Vise-Grip is an iconic name in Nebraska, one of the most famous products invented or developed in the state, along with Kool-Aid, raisin bran, and the Reuben sandwich.
The locking pliers have been manufactured in DeWitt for more than 80 years. DeWitt blacksmith and Danish immigrant William Petersen got a patent for the device in 1924.
American Tool sold out in 2002 to Newell Rubbermaid, a minority owner since 1985. Since then, the DeWitt plant has operated under the name of Irwin Industrial Tools, a company American Tool bought in 1993.
Oden said employees were told that "to keep the Vise-Grip name competitive, they had to move to China."