ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Roman Swiss Army Knife

Updated on August 17, 2017

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

Photo by:
Photo by:

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.

An example of the huge range of models

Photo by:
Photo by:


Submit a Comment
  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Too true Deborah Hart. I was once given a copy and thought I would use it and keep my 'real' one secure. The copy was useless.

  • profile image

    Deborah Hart 

    9 years ago

    The Roman knife is extraordinary! And ya gotta love the modern Swiss Army version! Unfortunately there are many "knock-offs" flooding the market, and have been for quite awhile. You will know if you get ahold of one of these, I have several times. The tweezers don't spring back, and eventually fall out, the toothpick fall out and gets lost right away, and within a short time the whole bloody thing falls apart! Buyer beware!

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks travel man - the problem is that you cannot carry it everywhere these days in case you are locked up for having an offensive weapon. It is a sad world we live in.

  • travel_man1971 profile image

    Ireno Alcala 

    9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

    My set of Swiss Army Knife is a versatile tool to carry everywhere. Thanks for this hub, Sir Pete. I've learned anew about this thing.

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 

    9 years ago from South Africa

    Peter - thanks for this great info! I love my Swiss Army Knife given to me some years ago. It has saved me a spot of bother many times!

    Love and peace


  • D.A.L. profile image


    9 years ago from Lancashire north west England

    Hi. Peter, being an outdoor man the Swiss army knife is second only to binoculars when I am out and about in the countryside. Really enjoyed this hub thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks for visiting Misha.

  • Misha profile image


    9 years ago from DC Area

    Cool hub Peter, never knew this! :)

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Russell - I never bought a copy but I did find one once. I thought I would keep my original for 'best' and used the copy for a week. It was useless. Thanks for the comment.

  • Russell-D profile image


    9 years ago from Southern Ca.

    Peter - never buy the Chinese imitation, so poor they can't even slice bread. David Russell

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    jim - The tweezers have been a life saver a time or two. Equally the toothpick. Thanks for commenting.

  • jim10 profile image


    9 years ago from ma

    I have a small one on my keychain. It is great for opening packages and on the rare occasion one of the kids or I get a splinter. The kids like to use the tweezers themselves to get it out. Whenever I try to get it out they freak out thinking it will hurt.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello Hello - too true, very useful. Although I don't carry mine all the time due to the political climate I never go on a journey without it.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    9 years ago from London, UK

    They are certainly a great invention. It just shows that after all these years they are still great and mainly useful Thank you for your hub.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)