24 June 2016 18:00:00
VICTORINOX: AVE VICTORIA
Story about the permanent leader in multi-tool manufacture
Swiss maestros are world-famous for their tremendous skill of creating perfect mechanisms. Besides watches, which creators from the country of Geneva Lake deserved the right to be named a proud symbol of accuracy, Classic Swiss Army knives are also an example of irreproachable state-of-the-art. The famous multi-tools with its surgical history are good for even extraordinary occasions: once a doctor performed a tracheotomy on the plane just using this knife and Aron Ralston an outdoorsman used it to extricate himself from a dislodged boulder through amputation of his forearm therefore saving his life. Victorinox – a Swiss knives pioneer and the first official state army supplier.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY
The history of the Swiss brand began in the late XIX century when a 24-year-old Swiss man Karl Elsener refused the work at mother’s haberdashery. Instead of men’s hats and belts he made bladed articles and opened workshop in a tiny settlement Ibach in 1884 where surgical instruments such as bistouries, clips, scissors and forceps were made.
SECRET OF SUCCESS
Swiss Army of the late XIX century was one of the strongest in Europe; the government provided their soldiers with the best outfit, and each soldier had to have his own pocket knife. In that time the Schmidt-Rubin rifles with 7,5mm cartridge served in Switzerland. It was failproof and also had a small caliber, rapidity of fire, accuracy but this weapon had only one defect – it was impossible to dismantle it without a screwdriver. To carry such little thing separately was inconvenient for soldiers and that’why German suppliers of knives responded to their needs offering multi-tools development to the royal army. A classic pocket knife was upgraded by a screwdriver, an awl and a can-opener. Of course, Swiss craftsmen, especially Karl Elsener, were dissatisfied with the German monopoly.
On Elsener’s initiative in 1890 the craftsmen from all parts of the country united in Association of Swiss Cutler Masters aimed at creating domestic multi-tool which could meet high requirements of the national army. For the creation of the officer’s knife Elsener used special spring mechanism: with the help of one coil spring two tools could be attached on both sides of the handle. Such innovation approach allowed to put twice as many features in the knife – besides a big blade, it has also a smaller one on the opposite side of which on the spring a corkscrew was put. But this technology was doomed to failure because to produce such knives was too expensive and German offers were more cost-efficient. A year after all the members of Association refused this idea except Elsener which company was on the verge of bankruptcy. He was saved by his mother’s active support and his efforts were noticed – a demand for Elsener’s goods grew exponentially among officers and in 1891 his firm became an official supplier of knives to the Swiss Army.
HAIL THE VICTORY AND STAINLESS STEEL
Elsener’s mother, Victoria was for every initiatives of her son and made a decision to deal with administrative matters. She was always side by side with the son in his workshop devoting 25 years of her life to knife making. After her death in 1909, Elsener named the company after her – Victoria, which, by the way, was the first company name. When the founder died his sons inherited the company and in 1918 they began a production using invented in that time stainless steel. That’s why Elsener’s sons added to their grandmother’s name the ending “inox” (from French “inoxidable” – “stainless steel”) – so Victorinox an unchangeable brand name known for us appeared.
Two years later the contract was signed the firm rival appeared – Theodore Wenger’s venture located in the north-west of the country. The company manufactured similar in quality and assembling knives and soon the Swiss Army had two official suppliers. The competition lasted the whole XX century until 2005 when Victorinox acquired the other official supplier. However, for maintaining a competitive ability of the sub-company Victorinox gave a complete independence of development, production and distribution. Victorinox products gained wide popularity throughout the world during World War II – the American military was fond of these multi-tools and bought them in large quantities. Swiss Army knife is a compulsory item in NASA’s astronaut outfit.
PERFECT MILITARY DESIGN
Today Victorinox production is unofficial national symbol representing quality, durance and Swiss accuracy. Each knife undergoes tests at the factory at all seven stages of production before getting to the its owner. Brand’s knives – is a real work of art in every sense of the word: for their design and perfection they are exhibited in Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and in Museum of Applied Arts and Design in Munich.
Victorinox is a metaphor of dream carried throughout the century and a desire to make the world better. It is excellent build quality and responsibility for every spring. Pocket Switzerland which you can buy at our store.
VictorinoxPocket knife Hunter Pro 0.9410.63
VictorinoxPocket knife RangerGrip Black/Green
VictorinoxPocket knife SwissChamp 1.6795.3 Black
VictorinoxPocket knife Evolution S14 Red
VictorinoxPocket knife Alpineer 0.8823
VictorinoxPocket knife Huntsman 1.3713.3
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