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Quality — Made in Germany

Our history

A success story since 1882

What started as a small village smithy has now developed into the world's leading manufacturer for professional pliers. Learn more about our development and milestones over the past 135 years.


Portrait of Carl Gustav Putsch and old smithy

In Cronenberg, Carl Gustav Putsch founds a small smithy for pliers with a journeyman and two apprentices.
In the basement of his house, they forge carpenters' and farriers' pincers.


Carl Putsch

After the death of his father, Carl Putsch takes over the management of the company, and in 1927 already 27 employees produce around 7,000 pliers per week. The craft business becomes a small factory.


Certificate brand entry KNIPEX, old company logo

Carl Putsch develops the "KNIPEX" brand and registers it. The brand name is more distinctive than the regionally common surname.


Karl and Ilse Putsch

The grandson of the company's founder, Karl Putsch, takes over the management of the company. He is a passionate engineer, modernises the manufacturing processes and extends the product range. Karl and his wife Ilse, who has been with the company since 1951, lead the company to be the market leader in Europe.


Karl Putsch, old KNIPEX advertisement for the alligator

Innovations are becoming increasingly important. A breakthrough in the field of gripping pliers is the "Alligator®": a new type of water pump pliers that grips round and angular workpieces equally well. It is no longer necessary to press the handles together during use – the pliers jaws have a self-locking effect.


KNIPEX Cobra: draft drawing and product photo

KNIPEX develops the "Cobra®": water pump pliers that can be adjusted quickly and with fine gradations at the push of a button.


KNIPEX CoBolt: old product sheet and photos

The "Cobolt®" compact bolt cutter is launched: Its sophisticated force transmission increases the manual force of the user up to 20 times. At the same time, the design is simple and very compact.



Rennsteig-Werkzeuge in Thuringia becomes part of the KNIPEX group.
The addition significantly amplifies the KNIPEX range in the areas of cutting - stripping - crimping.
In the following years, Rennsteig becomes the leading European supplier in its product range, which also includes striking tools.


Pliers wrench product photos

The "pliers wrench" is invented: a completely new tool with parallel gripping jaws and ratchet function that gently grips even sensitive surfaces.


Portrait Ralf Putsch, world map

Ralf Putsch, who joined the company in 1987, takes over the overall management of the company. The international business share is sustainably expanded – to over 60% today. In 1998 KNIPEX opens a sales office in Moscow. In the following years, further subsidiaries are founded in the USA, China, Dubai, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and India.


Orbis Will

In 2003 ORBIS in Ahaus / Münsterland becomes a part of the Knipex group, in 2006 the WILL company in Neustadt / Hessen joins as well. The two traditional companies manufacture pliers under the brands of their customers.


125 years KNIPEX: sculpture in front of the Wuppertal town hall

KNIPEX celebrates its 125th company anniversary.
Sales have doubled in the past ten years. 800 employees now produce 45,000 pliers every day, which are sold in over 100 countries around the world. KNIPEX has become the world's leading pliers brand.


Photos of ErgoStrip®, StriX and side cutters

In 2016, KNIPEX launched the universal stripping tool "ErgoStrip®" – a worldwide innovation. It combines three cable processing tools in one and enables the user to work quickly and effectively.
KNIPEX once again expands its range of expertise in the field of tools for electrical installation.



In 2017, the KNIPEX group is joined by a new member: The software company LMIS in Osnabrück, of which KNIPEX acquires a majority stake, brings skills in special “tools”: programming and digitisation. An important step into the future, because this gives the KNIPEX Group direct access to increasingly important topics in information technology.


KNIPEX Buffalo Grove

KNIPEX Tools opens the first full service location outside of Wuppertal, Germany. The location in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, USA combines Accounting, Customer Service, Marketing, Packaging Production, Sales, Warehousing and more to support North American customers. The expansion proved to be incredibly valuable, streamlining our operations and providing better service to our customer.


Aerial view of the KNIPEX company; New production hall

KNIPEX employs around 1,200 people at the Wuppertal location, and around 1,900 in the group. Additional production and office space is being built and extensive investments are being made in additional machines and systems, including an automated hardening shop.


Sustainability award

Having been committed to sustainability issues for many years and in a variety of ways, KNIPEX has received the prestigious award "German Sustainability Award 2019 - Winner of medium-sized companies". The prize recognizes companies "that combine exemplary economic success with social responsibility and environmental protection and thus promote the idea of a sustainable society in a special way."



New needs of users require new tools. The large KNIPEX Cobra® family has been developed over the last 36 years and is available in many different sizes and special variants. The latest member is the KNIPEX Cobra® XS, a pair of particularly small but fully functional water pump pliers measuring just 4". The small size makes these pliers ideal for any trouser pocket or as an on-board tool on a bicycle or motorbike.