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Swiss Army Knives Were Once Made In Germany

 

A favorite tool of survivalists, hunters, and Boy Scouts, the Swiss Army knife is the item you want if you're lost in the woods or stranded on a desert island, but what makes the Swiss such experts in knives? It turns out that these knives were originally manufactured in Germany. It took a patriotic innovator to turn this classic pocket knife into the national symbol of Switzerland.

Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss government issued a pocket knife to their newly enlisted soldiers that always included a pocket knife, which they began to use in the late 1880s to crack open the canned food provided to them. It worked, but it damaged the blade and often cut the user's skin. The Swiss government decided to reform its knives to include can-opening attachments as well as other equipment for soldiers to retain the rifling and folding feature, but there is no one in Switzerland to manufacture such knives. There were no construction facilities.


Karl Elsener

In January 1891, the Swiss Army placed an order for 15,000 pocket knives with Wester & Company, a knife manufacturer based in Solingen, Germany. In general, the Swiss army was satisfied with the German-made knives, but the patriotic Swiss citizens, who were proud of their manufacturing industry, did not like to ask Germany for help. He turned to Karl Elsner, a Swiss manufacturer of surgical instruments, who remodeled his factory to produce pocket knives for the Swiss military, but Elsner was expensive, therefore on the verge of bankruptcy and losing out to a competitive bid from a German factory. After, he decided that if he could not make a more affordable knife, he would have made a better knife.


Create A Better Product

The new design of the Elsener included tools attached to both sides of the handle, consisting of a corkscrew and a smaller blade, and opened quickly and easily with a spring-based mechanism that held the tool securely until the handle. kept them until they were needed. He also added a Swiss coat of arms to the handle of the knife to clearly identify it as a Swiss-made product. The sale of this product saved his company, and today Swiss Army knives are sold all over the world. With a USB drive it's even more possible to get a Swiss Army knife, laser pointer, and fingerprint scanner with data encryption.

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