Everything You Need to Know About Irwin Tools

Irwin Tools History

The Irwin Tools, blue and yellow that you know today, has a long history of end-user obsession and innovation that dates back to 1828 with the Marples® Chisel brand.  On the other hand, most users associate Irwin Tool’s history with the Irwin auger bit that was invented in 1884 and then given to Charles Irwin as a form of payment for debt at his pharmacy.  In 1885, Charles Irwin patented the bit and formed the Irwin Auger Bit Company with 4 other partners.

Fast forward 100+ years through many tool company acquisitions and mergers, and you end at the present day with blue and yellow Irwin tools.  Moreover, the 20th-century tradesmen would see their field needs (and maybe even a few prayers) answered with the invention of the Irwin products like Taps and Dies, Vise-Grip® Locking PliersWood Boring Bitsstep drill bitschalk reels, and clamps.

What is Irwin Best Known For?

We are best known for the Vise-Grip locking pliers. I have not met a tradesman on a job site without one on their belt or in their bag.

Who are Irwin’s Customers?

We focus on the everyday, hardworking tradesmen and women who were in our homes, fixing our cars and keeping the water running through our homes and businesses. We constantly strive to create hand tools and power tool accessories that extend the capabilities of tradesmen and women worldwide.

Where are Irwin Tools Made?

We manufacture here in the U.S. and throughout the world.

What is Irwin’s Warranty Policy?

Each Irwin hand tool is warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the tool under normal wear and tear, except for damage caused by misuse or alteration. Return the tool to the place of purchase for replacement if a warranty applies. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, which vary from state to state.

Do you have a favorite Irwin Tool? Please let us know by commenting below or sharing a picture on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest using #DoYourBestWork.


  • Norm Miller

    May 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Unfortunately, I have noticed that when a tried and true, favorite tool that I’ve trusted for years gets the “blue & yellow” treatment, it is less than it’s predecessors. I have several of the older vice grips, that once set to clamping depth, stay set. I have two of the newer Irwin’s, that have to be re-tightened after a few uses. Those Marple’s chisels that now carry the Irwin name? Softer steel and less time between sharpening. And don’t get me started on the no-thread needed pipe clamps that slip just when it’s where you need it! It seems to me a common thread that the more brands a company acquires, the the more corners are cut and quality is sacrificed.

    • D L Schneider

      April 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Norm Miller, spot on. I used to have one of every size of the original Vise Grips Petersen Mfg. DeWitt, NE, multiple of several! Still have a few of the originals and they still work great. Much better then the replacements I bought. When I thought there was a free supply chain I gave them away to family and friends. When I no longer dated Christian Petersen’s daughter the supply chain dried up LOL. I have physically been inside the old blacksmith shop in the picture and knew some of the family that closed the doors on DeWitt plant 🙁 ! But they were pretty good people overall just bowed to the pressure to compete. There was some awesome cool history in the business. There was even a car they built for one of the family members to race many years ago at Indy but they didn’t qualify. It was in one of their old warehouses with some other really cool antiques. I do not think it is right they bowed to the pressure to decrease quality! Sad for sure. But I love old history of small towns and this was pretty cool. Feel blessed to have grown up in the area and have known the family. Bill ended up as CEO of Irwin at one point and I think his Dad Christian was too, early on.

  • Scott

    June 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Love my 25′ Irwin tape measure! The belt clip with the thumb press is awesome and probably the reason why I like this tape a lot. Stand out could be better and a magnetic tip would be nice too. Overall a great tape measure!

  • Gerald

    November 11, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    I still use the 6 vise grips I bought 50 years ago – 2 each of 3 sizes – and thay’re as good as new. I used them for 30 years in the sheet metal industry – evrything made of metal and a lot of ductwork. I also have a couple of vise grip clamps that were great for holding a 3 foot length of ductwork to an already hung piece. All of the products made back then were superior and perfectly explain their long lasting durability and usefulness. As such, I haven’t had the need for any replacement for the past 50 years.


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