In 1884, Karl Elsener started his cutlery business in Ibach Switzerland. Soon after he approached the Swiss government about supplying the Swiss Army with knives manufactured in Switzerland, rather than importing them from Germany. In 1891 Elsener's Cutlery, as a member of an association Swiss Cutlers, started supplying knives for the Swiss Army.
In 1897 Karl Elsener brought out his legendary Officer's and Sports Knife, this was the start of the the ubiquitous Victorinox 91mm range. It is these models (now typically manufactured with red handles), not the military models, that most people think of when envisioning a Swiss Army Knife!
In 1909, in part to distinguish his knives from competition, Elsener started putting the Swiss Cross on all his knives. It was also in this year that Elsener named his company Victoria after his mother, who had just passed away. Twelve years later, after stainless steel was invented, Elsener added the suffix inox, from the French word inoxydable (meaning stainless) to the name and renamed the company Victorinox. Stainless steel was a significant historical achievement and was also noted for many years on the tang-stamp of the main blade with the German word ROSTFREI.
After about one hundred years of making Swiss Army Knives, pocket and kitchen knives Victorinox diversified its product lines:
- 1989 - Starts making watches
- 1999 - Starts making travel gear
- 2001 - Branches out into clothing - However this product category is later closed down
- 2005 - Victorinox acquires the Wenger company after it faced financial difficulties. The company is run completely independently and the product lines are separate
- 2007 - Fragrances are added to the product set
- 2013 - The pocket knives of the two companies are merged under the Victorinox brand and the Wenger brand is retired. However many Wenger models are rebranded as the Victorinox Delémonts. Wenger continues to make its watches and travel gear.
Phone:+41 41 81 81 211
Fax: +41 41 81 81 511
Every year Victorinox produces approximately six million traditional 91mm Swiss Army Knives.
Additionally, another seven million other pocket tool models are made.
Add in thirteen million household and professional knives and Victorinox is producing twenty-six million knives a year!
|Production Figures (2009)|
|91mm Swiss Army Knives|| |
|Other Pocket Tools|
|Household and Professional Knives|