Tools of the Trade

The Swiss Army Knife: The Ultimate Gentleman’s Tool

Afternoon gents, it’s Max from the Young Gentleman’s Guide here! Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the most important things a gentleman should have in his arsenal: the Swiss Army Knife, the object synonymous with multi-purposeness. This post will go over the history of the Swiss Army Knife, as well as the myriad of reasons why every gentleman should carry one. So let’s get started!


In 1884, Karl Elsener and his mother opened up a cutlery shop in Ibach, Switzerland. Soon after opening, they began producing and selling knives to the Swiss Army.

Swiss Army Knife Post 2
Karl Elsener

Their original model, called the Soldier Knife, contained most of the things you would see in a typical pocketknife, like a knife blade, a reamer, a screwdriver, and a can opener. The only real reason the soldiers needed such a knife was because it was necessary and practical. The soldiers and officers need a useful tool in order to open their food, repair their rifles, and cut things whenever they needed to. It wasn’t until the 1940s and World War II that the knives began to spread internationally (seems kind of strange for a product like this to come from one of the most famously neutral countries). And since the 19th century, the design and purpose of the Swiss Army Knife hasn’t changed much, it’s just sort of evolved as the times have. They’re also all made out of the same two factories in Switzerland as they always have. Many Swiss Army Knives now have things like scissors, tweezers, toothpicks, corkscrews, and even small saws. They also come in varying sizes and designs with different tools depending on the model. Models being produced today even add 21st-century components like laser pointers, flash drives, and fingerprint scanners. But why should a gentleman today have one of these knives today?

Why have a Swiss Army Knife?

The answer to this should be fairly obvious. I stated in the post about my grandfather that he is incredibly handy, and that every gentleman should strive to be as well. Always having the right tool for whatever you or your friends are doing is something that is being lost among men today. I got my Swiss Army knife when I was fifteen (15) or sixteen (16) years old, and now I never leave my dorm room without it. I use it as a boxcutter, a letter opener, a screwdriver, and I even use the little toothpick and tweezers every now and again. I’ve also used it in the past to cut rope, and one of the most famous uses in my family is cutting the ribbons off of wrapped Christmas or birthday presents, whether mine or otherwise (very silly, I know). Also, if the situation were to arise, I could also use the blade as a weapon if I were to get mugged or anything. I’m desperately hoping it won’t have to come to that, but I still have that option. So in short, the Swiss Army Knife can be a useful tool in almost any situation and can be useful any project, and it’s something that every gentleman today should have.

So there we have it! Hopefully this post will have convinced to get your own Swiss Army Knife, because I really see no reason not to have one! I use mine all the time, and like I said, I never leave my dorm without it. In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. Please be sure to share the post, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!


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2 replies on “The Swiss Army Knife: The Ultimate Gentleman’s Tool”

Hi I found your blog and I’m from New Zealand. A 29 year old gent myself. Just want to say that you are totally on the spectrum of being and becoming a gentleman! Thanks and keep writing

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