Pliers have been in use since at least the Roman era, with the basic design changing very little in that period. As might be expected the British Army bough large quantities of pliers to be used to help maintain its vehicles, these were normally of very good quality, as in the case of this pair of side cutting pliers:These date from 1954 and have both the date and a /|\ mark stamped into the metal work:The pliers are called side cutting pliers because a small wire cutter is incorporated into the jaws of the tool:A second pair of shears is fitted to one side of the pliers to allow thicker pieces of wire to be cut:The 1953 army manual ‘Mechanical Vehicle Training Volume II, General Mechanical Principles of Tracked and Wheeled Vehicles’ explains about the use of side cutting pliers:
Pliers (side cutting)
Pliers are intended for straightening, bending, twisting or cutting soft wire or very thin rods, also for grasping and turning or pulling small components which are not likely to suffer from teeth marks made by the jaws. They must not be used for the purposes of tightening small nuts or screws, or for cutting hard steel wire.
The commonest use of the pliers on a motor vehicle is the removal and replacement of split pins and locking wire.
When cutting thick wire or split pins, use the shears on the back or front of the pliers, use the side cutters for soft thin wire: Do not attempt to cut thick wire with the side cutters by driving the cutters through the metal with a hammer. Reason: Use of excessive force causes damage to the cutters and distorts the jaws of the pliers.