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Trademark protection for 125 years.  homeland!  When the Swiss army knife came from Germany.

Trademark protection for 125 years. homeland! When the Swiss army knife came from Germany.

Even if Mr. and Mrs. Schweitzer hardly believed it: the first models of the Swiss Army Knife had to be produced in Germany. Karl Elsener from Schwyz couldn’t stand it.

The Swiss Army Knife is world famous. It was originally developed for the military, but for soldiers and civilians alike, it stands for one thing above all: innovation and pragmatism from Switzerland.

In this regard, not every viewer can immediately see what is wrong with this example, which was one of the earliest: What is wrong with the Swiss Army Knife from 1891?

The first Swiss military knife from 1891.

Commons / Kotroviano

The fact is that the first 15,000 Swiss Army knives did not come from our latitudes at all, but from Germany. At its meeting on December 6, 1890, the Federal Council decided that the knife should be purchased, but that the national production could not supply such quantities. So Wester + Co. steps in. From Solingen, the German knife capital.

Early M1890s had ebony handles. Black oak wood is used later. It should offer jobs that would make life easier for the soldier at the time – like a blade and a can opener. In order to be able to use the Schmidt-Rubin rifle introduced in 1889, there are also screwdrivers and an awl with which you can make holes.

bring it hey

Karl Elsner cannot accept the fact that the Swiss Army Knife is not made in his country of origin. He was born in Schwyz in 1860 and trained as a knife cutter in Zug. Elsner came from a family of businessmen: his grandfather, Peter Oswald Elsner, opened a hat factory in Schwyz, and his father, Balthasar Elsner, added felt and the fur trade.

Standard stamp on Swiss Wenger knives.

Public / Users: DM

Karl also self-employed in 1884 – but not as a clothing manufacturer, but with a shop for knives and surgical instruments. He calls the company in Ibach SZ “Victoria” – after his mother. In 1891, the 31-year-old founded the Swiss Cutter Association. His stated goal: to bring home pocket knives.

In the same year, the entrepreneur is able to deliver the first original Swiss military knives to the army – and he has to expand his business. In 1892 he employed 30 workers. In 1893, Paul Boéchat founded a similar company with three of his colleagues: Paul Boéchat & Cie. It manufactures knives in Courtételle JU and employs about 20 people. In 1898, Theo Wenger took over the management of the hungry manufacturer.

The brand has been protected for 125 years

In 1907, Wenger took over the bankrupt company, gave it his name, and ran it Wenger & Co. To New Shores – just in time for the introduction of the second Swiss Army Knife, named after a year it was introduced. The M1908 will be in production until it is replaced by the M1951. And the M1961 and that soldier knife 08 Complete the official versions of the pocket knife.

The instrument was protected for 125 years on June 12, 2022: the trademark was registered in 1897 as “Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife”. In 1901, there was the first drastic change: Since oak does not stand the test, the M1890 1901 version has fiber handles. It still measures 100mm in length and weighs 144g.

The M1908 has a modified blade, which is still the same length, and weighs a little less than its predecessor at 125 grams. From 1921, each knife is marked with the year of manufacture. The Model 1951 features a modified blade that is just 93mm long, weighs 90 grams and is made of stainless steel. It is named because of this stainless steel Victoria By Karl Elsener in 1921 by the way to the company Victorinox – inox (non-oxidizing) is the international hallmark of this mineral.

Only M1961 comes entirely from Switzerland

Finally, the M1961 makes history: it is the first model exclusively produced by Victorinox And the finger is produced. Of course, Karl Elsner didn’t live to see it: he died in 1918. The first true Swiss knife from 1961 was scaled down again at 72 grams and for the first time with a red anodized aluminum handle. The can opener was a new addition at the time.

Better swiss army knives Consequently KnifeCenter.

Carl Elsner’s grandchildren continue the company’s tradition Victorinox To this day. In 1978, NASA ordered 50 of the model Literal for their patrons. Equipment has been supplied to the US Army since the 1930s – and in 1989 the company also began producing watches. In 2000, most of the shares flow into company formation. Since 2007, the German Bundeswehr has been supplied with special knives.

the creator finger On the other hand, things started to falter because after September 11, 2001, knives were no longer allowed in hand luggage – and the Swiss sold many products in duty free. In 2005 the company was on the verge of collapse Victorinox Acquisition of their stock: the brand is retained and is initially in competition with the parent company.

Various versions and additions

This also explains why a standard knife is used Giant Knife 2007 From finger COMES: It measures 24 cm wide and has 87 tools that perform 141 functions. This gives the tool a place in the “Guinness Book of Records”. However, the company name Wenger has not been used since 2013: Das pocket knife 08 exclusively from Victorinox produced.

The 2007 Giant Knife Record Knife weighs only 1,345 grams, and in 2006 it was available for €798, or about $1000.

Commons / Slatepartface

Today there are more than 100 samples and different versions of the Swiss Army Knife. There are also military knives made by Victorinox for Germany and France – as well as current Swiss Army bayonets. There are also outdoor activities knives, kitchen utensils and garden knives.

Fat employer: a report by German broadcaster “ProSieben” about Victorinox.

Brand protection 125 years ago paid off: Victorinox employs about 2,100 people in 2019 and generates CHF480 million in sales that year: Modern Swiss army knives are also equipped with tools such as USB sticks, MP3 players, laser pointers, and fingerprint scanners Fingers are available, you don’t have to worry that Victorinox won’t keep reinventing this Swiss asset in the future.