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Locking pliers
Small locking pliers holding a pencil

Locking pliers, Mole grips (Mole wrench) or Vise-Grips are pliers that can be locked into position, using an overcenter action. One side of the handle includes a bolt that is used to adjust the spacing of the jaws, the other side of the handle (especially in larger models) often includes a lever to push the two sides of the handles apart to unlock the pliers. "Mole" and "Vise-Grip" are trade names of different brands of locking pliers. The first locking pliers, named vise grips, were invented by William Petersen in DeWitt, Nebraska in 1924.[1] The Mole grips were invented by Thomas Coughtrie in 1955, then managing director of M. K. Mole and Son.[2]

Locking pliers are available in many different configurations, such as needle-nose locking pliers, locking wrenches, locking clamps and various shapes to fix metal parts for welding. They also come in many sizes. Leatherman manufactures a multitool which includes locking pliers instead of regular pliers, and which folds together to the size of a regular multitool.


The jaws are set to a size slightly smaller than the diameter of what is to be gripped by turning the bolt in one handle with the jaws closed. When the jaws are opened and the handles squeezed together, they move a lever over its center point and lock the jaw of the pliers onto the gripped object. A typical usage would be to hold metal parts in place for welding.


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