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Vintage ARMY NAVY PRODUCTION AWARD E Pin
$19.95
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Vintage WWII Era Army Quartermaster Corps Branch Insignia Screwback Button
$17.95
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US ARMY AIR FORCES FLIGHT ENGINEER WINGS
$8.95
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US ARMY AIR FORCES BOMBARDIER WINGS 3 INCH
$8.95
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2 vintage WW2 Army Navy crossed rifles pins on card Meyer Insignia Specialists
$9.99
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WW2 US Army Ruptured Duck Honorable Discharge Lapel Pin Plastic Navy USMC H94
$4.99
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4 WW2 US Army Signal Corpus Collar Disks
$14.99
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WW II US ARMY AIR GUNNER USAAF Wings STERLINGoriginal RARE
$59.91
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WWII US Military Collectibles US Army Officers Cap Device
$15.95
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ORIGINAL SCARCE WW2 USAAF ARMY AIR FORCE COLLAR BRASS DISC DISK SET SHIPS FREE
$59.95
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ORIGINAL VINTAGE WWII US ARMY ENLISTED BRASS COLLAR DISKS PAIR
$7.00
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ORIGINAL VINTAGE WWII US ARMY INFANTRY ENLISTED BRASS COLLAR DISKS
$4.75
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ARMY AIR FORCE OBSERVER AWS PIN BACK ON ORIGINAL PAPER ISSUED WWII MILITARY 2
$350.00
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WWII US ARMY Enlisted Collar Disc INFANTRY Screw back US clutch back
$25.99
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WWII Sterling Silver Army Air Corp 3 inch Wings Pin
$29.99
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183 VINTAGE ENAMELED ROUND 2ND ARMY LAPEL PIN MILITARY SWEETHEART SCREWBACK
$6.99
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US Military We Lead The Way Army Pin
$5.99
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Vintage WW2 US Army Brass Buckles and Marksmanship Badges and Pins
$40.00
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US Army 100th Infantry Division Training Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 104th Infantry Division Training Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 105th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 126th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 129th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 147th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 155th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 156th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 161st Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 162nd Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 186th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 1st Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$4.99
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US Army 21st Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$4.99
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US Army 32nd Infantry Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 379th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 39th Infantry Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 3rd Brigade 104 Infantry Division Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 41st Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 46th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 78th Infantry Division Training Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 98th Infantry Division Training Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Infantry School Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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USAAF World War II Army Air Force Officer Uniform US insignia pair
$9.99
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My Hearts In The Army Hand Made Heart Shaped WWII Army Service Pin
$49.99
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US World War II Army Five Star General metal Rank Insigina
$9.99
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WW2 US Army Brass Eagle Hat Badge 3
$8.99
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WW2 US Army Brass Eagle Hat Badge 5
$8.99
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US Army 3rd Armored Division Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Armored School Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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WWII USAF Army Air Force Pilot Wing Pin Back 1 3 32 Sterling Silver
$27.00
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US Army 204th Military Police Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 716th Military Police Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 728th Military Police Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 95th Military Police Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 224th Military Intelligence Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 22th Military Intelligence Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 502nd Surgical Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Brooks Medical Center Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Health Service Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Letterman Medical Center Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army Medical DAC Alaska Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 61st Air Defense Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 67th Air Defense Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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WWII US ARMY FIELD ARTILLERY DOMED COLLAR BRASS
$8.99
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ORIGINAL WWII USAAF SEW ON RIBBON BAR DFC AIR MEDAL ARMY COMMENDATION
$34.99
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Metal Badge US Army 169th INFANTRY Armis Stant Leges Distinctive Unit Insignia
$9.95
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AMICO STERLING WW2 UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCE CREWMANS WING
$44.99
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7 SEVEN US ARMY UNIT PINS NO RESERVE
$4.99
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US Army 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 205th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 21st Anti Aircraft Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 265th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 3rd Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 41st Anti Aircraft Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 44th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 45th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 55th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 562nd Air Defense Artillery S21 Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 633rd Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 6th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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US Army 94th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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Vintage WWII US Army Air Corps Sterling Silver Air Crew Wings Clutch Back
$39.99
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STERLING ARMY NAVY PRODUCTION AWARD LAPEL PIN FREE SHIPPING TRACKING
$14.77
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US Army 103rd Field Artillery Regiment Unit Crest DI DUI
$3.99
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Army Pin

A Short History of the Swiss Army Knife

The story begins in 1891 with Karl Elsener, owner of a company that made surgical equipment. He founded the Association of Swiss Master Cutlers, to supply pocket knives to the Swiss army, who at this time were using German-made ones. It took Elsener five years to come up with what he called the "Soldier's knife" (known today in Switzerland as the "Offiziersmesser"). With suggestions from an engineer friend, Jeannine Keller, the original model had a wooden handle, and came with a blade, screwdriver, can opener, and a punch. It was actually made available to the army before 1896, but Elsener was not happy with the device, and eventually was able to put blades on both sides by using a special mechanism using a single spring for both blades. This allowed him to also add a corkscrew.

Elsener's company, Victorinox, was the single supplier of multi-function pocketknives until 1893. A company in the French-speaking area of Switzerland called Paul Boechat & Cie began to market a similar product. The company was later bought by its general manager, Theodore Wenger, and the company name changed to Wenger. By 1908, the Swiss government decided to split the contract for knives between the two companies, partly to appease German and French-speaking factions in the country, and partly to stimulate competition (and lower the prices of the knives). The two companies came to an agreement over marketing, with Victorinox using the phrase "The Original Swiss Army Knife" and Wenger using "The Genuine Swiss Army Knife". The following year (1909), the Swiss army began decorating the knives with the Swiss national symbol (a white cross). Victorinox uses a shield with bilateral symmetry around the cross, while Wenger uses a slightly rounded square with quadrilateral symmetry. The Swiss army uses knives with a simpler bilaterally-symmetric shield.

Victorinox switched to stainless steel blades and tools in 1921. It is believed Wenger did so as well around the same time, but company sources are inconclusive about the exact date. The knives were sold in PX stores on US army bases from 1945 to 1949. In fact it is believed that the term "Swiss Army Knife" was coined in English by American G.I.s during World War II, because they couldn't pronounce the Swiss name "Offiziersmesser".

Today, Swiss army knives contain a multitude of tools, including: several blades, a bottle-opener/screwdriver/wire stripper, can opener/small screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, corkscrew, phillips-head screwdriver, nail file, scissors, saw, hook, magnifying glass, ballpoint pen, fish scaler, pliers, keychain, USB flash memory, digital clock, digital altimeter, LED light, laser pointer mp3 player, and a brass spacer in the official army model, which allows assembly of the SIG 550 and SIG 510 assault rifles (with the screwdriver and reamer extended, the knife becomes a restraint to the firing pin during the lock assembly). Wenger has a special model which contains all the tools they make. The device is nearly twice as wide as it is long, and retails for around $1,200.

The knives are also available in many other colors besides the traditional red. Black, blue, white, pink, camouflage, phosphorescent yellow and many others, in both opaque or transparent. Also metal and wood cladding. The model actually used by the Swiss army is in fact aluminum, and not red at all.

On April 26, 2005, Victorinox acquired the Wenger company, becoming again the single supplier of knives to the Swiss army. The company intends to keep the Wenger brand alive for knives sold to consumers.

About the Author

Michael Carpenter operates two websites that sell Swiss Army Knives:
Army Knife Swiss (US) and
Army Knife Swiss (UK).

Army Pin
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