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Is your swiss army knife an original or genuine

Is Your Swiss Army Knife an Original or Genuine?

The name Swiss Army knife may be familiar to just about anyone anywhere in the world, but do the names Victorinox or Wenger ring a bell for anyone? Probably not. The name Swiss Army knife, contrary to popular belief, is not a brand name. It is rather the name given to a particular style of knife. The actual brand names are either Victorinox or Wenger. It may seem strange that two companies make the same knife, but the explanation is rather quite simple.

The original maker of the Swiss Army knife was a company founded by Karl Elsener in 1891. Although I am not sure of the original name, the company was renamed Victoria in 1909 in honor of his mother who had just passed away. The company began using stainless steel to make the knife in 1921. Combining Victoria and a shortened form of the French word for stainless steel (acier inoxydable), the company was changed to Victorinox.

Victorinox was the leading seller of the Swiss Army Knife (called Offiziersmesser at that time) until about 1893 when another company, Paul Boechat & Cie (later renamed Wenger), began selling a knife similar to the Offiziersmesser. (Offiziersmesser is German for officer’s knife.)

In 1908 the Swiss government split the contract for the Swiss Army knife between the two companies. Many feel this was to promote competition, thus reducing prices. Via an agreement between the two companies, Victorinox would brand their knife “the Original Swiss Army Knife”, and Wenger would brand theirs “the Genuine Swiss Army knife.”

In 2005 Victorinox acquired Wenger, thus becoming once again the sole supplier of Swiss Army knives. Victorinox plans to continue producing both brands of knives, continuing to use the two different slogans.

In 2006 Wenger produced a new Swiss Army knife called the Giant to celebrate its 100th year of production of the Swiss Army knife. The Giant has 85 devices and 110 functions. The Giant retails for as much as $1,200 in some stores. Many other companies produce knives similar to the Swiss Army knife: however, the color red for multi-function knives, the cross-and-shield emblem, and the words SWISS ARMY are registered trademarks of Victorinox AG and its related companies.

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