An instrument consisting chiefly of a pair of stout jaws or chaps, which are brought together by the aid of a screw, to compress, or hold fast any substance placed between them. Vices are of almost indispensable utility to smiths, engineers, and the generality of mechanics, to the peculiar wants of certain classes of whom, they are sometimes variously modified: but the vices in general use, are those termed smiths' vices, and these are of several kinds; namely, the standard vice, the bench vice, and the hand vice. The first-mentioned has a long standard bar reaching to the ground, by which it may be stapled to the side of an upright post; and likewise a pair of flattened horns, by which it may be nailed to the top of the post, or to a work-bench. They are made of various sizes, and weigh from 15 to 150 pounds each, according as they maybe required for heavy or light work. The second sort, bench-vices, are of a smaller class; they have no standard bar, and are contrived so as to be clamped firmly to the bench, by means of a screw and wrench, and the horns or claws above. Of this kind, a very superior quality used by watch-makers, clock-makers, and other delicate mechanists, is made by the Lancashire tool-smiths, whose workmanship surpasses all others.
The third kind, hand-vices; these, though of various sizes, and modified in a thousand ways, are all so small as to be held in one hand, that the article they gripe may be worked upon by the other; the jaws are drawn together or asunder by a small thumb screw.