In 1934, Petersen formed the Petersen Manufacturing Company to produce them.[5] In 1957, Petersen added an easy-release trigger to the design, creating the modern locking pliers design.[6]

In 1985, the Petersen family American Tool Companies and bought out Petersen Manufacturing.[clarification needed] In 1993, American acquired the Irwin Tool Company, and in 2002, Newell Rubbermaid acquired American. In 2003, the company officially changed its name to Irwin Industrial Tool Company.[7]

In 2008, Irwin announced the closing of its DeWitt, Nebraska plant, ending 80 years of American production for Vise-Grips, citing a necessity to move production to China "to keep the Vise-Grip name competitive."[8]

In 2010, Irwin closed the customer service office in Wilmington, OH and moved the customer service department to Huntersville, NC.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Irwin Industrial Tools. "About Us". Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  2. ^ US 361522 
  3. ^ US 1489458 
  4. ^ Frechette, Leon. "75th anniversary of the Vise-Grip locking pliers". Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  5. ^ Nebraska State Historical Society (2003-04-02). "Made in Nebraska Exhibit, Petersen Manufacturing". Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  6. ^ US 2838973 
  7. ^ Irwin Industrial Tools. "History". Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  8. ^ "Workers sorry Vise-Grip plant moving to China". The Associated Press. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 

External links[edit]