Skip to content
Who Invented Pliers?

Who Invented Pliers?

Like many other tools, the origin of pliers is shrouded and lost in the mists of the past. It’s literally a tool so old and commonly used that no one knows who invented it. It’s widely believed that the first pliers appeared sometime in the Bronze Age and entered common use in the form we recognize by the time of the Roman Empire. The first pliers were thought to have been used basically as tongs or pincers during smelting metal and have evolved and changed from there to suit a variety of jobs from minute detail work like jewelry to more brute force tasks like gripping and turning. As jobs continue to change and evolve, so too do the tools.

Knipex alligator and cobra pliers
Probably the most basic pliers are the slip-joint, the flat-nose pliers and the lineman’s pliers, all of which are primarily used for gripping. To the average person, the lines between these types of pliers may be somewhat blurred. Slip-jointed pliers are primarily used for basic gripping to get a stronger hold. You can also use them to hold something tight while you use another tool to loosen or tighten something. The key feature for a slip-joint pliers is that you can change or “slip” the joint to open the jaws wider or narrow them down to grip something larger or smaller respectively. Lineman’s pliers are of course used by Linemen to do electrical work with. Linemen originally worked on the cables for telegraph lines and needed the tool for gripping and cutting cables and wires, today, the same tool is used for the same purpose with electrical and other cables. The lineman’s pliers was pivotal in helping establish Klein Tools as a solid brand. Lastly, the combination pliers have some of the same features as a lineman’s pliers, with the addition of a gap for crimping.

Needle nose pliers
Another style of pliers that are popular are the water pump style of pliers which are commonly used with nuts and bolts, pipes and really anything that might need a strong grip. Typically, the jaws are set at about a 45 degree angle from the handle and the jaws are somewhat serrated for maximum grip. Knipex’s Cobra and their Alligator brand pliers are alternate designs of water pump pliers that each have their own advantages. The Alligators are slightly more comfortable than similar pliers and have more output, but otherwise they’re very much like standard water pump/tongue-and-groove pliers. The Cobras, on the other hand, really upped the game of a standard water pump pliers. With the Cobra, you just put the upper jaw where it needs to go, push the button and close the lower jaw. It pretty much eliminates the need for test adjustments. Knipex outdid their own tools with the Cobra.

The needle nose pliers is perhaps the last major innovation to mention in regards to pliers. The thin nose obviously makes it essential for holding smaller things, making it great for work in small electrics and jewelry making. Needle noses are often found with curves, like in the Gedore 8352 and the Aven 10953. Many also come ESD safe like the Wiha 32746 as well. This style certainly makes it a great compliment to any tool kit.

Pliers were certainly a major innovation in the world of tools and since their inception thousands of years ago and they have undergone many changes since then to take on the many jobs in the ever changing world. Be sure to get your hands on your favorite brand and make sure to leave us product reviews for your favorites and tell us about your favorite hammer on Facebook or Instagram!

Previous article A History of Circuit Breakers and Working on them Today

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields