Wenger has been providing a vital piece of equipment for the Swiss Army for 100 years: the folding pocket knife (or, unsurprisingly, the ‘Swiss Army Knife’). National service endures, and every able-bodied Swiss male is required to remain in the army reserves until the age of 50. Each of them is supplied with this essential tool.
This dates back to 1886 when the Swiss Army decided to equip every soldier with a regulation single-blade folding knife. In 1889, a new rifle was introduced. To disassemble the rifle, a screwdriver was needed. A decision was made to create a multi-purpose tool incorporating a knife, screwdriver, reamer and can-opener – The Swiss Army Knife as we now know it. In 1893, at Courtetelle in the Delémont valley, the second industrial cutlery manufacturer of Switzerland, Paul Boechat & Cie – and the future Wenger – received a contract from the Swiss Army to produce knives. The company from which Wenger emerged had been a supplier to the Swiss Army as early as 1893, and its sister-company, Victorinox, since 1890. Wenger is in the French-speaking Jura region and its competitor is in the German-speaking canton of Schwyz. To avoid friction between the two cantons, the Swiss Government decided in 1908 to use each supplier for half of its requirements. So Victorinox can lay claim to being the “original”; Wenger can state its Swiss Army Knives are “genuine”. Both have been manufacturing Swiss Army Knives for over 100 years and both must meet identical specifications defined by the Swiss Army.
Wenger Knives, making knives in Switzerland since 1886.