Wenger Genuine Swiss Army knives may confuse some buyers, since many look exactly like knives manufactured by Victorinox. A split military contract allowed both companies to produce the knives independently since 1908. Technically, Victorinox originated the design, but Wenger also makes the real thing and in models with original improvements unique to the Wenger brand. Recent acquisition of Wenger by Victorinox ends the confusion without changing the character of Wenger products.
In 1893, in order to expand production of the Swiss Army knife developed by Victorinox, the Swiss Army awarded a knife-making contract to Paul Boechat & Cie of Courtetelle, Switzerland. In 1897 the company hired Theodore Wenger as its general manager. A few years later, Wenger purchased the firm and renamed the company Wenger et Cie. The company produced spoons and forks as well as military knives and the Swiss Army multi-tool. In 1908 the Swiss Army split the knife contract officially, giving half the production to Wenger and half to Victorinox. This allowed both companies to continue making genuine Swiss Army knives for both the military and the civilian market. Wenger’s days as a competitor ended in 2005 when rival Victorinox purchased the company.
Wenger produces kitchen cutlery nearly identical to the R.H. Forschner/Victorinox brand, but under the brand names Grand Maitre and Swibo. The Wenger style of forged kitchen cutlery features different handle construction than the sister brand from Victorinox. Wenger’s Swiss Army knives continue to diverge from the classic Swiss Army patterns. A new line called EvoWood is the first to set aside the classic bright red handles in favor of walnut hardwood. EvoGrip and Evolution knives improve on the old patterns by added ergonomic shape or textured inserts to the knives’ handles. Wenger’s Giant Swiss Army Knife currently holds the record for the largest multi-tool, weighing two pounds and holding 87 different blades.
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