The charming origin story of The Leatherman Pocket tool (video)

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I love my leatherman, but hooo boy their prices are increasing at rates beyond inflation that would make a college proud.


Why have I always assumed they were a German company?


Even though the tools aren’t really for leatherwork, I thought the name was for branding and not someone’s name.

It’s like finding out Susan Lazyboy was an enterprising chair enthusiast.


Whereas Lazy Susanboy is just a kid twirling around on a table.


+1 for the Leatherman Wave.

Sure, they aren’t cheap, and yes, they are not as good as dedicated tools, but I find plenty of uses for having a set of tools always with me on my belt.



I’ve always thought my Gerber multitool was much better than the Leatherman tools, but clearly I’m in a minority on that.


Long ago I wanted one, but they were too pricey for what you got.

The Wave was what eventually sold me. Once they figured out how to round the outside corners by using them to house the main blades, the sharp corners of their prior tools stopped being the limiting factor for grip strength.


I prefer my Victorinox Swisstool, but I do have a Leatherman Skeletool that looks really nifty and is about half the weight of the Swisstool.


Interesting. You see folks with tool boxes, the various items in there. Pocket knives of all manner from Canadian Tire and Princess Auto… the $4 or $10 multitool from the checkout. But what do they have on their belt? A Leatherman.

Too good to not have on your person. Wish mine had a Robertson bit rather than a Philips tho.


I waited over a year for the Skeletool to make it from hype to actual product. Had mine less than a month and forgot to put it in my checked luggage, watched TSA throw it in the bin. Heartbroken.


Don’t ask me how many I have had to abandon at a security check when I did not have time to make other arrangements. (But it is a greater number than how many I have actually damaged in use.)


Honestly I found mine in an empty park alongside a soccer field. Best deal ever. A little surface rust on the knife and screwdriver bits but the rest was spotless.


Prices keep creeping up, and prices jump every time Leatherman releases a new high-end tool.

After checking out resale prices on Ebay, etc, I retired my trusty old first-gen Wave in favor of EDCing one of the cheaper Wave/Surge clones that are now available from China.

I have no intention of selling any of my Leathermans (Leathermen?), but as a knife & multitool collector I just don’t want to risk losing or breaking such a finely made gadget.

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I remember the days before 9/11 and TSA. I would just un-fold my OG Leatherman into the pliers configuration and hand it to the security person at the magnetometer and they would hand it back to me after I passed through.

That was a long time ago. There was an allowable Federal blade length limit at the time, which I believe the blade was under, but the security person might have just thought they were regular pliers - I never asked them, so I don’t know.


I loved being able to flick out the pliers head of the Gerber tool, but the actual function was pure crap. I pinched my hand between the handles too many times to count because they didn’t have an open angle. They had to be parallel when closed to allow the slide out pliers head function. And the tools were all over polished, including rounding the screwdriver head.

The SOG Tool was nice, but lack of needle nose pliers wound up being a deal breaker for me.


I once replaced the clutch cable of a '75 Volvo in a driveway with the Leatherman coming in clutch to save the repair.

Just moved into my third Leatherman in three decades, they are super useful to me in everyday life.

Possibly because you were confusing them with Gerber? Which sounds German, but it actually based in Oregon :slight_smile:

I’ve had the same Gerber multitool for about 30 years now and it has never missed a beat.

I’d like to think there is a Bob TelePromTer out there. It’s not nearly as cool to find out it was invented by Hubert Schlafly. :slight_smile:

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