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Tool or device for imparting a desired shape, form, or finish to a material. Examples include a perforated block through which metal or plastic is drawn or extruded, the hardened steel forms for producing the patterns on coins and medals by pressure, and the hollow molds into which metal or plastic is forced. Modern tools and dies can be traced to the work of Honoré Blanc at the Saint-Étienne armoury in France beginning in 1780. Blanc's techniques were adopted and enlarged in the U.S. by Eli Whitney and others, who used templates (tool-guiding patterns) and fixturesthe antecedents of today's tools and diesto mass-produce firearms for the U.S. Army (seearmoury practice). Today the demand for dies used in metal forming, die casting, and plastic molding is filled by tool- and die-making shops.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on die, visit Britannica.com.