Almost every day I use large jaw locking pliers. Actually, I own several styles but the large jaws get used the most. I just call them Vise Grips.
I decided to see what I could find about their history. Wikipedia gave a little information but I found another link which was more interesting. http://executiveedits.com/content/tag/gear/?currentPage=5 Scroll down until the image of the pliers appears.
I was surprised to learn they were invented by a blacksmith, William Petersen, less that 200 miles from where I live.