Eifel Geared Plierench
Text: Jerry Blanchard • Photo: Mike Blanchard
Gear | Dr. Maurice Hasler was the physicist president of Applied Research Labs in Los Angeles that made the world's finest spectrographic analysis instruments starting in the early 1940's. He supplied his employees, including my father, with the best in machines and tools. One of those tools is the Eifel Geared Plierench. Patented in 1916, the Eifel Geared Plierench made by The American Plierench Corporation in Chicago was made through 1966. They made them in 7 inch and 8-1/2 inch sizes and the larger size is more common. I grew up using Dad's pliers and found the design excellent.
They are forged from chrome molybdenum steel and well heat treated. The jaws remain parallel, and the strength of the tool allows it to function as a wrench. They made several types of interchangeable jaws: pipe jaws, pipe cutter, round nose, etc. Kits were common with three different jaws and the pliers all packed in the soft pouch. The pliers incorporate a wire cutter and screwdriver.
I own two of the pliers now, one made in 1942 and the other in 1948. Pliers made after 1933 are usually stamped with the year and month of manufacture, as you can see in the photo.
Though no longer made, many of them show up on eBay at reasonable prices. The manufacturer stamped the price of the tool into the steel before heat treating: $5 in 1942, and $6 in 1948.
The German company, Knipex, makes excellent tools, including two sizes of parallel jaw pliers that work on the same basic principle as the Eifel Geared Pliers. They are expensive but very well made and worth the money.