Swiss Army

    Way back in the late 1800’s the Swiss needed a tool for their soldiers that could open cans of food and clean their rifles. They decided on a German manufacturer who made a folding pocketknife with a can opener and a screwdriver all-in-one. It was issued to the soldiers and became a huge success.

   Then a Swiss company took over and made refinements on the knife. Then another company started making them. Now they have over a hundred different models of the Swiss Army Knife.           

   The name comes from American soldiers who could not pronounce its name in German. It has become one of the most popular Knives or Multi-Tools in the world, but it wasn’t the first multi-tool. The first one was Roman.

 During the Roman era soldiers had to carry all their own gear. This usually meant leaving a lot of comfort items back at home while on the march. Until some ingenious Roman had a set made for the road.

    It was a folding set of utensils: Spoon, Knife, Pick, Spatula, and Spike. Everything a civilized Roman citizen would need to eat a civilized meal. If an army marched on their stomachs like they say, then I guess this would have been one of the reasons the Romans were able to conquer so much of the world. Better cutlery and better meals. 

    I might not understand the desire for a cutlery set on the road, but I do have to admire their ingenuity. Civilized dining in the face of Barbarian hordes would seem a bit eccentric to us. My priorities are a bit different. At least the Swiss army knife was more practical in their approach to multitools. Open food, clean your weapon, and open a bottle of wine. Priorities right.


    Interesting fact about the Swiss Army Knife: The third version of the Swiss army knife came with a corkscrew. The knife was given to soldiers when they entered the army. Bottles of wine that required a corkscrew never were. If the need for a corkscrew was that demanded, where did all the wine come from?


   In the 1980’s a man named Tim Leatherman had an idea for a new kind of multi-tool. The one he needed was made around pliers instead of a folding knife. He had a degree in engineering and went to work to design his version of the multi-tool. It wasn't long before he had a prototype and shortly afterwards it was in production.

   It was a huge success and even now when you say multi-tool people think of the plier mode. There are Swiss army knives and there are multi-tools. Everybody has their favorite but hardly anybody knows what most of the things are actually for.

written by Benajmin Evans

 People now know what pliers and knives are for but a chisel or spike is beyond the need of most, but they all still want them. I have to admire their spirit of “probably won’t but happens” will happen and I want a tool for it but unless you know how to use that tool it’s just a piece of metal.

    So here are the basics, but by no means, all of the tools that are usually on either.

  • KNIFE - It is used for cutting things
  • SCREWDRIVER - Used for turning screws: They have different kinds of screws so this can be multiple attachments. 
  • PLIERS - Used to get a better grip on something; They work great for removing hooks in fish, or you if you have an accident, and also work great on a number of things around the campsite
  • BOTTLE OPENER - opening bottles
  • CORKSCREW - Opening wine bottles 
  • WIRE CUTTERS - Used to cut wire; Like for making traps or cutting wire liters for fishing
  • Scissors - Used to cut things that you don’t want to cut with a knife
  • CAN OPENER - Used to open cans; great for camping or at home if you realize you don’t own a can opener and bought a bunch of can goods like I have done
  • FILE - Good for sharpening things like hooks or filing other metal things
  • SAW - Cutting wood, like small limbs for traps or fires
  • TWEEZERS - splitter removal is the only thing I have ever used this for

 That’s the basic attachments that come on most Swiss Army Knives and Multi-tools. You can find some with more or you can find some that have less attachments. Most of the Swiss Army has 100 but I cannot imagine what all would be on that or what I would need most of them for. Maybe a compass and a magnifying lens: one to find a bearing and the other to start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire with a magnifying lens keep looking for the article. I will post it eventually.

Anything Can Be

    There is also another form of multi tool or rather a way you can use the same tool for multiple jobs. These are the ones you have to get a little creative with. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    I have seen shovels used for skillets and knives used to cauterize cuts. I wouldn’t recommend either of them but if something has to be done you can find a way. It might not be the best way, but it just might work.

     People used to sharpen their shovels to use them as axes too. It was less weight and still accomplished all that they needed too.

   Tomahawks had pipes made into them. It became a weapon; a tool and a pastime treat for native Americans and pioneers. That is definitely a multi-tool.

    People use knives for all kinds of things besides cutting too. To pry things with, to pop holes in things, can openers, chisels, etc. The knife is probably the most used multi tool in the world. If you have another option though, use it and save the blade. It might save you some pain as well.

   I think this is how the whole multi-tool sensations got started all those centuries ago with that one Roman soldier who simply would not dare to dine uncivilized. He found a way. People usually do. When faced with a problem a solution usually does arise. Then it gets improved on. Then it becomes a new tool or is added to our beloved multi-tool list.

     Look how many times screw heads have been improved upon. That’s a debate for another time.

    So, remember this, it’s better to have the right tool for the right job, but if you don’t have the right tool, look for another solution and keep trying.

Somethings work some don’t 

   If you carry a multi-tool, you probably have the right tool as long as you know how to use it. We learn from doing. 


Live by Faith. Love the outdoors. Life is Out HERE!