Swiss Army knife

From Academic Kids

A Victorinox Swiss Army knife
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A Victorinox Swiss Army knife

A Swiss Army Knife, often abbreviated "SwAK" by knife aficionados, is a useful multifunction tool. It is a small knife with many other tools, possibly including a toothpick, scissors, serrated knife, tweezers, can opener, and screwdriver. These are folded into the handle of the knife and are unfolded for use. Many different types of Swiss army knives are available, with different tool combinations for specific tasks (some special features include an altimeter, a clock, a thumbdrive, a flashlight, a pen, or a lighter). There are also many less expensive imitations, mostly from China.

There are two Swiss Army knife manufacturers, Victorinox and Wenger; they supply about 50,000 knives to the Swiss army each year. The rest of production is devoted to exports, mostly to the United States. Victorinox and Wenger SwAKs can be immediately distinguished by their logos; the Victorinox cross is surrounded by a shield with bilateral symmetry, while the Wenger cross is surrounded by a slightly rounded diamond with quadrilateral symmetry.

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Swisscard.jpg
SwissCard - a modern form-factor

In 1891, Victorinox founder Karl Elsener started supplying the Swiss army with knives actually made in Switzerland, as opposed to Germany. The original had a wooden handle (as opposed to the plastic and metal seen today), and featured a blade, a screwdriver, a can opener, and a punch. Later, in 1897, Elsener developed a version that used a special spring mechanism that allowed more tools to fit in the same size handle.

Contrary to popular belief, officers do not receive the well-known model with the red plastic handle. All "members of the army" are given the standard issue in anodized aluminium at the beginning of their military career, and keep it when advancing the ranks. The term Offiziersmesser (officer's knife) is a trademark marketing ploy by Victorinox.

See also

External links

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Swiss_army_knife_closed_20050612.jpg
Victorinox Swiss Army knife closed
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Victorinox Swiss Army knife open
de:Schweizer Messer

fr:Couteau suisse it:coltellino svizzero ja:キャンピングナイフ nl:Zwitsers zakmes no:Lommekniv zh:瑞士军刀

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