A crowbar is a metal tool which is designed to be used as a lever. It has a very basic design, and humans have probably been using versions of this tool for centuries. It has a wide range of uses, and is commonly used in demolition work, since it can be used to wedge things apart, and is also used to open things, like boxes which have been nailed shut. Many hardware stores stock crowbars, and they can also be ordered directly from their manufacturers.
A basic crowbar is simply a straight metal rod with one curved end. The curved end has a forked piece of metal which can be used as a clasp to pull out nails and similar obstacles. The other end is often shaped like a chisel; it is also possible to find crowbars fitted with handles in materials which are easy to grip, making them more comfortable to use. Those with a chisel end can be used as a very effective wedge, by driving the chisel into a small space and then twisting the shaft of the tool.
The term “crowbar” has been around since the 1400s, and it is believed to be a reference to the foot of a crow, which the curved end of the tool closely resembles. Originally, this tool was called a “crow bar;” at some point, the word became compound, although it is not exactly clear when this occurred. It is also possible that the term is derived from the Old French croc, which means “hook.” Crowbars are also known as pry bars or prybars, and in some communities they are called jimmy or jemmy bars.
The most typical choice of material for these tools is steel or iron, because both of these materials are strong and highly resilient. It is also possible to find crowbars made from titanium and other specialty materials. Some companies make versions that are not electrically conductive, which can be a distinct advantage; they are typically more costly, because the materials used to make them are more expensive. For people who struggle with tool theft, brightly colored crowbars or ones in garish floral themes are also available, although the paint tends to wear off with use.
When selecting a crowbar, it pays to look for one which is heavy and very sturdy. A solid one will yield years of productive use, while cheaper versions can snap at inconvenient moments. It can also be helpful to get several sizes of crowbar, to ensure that shorter or longer levers are available as needed.