Leatherman is a brand of multitools and knives made by Leatherman Tool Group of Portland, Oregon, US. The company was founded in July 1983 by Timothy S. Leatherman and Steve Berliner in order to market his idea of a capable, easily portable hand tool with multiple functions. That same year Leatherman sold the first multitool, which was called the PST (Pocket Survival Tool).
Leatherman was inspired to design a "Boy Scout knife with pliers" while he and his wife travelled Europe and the Middle East in 1975, often attempting to use a simple pocketknife to repair their repeatedly malfunctioning car and leaky hotel plumbing. He spent several years perfecting the "Mr. Crunch" prototype and received his first U.S. patent (4,238,862) in 1980. After additional refinement, Leatherman’s first product was introduced in 1983 as the Pocket Survival Tool (PST) and initially sold through Early Winters and Cabela’s mail-order catalogs.
Leatherman sold nearly 30,000 tools in 1984, fueling additional product development and both rapid company growth as well as manufacturing capacity. By the end of 2001, the company had sales of $100 million annually and had sold more than 20 million tools.
Almost ten percent of the manufacturing facility area is concerned with the repairing and rebuilding of any tool that needs it, either domestically, or sent from distributors from around the world. Their system is to replace and return any tool sent in with an equivalent item, reducing the time the owner is without the tool, unless they request the same physical tool due to sentimental reasons.
In 2007 the company opened its first retail store, located at its manufacturing facility, that has after relocated to a retail store at the Cascade Station shopping centre near the facility and Cascades MAX Station in Northeast Portland. The same year, Tim Leatherman was inducted into the Blade magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame in recognition of his design impact on the cutlery history.
Folding knives were introduced into the Leatherman product line in 2005. In 2011 the Leatherman Tool Group acquired German light manufacturer, LED Lenser. The brand and companies are run separately, under the Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. umbrella. The company additionally manufactures a line of multi-tools designed specifically for military and law enforcement personnel, as well as accessories for carrying and expanding the function of its tools. As of February 2011, Leatherman produced 50 products sold in 82 countries, with U.S. market share estimated at 55 percent.
Leatherman’s primary products are multi-tools and knives. Most Leatherman multi-tools are built around a pair of pliers, with up to 21 additional tools stored in the handles, including knives (straight and serrated blades), screwdrivers (flat, Phillips), saws, wire cutters and strippers, electrical crimper, bottle opener and can opener. Most models have a built-in safety mechanism that locks the active tool in the open position when fully unfolded. Models range in weight from the 12.5 ounce (335 g) Surge to 0.81 ounce (23 g) Style.
Leatherman currently produces folding knives under the Crater name. Models range from two tools (knife blade and carabiner/bottle opener) to four (blade, carabiner/bottle opener, flat and Phillips screwdrivers).
|Wave - Original||Full-sized||1998||2004||16|
|Wave - New||Full-sized||2004||—||17|
|Wave - Damascus Ltd Ed||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||3|
|Surge - Original||Heavy-Duty||2005||2013||21|
|Surge - New||Heavy-Duty||2013||—||21|
|Super Tool 200||Heavy-Duty||2001||2005||18|
|Super Tool 300||Heavy-Duty||2009||—||19|
|Super Tool 300 EOD||Full-sized||2010||—||19|
|MUT||Heavy / Military Duty||2010||—||16|
|MUT EOD||Heavy / Military Duty||2010||—||15|
|Juice SX - New||2014||—||11|
|Juice SX - Original||2013||2014||11|
|OHT||Heavy / Military Duty||2012||—||16|