Originating in Ibach, Switzerland, the Swiss Army knife was first produced in 1891 by the company, Karl Elsener, which later became Victorinox. As German: “Schweizer Offiziersmesser” proved too difficult for English and US soldiers to say, the knives were re-named as the “Swiss Army knife”.
Today the Swiss Army knife has been added to the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art and Munich’s State Museum of Applied Art for its design. The term “Swiss Army knife” has entered popular culture as a metaphor for usefulness and adaptability.
The combination of usefulness and classic design makes the Swiss Army Knife an essential accompaniment for a modern gentlemen. Buying yourself one is a relatively simple matter, as long as you follow these simple rules:
- Bigger does not mean better, when it comes to Swiss Army Knives. Bigger means bulkier. Unless you plan on going wild and killing your dinner every night, you should aim for a classic model, like The Tourist (shown above).
- On most things personalised engravings look childish, but for a penknife it can stop it getting lost or mistakenly pocketed by a friend, so get your initials carved on it.
- Like Ferraris you should stick to the classic red and avoid the colourful/comedy ‘special editions’.
- The model you select should include at least one blade, bottle opener, cork screw and tweezers, as a minimum.
Just remember to take it out of your hand luggage if you’re flying.