Before the soldier’s knife…

Before the soldier’s knife, the Swiss army had "Vetterli tools”, multifunctional tools for disassembling and maintaining 1870 and 1878 Vetterli rifles.

These tools are, in the largest interpretation, the most likely “ancestors” of the Swiss soldier’s knife...

 Vetterli rifle tools 1870 and 1878 (*)

(*) Source : Private collection of M. Borgognon


"Model 1870" : The movable blade is divided in two by a stop pin which passes through the blade, the blade is attached to the handle by means of a screw which is tightened to hold the blade in place. Length 115mm, width of the handle 40mm, the wooden handle has the federal stamp, intended for wood, and sometimes cantonal stamps.

"Model 1878" : Designed by Col. Rudolf Schmidt, the two parts of the blade are separated, at about 1/3 of its length, by a wider piece of the blade containing a rectangular hole which is used to fix the blade to the handle. Some of these tools have the end of the blade shaped like a fork, used for the specific screw used for the 1872 and 1872/78 revolver. The rod is made of steel and is used to clean the barrel and to free jammed cartridges from the chamber. The federal controller uses his personal stamp with a letter under the Federal Cross.