ICE-GRIP PLIERS MAY SEEM a lowly object for veneration, but for the emerging group of appropriate technologists, they were material poetry. Stewart Brand’s description of them in The Next Whole Earth Catalog
could be read with line breaks as a paean to timelessness:
A locking plier wrench which grips and holds with the size of the grip adjustable. Hold things hard without muscle, hold things together, hold things with just the right pressure. Many’s the busted faucet you see with a vise-grip biting it as temporary handle.1
The vice-grip plier was a tool that let a person grab hold of the world the way it should be held. They could be adjusted to hold the world together, but without the sort of overbearing associated with ...