Best known for the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox also manufactures a full line of kitchen cutlery, watches and travel-alarms, and more. The company that started with one pocket multi-tool now produces over a hundred versions of that product alone, including one with a USB flash drive.
In 1884 Karl Elsener opened his first cutlery business in Ibach-Schwyz, applying skills acquired in the factories of Paris, France, and Tuttlingen, Germany, to his own designs. The first knife produced in what we now know as the Swiss Army pattern left the shop in 1891, when Elsener won the contract for a Swiss infantryman’s knife. The knife’s blades were designed for harness work as well as maintenance on military rifles.
In 1909 Elsener changed his company’s name to Victorinox to honor his mother, Victoria, who died that same year. He also adopted the cross and shield as a registered trademark, setting his products apart from the many copies hitting the market. The Swiss Officer’s Knife became popular with American troops during WWII. R.H. Forschner later teamed with Victorinox to market the company cutlery in the United States. Victorinox expanded its American marketing to include watches in 1989. Victorinox and its sister company, Wenger, produced nearly identical pocket knives in competition with one another. Both companies supplied knives to the Swiss military and both could claim to produce genuine Swiss Army knives. Victorinox purchased Wenger in 2005, placing all Swiss Army knife manufacturing under one corporate roof.
Victorinox Swiss Army knives provide specialized tool sets for craftsmen, outdoorsmen, and a variety of other avocations and professions. The original Swiss Officer’s knife included two knife blades, a screwdriver bit, can opener, awl and corkscrew — all fairly standard on Swiss Army knives today but backed up with modern tools designed for today’s needs. Many models include one-hand opening of the main knife blade and a secure lockback. R.H. Forschner cutlery, a Victorinox brand, offers laser-cut stainless steel knives in an efficient economical build; as well as forged knives built in a classic style with riveted handle slabs of tropical hardwood.
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