Small, and perfectly formed, the Swiss Army Knife is characterized by iconic design cues coupled with innovative creative engineering. Since its introduction in 1891, it has retained its original design ethos, while at the same time changing elements to match emerging markets.

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Think of the iconic red-clad Swiss Arm Knife, and several words spring to mind: precision, quality, functionality, and versatility – all wrapped in a design that has withstood over a century of wannabe competitors.
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It’s more than a mere pocket knife. Victorinox hails its knives as ambassadors for Switzerland, and with 34,000 rolling off the production lines each day, its easy to see how this humble design has come to represent an entire country – it’s a true design classic.
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It was designed by Karl Elsener following his discovery that the pocket knives supplied to the Swiss army were made in Germany. Outraged, he began working on the Soldier’s Knife, which sported a wooden handle, blade, screwdriver, can opener and punch. 
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While successful, Elsner wasn’t happy, and spent five years in design hell creating the modern version. His design innovation was simple – he used a clever spring mechanism to put blades on both sides of the knife. 
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For much of the history, Swiss Army Knives were produced by two companies – Victorinox and Wenger, each with subtly differing red-cross badges. In 2005, Victorinox acquired Wenger.
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The design itself is legendary, and is based on three principles – high quality, design excellence, and versatility. While the basic model has fundamentally stayed the same, many variations have surfaced, with the SwissChamp packing in 33 features – it’s part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Permanent Design Collection.
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Many people think it’s only available in red, but the Swiss Army Knife is a capable canvas in its own right – a vast array of colours and textures are produced. Custom versions are popular with large corporations as gifts, while collectors strive to complete the entire range of variations.
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Mark Graham<BR>
Founding partner – ilovedust, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ilovedust.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.ilovedust.com</a>
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