Skip to main content

A Knife Fit For a Gunfight

http://www.wired.com/design/2013/10/you-can-kill-a-man-100-ways-with-this-crazy-swiss-army-knife/

Craziest Multi-Tool Ever - Kills in 100 Different Ways



Most Swiss Army knives could be pressed into service as a weapon. They have a pocket knife and a corkscrew with a decently sharp end. Even that nail file could do some damage if you really wanted it to. But all of that stuff starts to look pretty innocent—cute even!—when placed next to the multi-tool gadget you see above. Just take a moment to appreciate its absurd complexity. This amped-up Swiss Army-style knife has 100 functions, which is a demure way to say there are 100 very scary looking blades of different varieties packed into its 10-inch handle. Oh, and did you notice the fully-functioning .22-caliber pin-shot revolver tucked in between the shears and dagger? This is, simply put, the most badass Swiss Army knife ever created.
Solingen was appropriately nicknamed the City of Blades.
There’s a story behind this bizarre and beguiling piece of weaponry. Oddly enough, the craziest Swiss Army style-knife to ever exist wasn’t even made in Switzerland, explains David Miller, an associate curator of armed forces history at the National Museum of American History. A product of the F.W. Holler Company, the knife was actually manufactured in Solingen, Germany, a medium-sized town in the North Rhine region of the country. Solingen, appropriately nicknamed the City of Blades, has been home to some of the most finely crafted knives, swords and shears since the Middle Ages, though it’s now better known for its quality flatware. It was here in the late 1870s, in the cutlery capital of the world, that John S. Holler decided to expand the company. “[The cutlery companies of Solingen] were trying to get into the world market, and were competing with the bigger, more connected British firms who cornered the cutlery market exports,” says Miller. This led John S. Holler to open up a store in New York City.
Like any good salesman, Holler needed a marketing plan. And since Twitter did not exist, the company was going to have to create a demo piece to showcase the its products and craftsmanship. This object, the one you see in the photos, would hang in a window or be displayed in a case when the company traveled around to world expos. So basically, this foldable knife is a very sharp and very dangerous catalog. Other companies made similar exhibition knives, but none were quite as stunning as the Holler piece. “Some were made in England, but not nearly as spectacular as this,” says Miller. “This is the finest one I’ve ever seen.”
“If you bring this knife to a gunfight, you’re OK.”
It’s hard to tell by photos alone, but this multi-tool is much larger than your typical Swiss Army knife. Its handle is about 10 inches long, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep, which makes a lot of sense when you realize how many different types of blades have to fit into it. To start, there’s two dagger blades, a serrated bread knife, a few pairs of shears, a couple of saw blades, a corkscrew, a lancet (for boils?), button hooks, a cigar cutter (hey, why not!), mechanical pens and pencils, and even a piano tuning fork (whew). Really, the only thing the knife is missing is a bottle opener, since the bottle cap we know today wasn’t invented until 1892.
The tool weighs in at around 9 pounds, and with everything fully extended, the object reaches about a foot in diameter, which makes this much more a suitcase knife than a pocket knife. Miller says it takes about 25 minutes to fully open the gadget, and even when you take your time, it’s a dangerous task. “I’ve cut myself on that darn straight razor,” he says. The Smithsonian acquired the knife in 1986 after it was donated by James F. Parker. While alive, Parker was well known in knife collection circles—he owned his own cutlery company and served as the first president of the Knife Collectors Association. Miller says the first time he saw the object he couldn’t believe it was real. “I was particularly impressed with the revolver,” he recalls. “If you bring this knife to a gunfight, you’re OK.”

Popular posts from this blog

Beware of Wombats & Other Vampires

You are surrounded by dangerous WOMBATS. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, easy to spot. Other times they are well camouflaged, requiring heightened awareness to identify them. You need to stay alert, it’s important to avoid them. WOMBATs resemble ordinary, productive tasks. However, they are vampires for time and resources, weapons of mass distraction.WOMBATs are seductive. Working on a WOMBAT feels productive.WOMBATs are bad for your career.WOMBATs are bad for your business.WOMBATs infiltrate your work day (and your personal time). Strike them down.WOMBATs may be be ingrained in your company culture: “We’ve always done it that way…” WOMBAT Metamorphosis Alert: A task or project that wasproductive in the pastcanevolve into a WOMBAT in today's environment.Your comfort zone is populated with WOMBATs.More on comfort zones, here.Some people are WOMBATs in disguise. Stay away from them, they are vampire WOMBATs.If you don’t control your WOMBATs, your WOMBATs will…

Taking Tips From a Younger Generation

Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor at The New York Times, visited the garment district in Manhattan to interview designers as part of a story for the newspaper’s Snapchat account. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times
What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty.

How on earth did I become an “older worker?”

It was only a few years ago, it seems, that I set out to climb the ladder in my chosen field. That field happens to be journalism, but it shares many attributes with countless other workplaces. For instance, back when I was one of the youngest people in the room, I was helped by experienced elders who taught me the ropes.

Now, shockingly, I’m one of the elders. And I’ve watched my industry undergo significant change. That’s why I recently went searching for a young mentor — yes, a younger colleague to mentor me.

How Randa and the Fashion Industry are Adapting to DIY

The term 'Do It Yourself' has turned into a phenomenon over the past decade and is continuing to gain momentum, especially in the fashion industry. From interactive design stations at Topshop, to custom shoes at Jimmy Choo, every level of the fashion industry is dipping their toes into the pools of DIY.

"Many industry insiders think it is just the beginning. Ask about the future of fashion, and the answer that is likely to come back (along with the importance of Instagram and the transformation of shows into entertainment) is personalization," says Vanessa Friedman from the New York Times.