The exquisite craftsmanship is a bit delicate, but this 1880s German jack(of-all-trades)knife has everything a Victorian MacGuyver could ever want. If his pockets were big enough.
With nearly 100 blades, this knife could equip a haberdasher, surgeon, woodcarver, tailor, barber, carpenter, watchmaker, sommelier, hunter or piano tuner. But not all at the same time, because they’d have to share. That blade that looks like a revolver is actually a working .22 revolver.
If you want one, you’ll have to make your own because this one is part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of American History. (Catalog link here.)The backstory, of course, is that it was never made to be used or even sold. It was made by hand in Solingen, Germany as a storefront display for a shop in New York City.
Solingen was a center of knife-making craftsmanship even 130 years ago, and it still is today. And even 130 years ago knifemakers were making silly oversized display knives like the motorized plastic Victorinoxes we still see at Excalibur Cutlery.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.