Stainless steel history

I have already posted and talked some on this on the internet. Thank you for the patience.  Next is some very important factors about Victorinox and history.

In 1920, Carl Elsener, the eldest son of the company's founder, urged a steel mill to develop stainless steel that could be hardened. Following numerous attempts he produced the first stainless steel knives in Ibach. As the initial results did not correspond to his ideas, he made great efforts in the years that followed to further improve the quality of stainless steel knives. The quality of a knife doesn’t just depend on the correct alloy; it also depends on the precise hardening and annealing temperature. In 1931 the current ABB received the order to set up the first fully electric steel hardening plant in Ibach.

In the evolution and history we have the information that stainless steel was available from 1923. It was not until the early 1930s that the stainless steel had the high quality or a quality good enough for Victorinox. Also important is the “Brown Boveri sets up the world's first all-electric hardening plant for Victorinox”

Also remember that Carl Elsener, the eldest son of the company's founder did pioneering feats for this stainless steel.



The steel mill was BÖHLER EDELSTAHL GMBH & Co KG I believe from Austria. Another interesting factor is the use of drop forged Swedish stainless steel and this is mentioned from 1950 until 1970s and I am looking for the first time this was mentioned to confirm. Let me know if you got insight or corrections. The blades were forged before the modern development of the stamped out process of the rolls of steel. I have a feeling that WW2 played a role in the history with steel and the countries that could supply after the war. Also have in mind the steel crisis in 1970!

In the history we know Victorinox use steel from Germany and France.


Stainless steel update

The invention of stainless steel is a field that would require too much research; some say it was Harry Brearley in England that invented it. Another place it is mentioned: 1912 Invention of the corrosion resistant stainless steel by Max Mauermann. There are others too and for different areas on steel.

What is important is that stainless steel or corrosion resistant steel is important for the products. This is for appearance and hygiene for example. It is also important because it is much easier for maintenance issues.

Stainless steel is not maintenance free because it is only corrosion resistant to some extent. On a SAK with functions it is of great importance that the steel is the best as possible against corrosion. If not it could require very much maintenance and oil. This is depending on environment and for what use that sad.

Everyone that is into knives knows about the first stainless steel pocket knives or knives for that matter and the issues with them. The steel was not good and the performance of the steel was poor. These problems you can find around the world at the time or history windows.



When researching Swiss Army Knives you come across talk and history factors. It was mentioned that stainless steel knives was expensive and people preferred the Carbon steel ones during a period of time.

With SAKs stainless steel is one of the key factors to why Victorinox is what it is today. It is not strange that this is a milestone that is well taken care of by the Company.



In the history of Swiss Army Knives you will find that the dividing layers used in the construction can be nickel-silver, brass or aluminum.  It is important for the stainless steel what material the dividing layers are made of. It is important that it is possible to clean a SAK. The knives and products are not maintenance free and the lifespan on a knife depends on maintenance and use. Proper use and maintenance will secure a knife that can last a lifetime.

The functionality that is known on a SAK depends on the construction, precision, materials and assembly. Corrosion or changes on the surface together with dirt and substances can prevent the functionality and comfort. It is also important that the steel can hold a decent edge and that it may be sharpened easy.






Information based on various sources that included personal research, knife people, internet and other:

(I have been into some of this before)

The invention of stainless steel was probably by accident. I am personally very glad of this invention because a Swiss Army Knife must be made of stainless steel.

I do believe the Pioneering feats by Victorinox to be important and it is about making a quality material that could be used for quality knives. There were many European countries and knife manufacturers that heard about the stainless steel and experimented with this. This means you will find pocket-knives made by different knife manufacturers in the world after WW1. The first stainless steel knives and products were not up to a standard that could be called useable stainless steel. One may find old knives made that confirms this by just doing some small tests. Some was actually not useable at all.  The Victorinox stainless steel and pioneering feats are about just this in my opinion. It was about making corrosion resistant steel with properties that could be hardened and treated for a quality knife. This was difficult and it took some years to get it right. I do not know what knife company in the world that had the first stainless steel knife. I have no doubts there are pocket knives with a stainless blade before Victorinox. The most important is the early 1920s when the technology and the production methods developed correct that is the key.

