Irwin Industrial Tools
Company typeSubsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker[1]
Founded1885 in Martinsville, Ohio
FounderCharles Irwin
HeadquartersHuntersville, NC
Key people
Charles Irwin, William Petersen
ProductsHand tools
Previous logo

Irwin Industrial Tools is an American manufacturer and distributor of hand tools and power tool accessories. It is owned by Stanley Black & Decker. 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.[2]


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.[3]

In 1924, another blacksmith, Danish immigrant William Petersen of DeWitt, Nebraska, invented the first locking pliers[4] and named them Vise-Grips.[5] In 1934, Petersen formed the Petersen Manufacturing Company to produce them.[6] In 1957, Petersen added an easy-release trigger to the design, creating the modern locking pliers design.[7]

In 1985, American Tool Companies bought out Petersen Manufacturing.[clarification needed] In 1993, American acquired The Irwin Tool Company, and in 2002, Newell Rubbermaid acquired American. In 2003, American officially changed its name to Irwin Industrial Tool Company.[8]

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."[9]

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

In October 2016 Stanley Black & Decker Inc agreed to buy Newell Brands Inc.’s tools business for $1.95 billion. The acquisition was completed in March 2017.[1][10]


See also


  1. ^ a b Fortier, Christopher. "Stanley completes $1.95 billion Newell acquisition". New Britain Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  2. ^ Irwin Industrial Tools. "About Us". Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  3. ^ US 361522, Irwin, Charles H., "Auger-bit", published 1887-04-19 
  4. ^ US 1489458, Petersen, William, "Wrench", published 1924-04-08, assigned to Jules A. Sire & inventor 
  5. ^ Frechette, Leon. "75th anniversary of the Vise-Grip locking pliers". Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  6. ^ Nebraska State Historical Society (2003-04-02). "Made in Nebraska Exhibit, Petersen Manufacturing". Archived from the original on July 28, 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-25.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ US 2838973, Petersen, William, "Releasing means for self-locking plier type toggle wrench", published 1958-06-17 
  8. ^ Irwin Industrial Tools. "History". Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  9. ^ "Workers sorry Vise-Grip plant moving to China". The Associated Press. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  10. ^ "Stanley buys tool division of Atlanta company". New Britain Herald. October 12, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2022.