Vise-Grip Manufacturing Plant Closes after 70 Years

photo: Shannon Patrick
Toolcrib has the scoop on Vise-Grip which was recently sold to American tool manufacturer Nail Jack Tools.
They plan on moving Vise-Grip manufacturing to China which may effectively close the long running plant in Dewitt, Nebraska.

Here’s some history on the plant.
The Vise-Grip is an iconic American tool, part of the fabric of our tool-using culture. Vise-Grip began in 1921 when Danish immigrant William Petersen patented the locking pliers he invented in his Nebraska blacksmith shop. For many years he sold his Vise-Grips out of the trunk of his car to local mechanics and farmers. Demand grew despite the economic pressures of The Great Depression. In 1938 Petersen opened the first official manufacturing plant in downtown DeWitt, Nebraska with a staff of 37.
– [via Toolcrib]
And on Oct. 31st, 2008 the plant closed.

For 70 years, manufacturing Vise-Grips has been the economic core of the village of Dewitt. Over the years, it has provided solid jobs for thousands of small-town workers. But global competition has taken over the Vise-Grip plant.
To employees Vise-Grip plant was more than a factory. It was more than a workplace. It was a home for workers like David Kujath who considered his coworkers family.
“It’s pretty tough,” Kujath said. “It’s not easy. You’ve been here all your life. So, you live on.”
Kujath worked for Vise-Grip for 33 years. He retired in June after rumors of the plant’s closing began to circulate.
On Halloween evening the plant will go quiet when the factory closes it doors in Dewitt.

– [via KOLKNGIN]
These stories are painful but with the current state of our economy I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of American institutions losing ground.

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
Timothy Dahl

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