By Mary Bellis
Return to The History of Hardware Tools
Pliers (plyers) are a hand operated tool used mostly for holding and gripping objects. You might use a pair of pliers to grip a plumbing pipe and loosen it. Pliers are also used for bending (round-nose pliers) and cutting wire (pliers with jaws that can cut soft wire and nails.) Diagonal cutting pliers are used for cutting wire and small pins in areas that cannot be reached by larger cutting tools. Adjustable slip-joint pliers have grooved jaws, and the pivot hole in one member is elongated so that the member can pivot in either of two positions in order to grasp objects of different sizes.
Simple pliers are an ancient invention - no one inventor can be named. With the first use fire for cooking and warmth, mankind had the problem of handling hot coals and other objects. We used sticks and wooden tongs at first, bronze tongs (early pliers) replaced wooden ones around 3000 BC.
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