- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- Ancient History
The Roman Swiss Army Knife
Most people will be familiar with the Swiss Army Knife. This remarkable and extremely useful invention is the first choice of many hikers, campers and travelers. Others will have one ticked away in a kitchen drawer, hand bag or car glove box.
There are imitators of course in the form of multi-tools and there are literally dozens to choose from. It is all about personal choice and deciding on what it may be that you will most likely be needing. So there are the knives with components useful to travelers, cyclists, computer buffs, sailors, hunters and more. There are even special editions and exclusive models. There is even one to fit in your wallet. Another for your keychain.
Few people are aware however that the 'Swiss' army knife was invented by the Romans. This is a model based upon an 1800 year old knife which is presently held in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The specimen in the museum is made of silver which suggests the owner was wealthy. Perhaps this was especially made for the owner. Possibly though it was one of the first 'toys for the boys' and had been ordered from and ad in the first ancient Rome edition of gadget weekly.
I was given my first Swiss Army Knife in Switzerland. I was there when it was purchased for me from a gift shop half way up the Matterhorn. I was ten years old. Somewhere along the way I lost it.
My next was purchased by my then wife for my 30th birthday. We were in the Lake District in the UK at the time. More than thirty years later I still have it. We have been through a lot together me and that knife and if I think back over those thirty years it has without a shadow of a doubt the most useful gift I have ever received.
Modern Swiss Army Knife
The model above is the one I own. It has never let me down. Only on the odd occasion have I wanted a pair of pliers, which this lacks, but I have always managed to improvise.
A Floral Design
The models shown below are just a small part of a truly massive range.