I found this tool in a toolkit which I had lying around.

I am not sure what this is as I didn't purchase this kit.

The kit, in addition, had a ratchet screwdriver, bits and some tweezers and a precision pickup claw tool.

Unidentified tool

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the device come apart so that you could pick up a DIP chip on the black forming pins using the grey claws and then push it into a board or socket by pressing the metal dome on the left? \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Dec 27, 2020 at 10:12

2 Answers 2


Looks like an IC inserter. Inserts 14 or 16 pin DIPs.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ That's a tool you don't see too often anymore! \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Dec 25, 2020 at 16:28
  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ The handle serves another related purpose ... possibly as a pin straightener so the ICs will correctly fit the sockets. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Dec 25, 2020 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was today years old when I learned what these are. I'd seen these in several "computer-tech" kits, and never had any clue what they were for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shamtam
    Dec 26, 2020 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrianDrummond Good catch, it supports at least 2 different width ICs, it's possible they're of slightly different pitch too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Dec 26, 2020 at 11:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ The "14-16" stamped on the side at the bottom is a good clue. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2020 at 3:43

To elaborate a bit on the first (and correct) answer, back in the good old days (late 70s through the 80s), it was very common for even those who did not build their own computers to need to add or replace chips, particularly DRAM in early PCs. There were plenty of common, inexpensive, toolkits that included some combination of:

  • Flat-head screwdrivers
  • Phillips-head screwdrivers
  • Nutdrivers
  • Parts grabber
  • Tweezers
  • IC inserter

The IC inserter was typically for 14-16 pin DIPs, which matched common RAM chips of that era. A larger inserter would be needed for CPUs (typically 40-pin DIPs), but the typical technician would add or replace far more RAM chips than CPU chips. For the occasional larger chip a small flat screwdriver and a bit of care was all that was needed.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The kit is a bit old, as you seem to have guessed. I came across it when I was going through an old storeroom. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2020 at 16:47

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