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Klein Tools - For Professionals Since 1857

Side-Cutters: Lineman’s or Linesman’s?

Posted on:November 27, 2017

We spent a lot of time this year talking with electricians that Power America’s Passion. While highlighting Klein-equipped professionals’ impressive work, we found that tradespeople on the job refer to our Side-Cutting Pliers by a variety of names, including side-cutters and, of course, Kleins. But one question frequently came up in our team’s roadside conversations:

Are they Lineman’s or Linesman’s?

The first place we referenced was The Home Depot’s online catalog. We figured that its diverse tool brand offering must be able to provide a clear answer. With so many different products available, however, its listings included every term across the board.

So, we took a step back. What would Google have to say?

Searching first for “Linesman’s Pliers,” we hoped to find something that would point us in the right direction.

The search returned an autocorrect, which means that, either according to trends or grammatically speaking, something just isn’t right with “Linesman’s.”

Maybe, instead, the question we should ask is what’s correct: lineman or linesman?

Both have been heard and seen in the context of the trade, but when we searched “linesman,” results led to sites referencing the title of an official during sporting events. In contrast, “lineman” immediately called out lineworkers.

Following the Wikipedia links found in the search results, we eventually came across its definition for Lineman’s Pliers. Not surprisingly, the site included a few of the terms that have been up to investigation.

Where else could an answer be found?

The Lineman’s Rodeo!

As an international competition, they must know their stuff. In fact, just based off of the event name itself, we knew their take on the correct answer.

Klein’s Conclusion

Commercially, there doesn’t seem to be a correct or incorrect way to refer to side-cutting pliers, as long as tradespeople can find the tool they want. Abiding to both grammar laws and to today’s trends, however, “Lineman’s” seems to make the most sense, as the pliers were originally designed for linemen. We should know, since our company’s first customer 160 years ago was a lineman.

As a company that has grown from serving one Chicago lineman to meeting the demands of linemen and other tradespeople everywhere, we’ve seen these tools and terms handed down through generations – because they last. In fact, the oldest pair of lineman’s pliers that we could track down were still in working condition.

So, call them what you want, as long as you’re carrying Kleins.

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