The world of Swiss Army Knives was created in 1891 by the Swiss manufacturer now known as Victorinox, with the help of many smaller Swiss Cutlers. They manufactured the first Swiss Soldier Knife for the Swiss army and one was issued to every enlisted person. In 1908 the Swiss manufacturer now known as Wenger entered, and the two manufactures split the official Swiss military supply contract for Soldier Knives in half. These two manufactures Victorinox (The Original Swiss Army Knife), and Wenger (The Genuine Swiss Army Knife) are the only organizations legally allowed to use the term “Swiss Army Knife” in reference to their products.
The Victorinox company was started by Swiss Cutler Karl Elsener. Many of the knives were originally sold through his mother’s hat shop in the German speaking town of Ibach. His mother’s name, Victoria, was where half the company’s eventual name would come from, the other half being ‘inox’, taken from the steel manufacturing breakthrough known as ‘inoxydable’ (stainless) in French, a reference to the stainless steel that was eventually used, and forever changed the cutlery business.
The Wenger company started out as Boechat & Cie in 1893 in the small town of Courtetelle. A few years later the company was purchased by a number of entrepreneurs and renamed The Fabrique Suisse De Coutellerie SA. A short time later, Theo Wenger was hired and promoted to director of the company. The company first took on the Wenger name in 1907 as Wenger Co Limited Partnership, later in 1922 to become the current Wenger Co SA.
In 2005 Victorinox took over the Wenger company, but ran the two companies completely independently, with separate product lines for several years. In 2014 Victorinox merged the two product lines, making Victorinox the sole manufacturer of Swiss Army Knives once again. However they decided to continue manufacturing some of the former Wenger knives under the Victorinox ‘Delémont’ brand.
Swiss Army Knives have grown from an essential tool for soldiers to a world wide icon of ingenuity and quality. The Swiss Army Knife is now used by people across the globe in every industry and in everyday life. This amazing tool has traveled all continents, across the oceans, to the peaks of the highest mountains, and several times into outer space.
There is also a community of people collecting these wonderfully simple and yet incredibly useful pocket tools. This site provides information about the Swiss Army Knife (or SAK), what many refer to as the little red knife or the little red toolbox. It can make your life easier, more enjoyable, and it may even save it !
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