Hurst Power Rescue Tool (Jaws of Life)

In the 1960s, George Hurst designed a 350-pound hydraulic spreader tool to help remove race car drivers from wrecks. He hired Mike Brick to market the device nationwide. Brick downsized it to 65 pounds and pitched the Hurst Power Rescue Tool to fire departments in the early 1970s as a way to free accident victims from cars. The tool was an instant success because it was faster, safer, more powerful, and easier to use than power saws, pry bars, and blow torches. It acquired the nickname “The Jaws of Life” because of a line in a promotional film. The Carlsbad, New Mexico fire department bought this tool in 1977 and used it until 2012.
Currently not on view
Object Name
rescue tool
date made
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 34 in x 15 in x 9 in; 86.36 cm x 38.1 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of the Carlsbad Fire Department

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