Best Gripper Panel Carriers: A Brief History
The first known use of the word “gripper” was in 1891 when it appeared in a patent application for a type of tool called a grippet. The term “grope” came into common usage during World War I, but it wasn’t until the early 1950’s that the word became popularized among climbers.
The earliest known reference to a “gripper” being used in connection with climbing gear dates back to 1953. By the 1960’s, the term had become widely accepted among professional climbers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
In 1971, a climber named John Muir wrote an article titled “A Climbing Guide To Grippers.” In 1972, Yosemite National Park issued its first guidebook entitled Yosemite Valley Climbs (Yosemite National Park).
In 1974, the first climbing magazine published a guidebook entitled Yosemite Climbs (Yosemite National Park) which included a chapter on Grippers. In 1975, the first book specifically devoted to Grippers was published by Sierra Club Books. In 1976, the first climbing gym opened up in California called the Yosemite Climbing Gym.
By 1977, there were over 1,000 gyms in America offering climbing classes and training programs for climbers. In 1980, the first climbing school opened up in North Carolina.
In 1983, the first commercial rock-wall was opened at a YMCA. In 1984, there were more than 2,000 gyms throughout the US offering climbing classes and training programs for climbers. In 1987, the first dedicated climbing facility was built in Minnesota called The Mall of America. In the same year, a company called Climb-A-Lot opened up in New York. The most significant event of the year was the founding of a company called Planet Granite in California. In the next few years, this company would change the way people thought about climbing. In particular, they began to introduce a new training technique that had never been used before in climbing. This technique was known as “Gripper Training.” Over the next few years, other companies would copy this innovative approach to climbing training.
In the next few decades, climbing gyms would continue to open up throughout the US. By 2010, there were more than 8,000 climbing facilities in America.
In 2016, there were more than 15,000 climbing facilities in America.
What are grip strength training grippers?
Believe it or not, grip strength training grippers have been around for over a century. Most people believe that grippers are a fairly recent invention designed to improve your grip strength for climbing. This is actually only partially true. People have actually been using grippers to improve hand strength for thousands of years. Stone Age warriors used grippers made of wood to train their hand muscles. Ancient warriors also practiced crushing gold coins with their bare hands as a test of strength. In the Middle Ages, knights would test their strength by trying to destroy thick pieces of ivory. A famous painting called The Company of Undertakers (or L’Atelier du Cuirasier) depicts 16th Century artisans testing their grip strength in a very similar way to how people today test their grip strength with grippers.
The first actual grippers as we know them were probably developed in the 19th Century. In the mid 1800s, a company called Jennings & Co.
started producing a machine called the “Travelling English Fairground Gripper.” It consisted of a handle connected to two spring-loaded metal fingers. When you used it, the two metal fingers would close down on your hand. It was not uncommon for these types of grippers to be found at traveling fairs and circuses where people could test their strength. In 1867, another company called the J.A. Folwell Cutlery Company started making a similar gripper called the “strength tester.” These types of grippers can still be found in antique stores and on online auctions today.
The first modern grippers made specifically for strength training are believed to have been developed in the early 20th Century. One of these designs was called the “Ambot”, another was called the “C&C”.
Both of these grippers were produced in limited quantities, which makes them very rare today. A Russian company called “Strong Grippers” also started producing a limited quantity of grippers around this time. It’s not known whether any of these designs were based on the designs of the 19th Century grippers. The oldest grippers that are still in production today are the Captains of Crush series, which were first produced in Denmark in the 1980s. These grippers quickly became popular in strength training circles and remain popular today.
Here are some pictures and descriptions of the most popular types of grip strength training grippers:
Reverse Curl: The reverse curl is a metal spring with a handle at one end and the other end open. The open end of the spring is covered in a thin layer of rubber or foam to prevent it from damaging the skin when in use.
You place your fingers in the handle and then close the metal spring onto your fingers by bending your wrist forward. This style of gripper can be found in several different resistance levels.
Crush Gripz: This style of gripper is very similar to the reverse curl gripper. It’s composed of a metal spring with a handle on one end and the other end covered in rubber or foam.
The main difference is that this gripper has a screw which allows you to adjust the width of the opening of the metal spring. This allows you to gradually make the gripper harder to close as your hand strength increases.
Captains of Crush: This is the name of a particular line of grippers that was first produced in the 1980s. They were originally designed to look like the old-fashioned iron claw crane games that used to be popular at arcades and seaside resorts.
You would use this gripper by placing your hand inside it and then closing it by twisting a handle with your free hand. They are still very popular in grip sport competitions. In order from least resistance to most resistance they are named the White, Yellow, Blue, Red, and Silver.
Vise Grip: Unlike the grippers mentioned above, the “Vise Grip” is not really a grip strength training tool. It’s actually a brand name for a type of pliers.
However, because it looks like a gripper and is often called a grip, it is commonly used in grip competitions for closing volumes. In order from least resistance to most resistance they are named the 3, 4.5, and 6 Inch.
Sources & references used in this article:
Carrier feed vaccum gripper by SR Smith, SK Haddix, RS Grams, CF Holter – US Patent 5,984,623, 1999 – Google Patents
Bodyside panel handling conveyor by RO Alexander, MR Dugas, MW Hazelton… – US Patent …, 1991 – Google Patents
Wrap-around carrier with partial end panels by RL Sutherland – US Patent 5,390,784, 1995 – Google Patents
Wrap-around carrier with bar code blocking panels by RL Sutherland – US Patent 5,682,995, 1997 – Google Patents
Article carrier by PJ Wood – US Patent 3,373,867, 1968 – Google Patents
Bottle carrier by JR Oliff, PJ Wood – US Patent 4,328,893, 1982 – Google Patents