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The Swiss Army Knife Turns 111 Answered

On June 12, 1897, Karl Elsener registered his "soldier's knife" for use by the Swiss Army. In 1921, the Swiss Army Knife was made with stainless steel and today you can buy one that's nine inches thick with 85 devices for $1,200.

In any case, the Swiss Army Knife has become an invaluable tool and over 34,000 more are made every day.



The Swiss Army, more famous for pocket knives than anything else, because being a neutral country, they're not allowed to "get in any fights".
Still, it's a classic tool, appreciate the news.


For the longest time whenever I imagined the Swiss Army, my steryotype-supporting mind always pictured earnest looking mountain men in leiderhosen armed with nothing but Swiss Army Knives. That got me thinking: If the only weapon they use is a knife, then DAMN, they must be good. later on this mental image was crushed by learning that Switzerland is neutral, and that their army uses guns like everyone else.

I was at the outlets a while back and saw the Swiss Army Knife store. I went in, every knife I picked up said "made in china". I could not believe it! There was a blond haired young man there and he sounded a Swiss. I asked him, why are these "Swiss" army knives made in china. He just mumbled they are Swiss. So as to not lose any customers. But, I said, they are made in china! He said, yes to Swiss specifications! I said, Yes, but , they are still chinese! I left shortly thereafter. I never went back. He was brainwashed by the chinese! I still carry my Original Swiss Army knife every day! Chinese is chinese. Only in a restaurant!

I wonder if those "Swiss specifications" extend to metal quality or just dimensions....


9 years ago

Unfortunately in my country the pocket knives are considered as weapons under the law, so It is not advisable to carry them even as a portable accessory.

That stinks, are your countries leaders so afraid and insecure, that people can not even carry a pocket knife? Watch out next thing, they will ban rocks and sticks from your country. Talk about control freaks!

I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, and I'm not affiliated with them, but Leatherman does make an item that contains several tools (pliers, screwdrivers, etc.) without a knife blade in it.


Pocket knives like the "Swiss Army" serve a purpose and are useful, but in general pocket tools are better. Even bicycle multitools (screwdrivers, Allen keys) are often more useful. Single blade knives can be bought anywhere, so I don't see a point of having one on a pocket tool.

its not about the usefulness though. it is useful but it is about the history, the name, the reputation. owning one makes you that much closer to being as cool as macgyver. if its good enough for him and the swiss army, its good enough for me.

"Its not about the usefulness"?  You mean it's a fashion accessory? 

For those living in North America with houses, cars, and are less concerned about space, size and mobility, or where you're less likely to use such tools on a daily basis, maybe it's not so important.  But for me and other ex-pats (I'm a Canadian living in Taiwan and other Asian countries), multiple usefulness compared to weight and number of items matters a lot, especially when you're moving regularly or live in small apartments.  

For me, a the Leatherman and bike tool I referred to are my entire tool box.  Ex-pats like myself and others can't spare the room or weight for a power drill or a complete set of proper Craftsman wrenches.  That's not commentary or an attempt to find fault, I'm just pointing out that there are different realities for different people.  A Swiss Army Knife just doesn't cut it for me or many others.

Cool, never knew that.

Didn't know that. How long has that been the case?

Wow, I had no idea they went that far back. I love my swiss army knife for its fine craftsmanship and ease of use. Plus you can open wine with it! Gotta love the Swiss!

you know I always wondered why they put a cork opener on it, I mean how class is it to pull out a knife to open a bottle of wine?

Yeah, that is for opening, uh, medicinal pain killer in an emergency *chuckle*

Yes, but does your Swiss Army knife have 1GB of flash storage? ;-)

does yours have a laser pointer, too?

Which is better, Victorianox or Wenger? (The Original vs. The Genuine) I've owned a few over the years and they were awesome. I even had a couple of bayonets made by Victorianox- Now that's a real Swiss ARMY knife!

Victorianox is better, but I have a Wenger and it says Victorianox Swiss made stainless.

Interesting.I've never seen the two brands on the same knife.

wenger is too issy prissy. Victorinox has good ideas and is durable

I agree. From my experience, I've owned 5 or 6 Vic's with not a bad one in the bunch. I've owned 3 or 4 Wenger's with only one decent one. They feel too much like the CHinese imitations.

I prefer Victorianox, mine has never let me down.

Yay for the Swiss Army knife! Without it, Macgyver would probably be dead!

Or he might use a Leatherman to construct a crude but effective Swiss Army knife!

and then use the swiss army knife to construcr a crude but effective leatherman!

I tend to carry a Leatherman these days (actually a Gerber). But this is McGyver we're talking about!

hmm... there are 4 kinds of knives i like to use... bowie knives, big multi-tools, swiss army knives, leatherman or gerber pocket knives, and switchblade, or fast-opening pocket knives...

Been a police officer for over 15 years and tried all kinds on new "super pocket tools" Always go back to my Victorinox Officer Suisse. Fantastic bit of kit and 12 years old .

That's... that's older than... than me!!!!!

I think the Swiss is ok for light use, but for in the woods survival and whatnot, I'm not terribly fond of it.... (but once they make one with a phone built in, I'm buying it!)


10 years ago

correction: 87 devices for $1,200