Archive for Monday, December 3, 2012


Fix-It Chick: Hardware eponyms

December 3, 2012


Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue, but the word “Kleenex” is often used to reference all types of facial tissue.

The use of a brand name in place of the product description is common in the hardware industry. Here are a few proprietary eponyms you may or may not know:

Eponym 1: Vise Grips are locking pliers used in place of standard pliers when more torque or grip is required for the job. The adjustment screw in the base of the handle allows the pliers to be preset to a specific size, and the lever lock allows for repeated gripping and releasing of various objects.

Eponym 2: Crescent Wrench usually refers to an adjustable wrench. The adjustment screw is located at the base of the jaws. Adjustable wrenches are an alternative to open-end box wrenches.

Eponym 3: Channellock typically refers to groove joint pliers. Groove joint pliers come in many different sizes and are often used in plumbing applications to remove large pipe fittings.

Eponym 4: Jorgenson Clamp often refers to a wooden handscrew used in woodworking applications. These clamps are noted for their unique wood jaws and their ability to provide greater distribution of pressure.

Eponym 5: A Sawzall is a reciprocating saw manufactured by the Milwaukee Tool Company, but “Sawzall” is often used to refer to any brand of reciprocating saw.

Eponym 6: Dremel tools are popular rotary tools used for small jobs and precision work. Although several other manufacturers make similar rotary tools, the word Dremel is often used in reference to any brand of rotary tool.

Eponym 7: Shop Vacs are wet/dry vacuums used to suck up water, sawdust and work-site debris.

Eponym 8: Weed Eaters are string trimmers, both gas and electric, and the brand name is sometimes used to refer to blade-type trimmers as well.

Eponym 9: Sharkbite fittings are brass and plastic push-on plumbing fittings used on copper, PVC and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing. These fittings revolutionized the plumbing industry with their simple technology and multiple-application uses.

Eponym 10: Molly Bolts are expansion-type hollow wall anchors used to hang objects on wallboard. The term Molly Bolt sometimes also refers to toggle bolts, a stronger type of hollow wall anchor with butterfly-like winged nuts.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


George_Braziller 5 years, 5 months ago

I've never heard anyone refer to it as a Jorgenson Clamp. My dad was a carpenter and cabinet builder so I grew up around woodworking and still had to look on-line to see what one looked like.

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