William Petersen was granted a basic patent on the vice-grips in 1924, and he sold his invention from the trunk of his car in neighboring towns and farms.
The first evolution of the grips had the adjusting screw, but it took several more before the grips became a locking grips. By the mid 1930s Mr Petersen and his whole family were working for the company.
He established the Petersen Manufacturing Company in 1934 and first plant opens in 38 in DeWitt, Nebraska.
The Vice-grips was a staple tool in every truck and on every farm and eventually in every home. Tools were sent to the UK to help with aircraft manufacturing and ship building during the war years.
By 1941 Peterson's Vice-grips patent had run out, but they got busy improving their product and expanded the range. In 1948, larger jawed grips and in 1951 the locking C grips hit the stores.
The final evolution came in 57 when the whole range got the quick release trigger we're familiar with today and the curved jaw vice-grips made its debut.
In 1985 the Petersen family formed a company called American Tool Company and bought out Petersen Manufacturing, then in 1993 the American Tool Company buys the Irwin Tool Company, an old and well respected power tool manufacturer.
Today Irwin Tools, based in Huntersville, North Carolina manufacture and manage the Vice-grips brand together with several other well known tool brands. Irwin Tools are owned by the Stanley Black & Decker Inc.