13.11.2020 Hunt

I have mentioned many times that my favorite milestone is the invention of stainless steel. Especially pocket knives with many functions should have it. In my opinion carbon steel can be used on single blade folders, pocket knives and fixed blades. For me it makes the hunt much more fun and the collecting easier with corrosion resistance. I am rather sure I share the same opinion among other collectors and users out there. It is typical to find them in very nice condition. Some cleaning, sharpening and oil then they are ready. I wonder how the world of Swiss Army Knives would be without stainless? It would not be the same for me that I am very sure about. It is one of the reasons for why they stand the tests of time. It all depends on maintenance if the steel is not stainless. Some manage to keep them nice and ready all the time. Carbon blades still got some advantages for certain tasks. Please take the time to read my page about oil! Read from top to bottom.......If you are extra interested then

I absolutely like to collect both older and new knives and learn new things. I follow the tracks for knives!  


On the picture below you can see more than only Swiss. If you do easy maintenance from time to time if you use them then they will last and last. The pictures today show some different SAKs and knives by random.


02.04.2021 Alox

I would be the first to say I may have collected too much, lol. Here you see some Limited Alox in original boxes. But for sure I got more because the quality feeling with the Alox SAKs is substantial. These are very popular with collectors and users. It does show that it is possible to have a little luxury for a fair cost. I have collected red alox with the old cross before. I do like when the condition is very good. Then I collected some silver Alox and also some of the very slim ribbed and smooth Alox Victorinox knives.  

Some years ago I was worried that perhaps this range would be retired because they were not cost effective. It turns out completely different with the retirement in deed.


19.04.2021 Advertising inlay

This is my latest 84mm advertising Victorinox. This got what most consider being the same as the Waiter only without toothpick and tweezers. It’s been used some with care because it is in very nice condition with only some small things on the scales. It got inlay for the advertising and emblem on this. This one got the older type combination tool. The functions on this and construction is what I believe to be 1982-1985 approximately. The possibility is always there for the inlay with scales to be after this date. The advertising is very educational and I found a good amount of information on this quickly on the internet. Landteknikk A/L is today within the Skala Group involved with food industry in Norway. On their website I found the Landteknikk A/L to have been involved with a lot of important areas, products and industry.

SAKs got a very good ability to catch the versatile and helpful factors. It gives a good feeling when quality items are used. Good stainless steel with good corrosion resistance makes the difference.


The only detail on this 84mm is the keyring which is small. It is could have been replaced one time with a smaller one or it could be on purpose. I am not sure. 


Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the inlay for the advertising is stainless steel. I like both nickel-silver and stainless steel inlays. They are both very durable. This one is not nickel silver and typically after 1980 Victorinox started to use stainless steel for the inlay.  What is very sure is the functions that got a good stainless steel. This I like very much because it makes collecting much easier. It is not easy to remove rust and corrosion on pocket-knives and especially on models with many functions. As usual a good cleaning, sharpening and oil makes it ready for the collection.

23.03.2022 Year of the Tiger

The Tiger is the perfected predator with awesome abilities and strength. This model is called the Year of the Tiger 2022. This Limited design and artwork is educational and it is easy to recognize the Huntsman and its functionality. The Victorinox steel sure looks good in combination with this design!

This Swiss Army Knife is individually numbered and this it is my latest 91mm limited Victorinox which I am truly grateful to have. It is not the first time this Swiss company produce knives with inspiration from China. We know how they developed into the Chinese market. During this time there are several SAKs made with inspiration from this culture.

This knife comes is a very beautiful box.
The toothpick and tweezers got a different color than usual and it includes the red pin card tool too.


I recommend looking at sakwiki on the Chinese Zodiac models. There are many models made so far. 

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26.07 | 23:05

Hi and thank you very much for question. The closest I know is the Master Fisherman 1.4753.72. The. 73 is related to what inlay it got maybe. Best Regards Trond

26.07 | 19:22

Hello Trond,
I received a Mechanic in a red/white Victorinox box. The box is stamped item number 1.47 53.73. Do you know what knife goes in this box? Not Mech

01.07 | 23:13

Hi, sure I would like to see, BR.

01.07 | 16:24

Hello Trond.

Would you be interested in seeing progress pictures
Of my custom Champ with Voyager digital clock scales.
I could email them to you.


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