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Nebraska State Historical Society

Made in Nebraska logo Petersen Manufacturing

Of all Nebraska's exports, few if any are as widely known as the Vise-Grip wrench, first manufactured in DeWitt, Saline County. William Petersen, the inventor of the tool, came to this country from Denmark in 1901. He patented his first wrench in 1921, but the first Vise-Grip wrench with a locking handle was not patented until 1924. Through the years it has undergone many modifications. Renamed American Tool Companies after a leveraged buyout in the mid-1980s, Petersen's grandson, Allen Petersen, was named chairman and CEO. Newell Rubbermaid purchased American Tool Companies, Inc., and Vise-Grip wrenches are now made in China.

Vise-Grip

factory with wrenches in pile factory interior Petersen with wrench
William Petersen with wrench overseeing factory workers.


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http://www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/mnh/neb-made/visegrip.htm
Last updated 2 April 2003  

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