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What Is a Swiss Army Knife?

Learn about Swiss Army knives in this Howcast video with expert Dan Delavan.


Hi, my name is Dan Delavan, I'm the owner/operator of Plaza Cutlery in Costa Mesa, California. We have a great selection. We also have a website,, and today we're going to be talking about knives. The Swiss army knife, obviously comes from Switzerland.

They became popular in the United States after World War II. The GI's brought them back from Europe. They were made famous because of the multiblades, kind of like a boy scout knife but the Swiss army took that a step further with adding more and more blades to it. Later they added the red handle to make it stand out so to help them not losing it. They have branched into a few other products in the Swiss guard which features most of the items that they put into the small Swiss classic. So the Swiss cards are available and they've also gotten involved in the rescue tools with the one hand opening, glass breaker and the glowing dart. So you know you can find it when you need it.

A lot of people like to show off their Swiss army knife with what it has. There is a specific procedure for doing it so that you don't cut yourself. So the first thing you want to open is the letter punch on the button, and open it all the way so it's fully open. Then the corkscrew, you don't necessarily need anything for that. And then you want to flip it over and open the can opener and the cap lifter, and open them all the way so you're not putting extra pressure on the spring. If you have additional blades in the middle, open those but open them all the way, just be careful of anything that's got a sharp edge on it. Then when you get to the knife blades, open the small knife first, followed by the large blade, then your open it half way, go back to close, small blade part way and then both. If you're just showing your friends you don't have to do that, but for display matters we usually try and make it take up the least amount of room.

This way we have the two blades occupying the center and then these two open fully and the letter punch in the middle there so you have everything fully exposed.

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