A Successful Internet Search for Sidecutting Pliers
This page describes how I sought and found a certain kind of pliers
via the Internet.
This is a minor example of one way to attempt an Internet search.
The pliers wanted are described on a
that I wrote for the purpose.
Since we still had one pair of pliers of the type we wanted,
that gave us several invaluable pieces of information:
- One manufacturer who had once made the pliers
(W. Schollhorn Co., New Haven, Conn.).
- A U.S. patent number (106495).
to convince people that such pliers existed,
and to help people recall whether they had seen such a design.
Initial avenues of inquiry
The first step was to obtain digital photographs
of the pliers and to create a
describing what was sought and providing
the photographs and all known clues.
Having this Web page made it easy to give everyone
the full description, especially the photographs.
I used the Web to try to find the
W. Schollhorn Co.
I turned to the Web search service known as
"Power Search" page.
There were too many Schollhorns
so I searched for "Schollhorn New Haven" (all three words required).
This gave some results worth pursuing, as detailed below.
Maybe someone living in
would know what had become of the W. Schollhorn Co.
listing of businesses in New Haven, Connecticut,
I found a local newspaper with a Web site:
New Haven Register.
Perhaps the newspaper would have a place to post queries
that might be seen by locals with long memories.
I found a
bulletin board on the Register's site
and posted my question there,
but never received an answer.
Also I investigated the Web site of the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Perhaps I could find the current assignee (i.e., owner) of U.S. Patent 106495.
showed some promise, but only the newest patents are on the Web.
The USPTO also provides most of their information in
Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries
scattered across the United States.
Perhaps the libraries in
San Francisco or
might list patent 106495.
(Was that a patent for the parallel jaws of the pliers,
or for the cutting jaws, or for the entire design of the pliers?)
In any event, if I could contact the current assignee,
maybe that firm could reveal who now manufactures the pliers.
Ultimately I pursued this avenue no further because
results came from other sources.
I found only a few newsgroups relating to tools.
I posted a query on
newsgroup didn't seem to list any relevant FAQs.
A trail of results leading to success
A two-minute power search on MetaCrawler for
"Schollhorn New Haven"
(all three words required)
found listings of Schollhorn tools in three informal catalogs
maintained by broker/dealers of used and antique tools.
I emailed my question to all three dealers.
One dealer sent the following email reply the next night:
there was some talk about Schollhorn pliers and the Bernard Patent on the
oldtools list. The patent was applied to a lot of diffrent configurations of
pliers. Sargent and Company bought Schollhorn during the early part of this
century. They sold that section of their company years ago. As I remember
the new owners are in New York or New Jersey. Anyway they are supposed to
still be in business. And Sargent is still in business (locks and hardware)
as far as I know. I see a variety of these pliers on the old tool for sale
lists and in antique and second hand stores. Good luck.
That was most encouraging.
A little bit of searching via Yahoo!
revealed that Sargent is really the
SARGENT Lock Company
of New Haven, Connecticut.
SARGENT's Web site
I used the
comment/guest book facility ("Contact Us") to ask
what had become of the W. Schollhorn Company.
A SARGENT company representative emailed the following
reply on the next business day:
Yes, you are correct, SARGENT did once own the Shollhorn [sic] Tool Company and
later sold it to former SARGENT employees. The new company is run under the
name of Rostra Tool. They are located in Branford, CT, ph. (203) 488-8665.
Good luck in finding what you need.
Yahoo! and MetaCrawler
provided address and fax information for the
Rostra Tool Company
of Branford, Connecticut,
but no Web or email address.
I sent a late-night fax to the Rostra Tool Company.
The next morning I was awakened by a phone call from Rostra.
The representative explained that sometimes these pliers
are called "fishing pliers" and had at one time been sold under the SportMade
He said they are relatively expensive because they require
a good deal of machining.
He suggested they might be available from the McMaster-Carr Supply
Co. of New Jersey.
He provided McMaster-Carr's phone number and the following email address:
With "mcmaster.com" in the email address,
it was a safe guess that
might be their Web site.
Sure enough, that is their Web site,
and it provides their entire catalog
in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format.
The pliers page included pictures of
the exact model I was seeking; it called them "parallel pliers". Several sizes are available.
Model 3728A4 priced at $47.38 is the large 8-inch version.
McMaster-Carr sells in any quantity and provides several
means for ordering.
Possible avenues of further inquiry
There is a loose-knit community of antique tool fanciers
providing a variety of resources on the Web.
Probably one or more of the tool brokers
might be able to watch for a used pair of such parallel pliers.
That would save some of the normal $47 price.
OldTools mailing list
seems very useful.
Unfortunately, to post a question requires joining the list
and therefore receiving around 100 messages per day.
Searching on MetaCrawler for "parallel pliers"
reveals a handful of similar products available from certain hardware dealers.
Some promising possibilities:
- The "high tensile fence pliers"
available from the
Rockingham Cooperative, Inc.
seem to be the same except perhaps for the plastic handle grips.
- The fence pliers at Rockingham Coop
are made by a company called MAUN,
which I also attempted to find.
They don't appear to have a Web site of their own,
but MetaCrawler found them listed as participants
European trade shows.
Maun Industries Ltd. is located in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England.
The "flat/flat parallel action pliers"
Kirkwood Craft Tools in England
seem remarkably like these parallel pliers,
possibly without the cutting jaws.
One could email to David Kirkwood.
Kirkwood's premium pliers are made by
"Lindström in Sweden",
which might be worth pursuing.
This page is
[Description of the pliers that were sought]
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Phil Davidson /
Last modified 30 September 1999