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What is a Leatherman®?

Phil Shepley
Phil Shepley

A Leatherman® is a type of compact tool that contains several different tool attachments. There are many varieties of Leatherman® tools, which vary in size, weight, material, and the number of tools that they contain. They are made by the Leatherman Tool Group and are available through many different outlets, both at stores and on the Internet.

The first patent for a Leatherman® tool was obtained by Timothy S. Leatherman in 1980. His original idea was to develop a multi-purpose knife that contained pliers, an idea he formulated when a plain pocketknife was inadequate for the purpose of fixing his ailing vehicle. Eventually the tool began to catch on as it was sold through mail-order catalogs. In 1983, Leatherman founded the Leatherman Tool Group for the purpose of manufacture and distribution of his invention.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A tool that is common among many, but not all, Leatherman® tools is a pair of pliers located on one end of the device, with many of the attachments located on the “handles” of the tool. These attachments vary greatly between styles, but can include knives, scissors, screwdrivers, saws, wire cutters, bottle openers, flashlights, pruners and more. The design usually leaves little unused space and any gaps are replaced with tools when the multi-tool is designed.

The tools and body of a Leatherman® are typically comprised of a number of metals and materials, mainly including 100% stainless steel. The multi-tools can also be made be from carbon fiber, titanium and more. The They also can be coated with scratch resistant material, such as Tungsten DLC.

Many incarnations of the Leatherman® tool exist, which vary in size, style and attachments. Many of these tools are catered to more specific needs and can have several tools that are relevant to a specific trade, craft or hobby. Some of these include fishing, boating, camping, hunting, auto repair and more. New Leatherman tools are introduced often, and some are even sold as limited edition collectors’ items.

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