Bolt cutters were used as far back as the 18th century, although they were manufactured using less sophisticated methods and from cruder metal than the hardened steel versions we have today.
Early types were made from unrefined “pig” iron treated in an iron forgery to produce “bar iron”, which was then hammered into the required shape for the tool.
From the mid-19th century, steel-making became widely adopted as a manufacturing process. Tools like bolt cutters began to benefit from the hardness of steel and the improved quality and consistency of post-Industrial Revolution production methods.
Since then, bolt cutters have been an essential tool in the kitbag of shipyard and dock workers. They use them for snipping bolts off containers and for cutting through the thick chain and wires in use on massive sea-going vessels.
Their formidable strength and ability to slice through many metals has also made them a must-have tool in the modern construction industry.