Thursday, May 30, 2013

Victorinox Soldier evolution

This is probably the most known Victorinox knife after the Spartan. Thanks to its old age and wide selection, this is one collectable knife. It starts with an Alox Soldier from 2006 and before you know it, you own one of every major change. The ones from before 1908 and the red Alox from 1961 to 1965 are probably the most hard to find and most expensive, but that doesn't hold back a real collector... I'm still looking for a 1897 model but, it is extremely hard to find. These knives didn't have stainless steel and were therefor very sensitive for rust. The scales were made of wood and after a few years of military use it became clear that wood just wasn't strong enough. After 1908 they changed it to fibre scales and in 1923 the first stainless steel effort was made. I call it an effort because the first stainless steel they used wasn't really rust-proof. It delayed the rust, but after some neglect the surface rust, patina, started... The main model and tools stayed many years the same. Only one major surface change was made in 1908. They changed the main blade from a spear point (before 1908) to a clip point (after 1908) . In 1951 they needed a smaller, lighter knife and the shortened the body, creating a lighter knife from 125 grams to 90 grams. Earlier, in 1908 they already made a small change from 144 gram to 125 gram, but even after these changes, the main design stayed the same. The brown fibre scales, annoying can-opener, extremely cool looking reamer and large flathead screwdriver stayed overall the same, but in 1961 they changed completely... In this year, the most beautiful Soldier knife saw daylight... ALOX... The most popular Victorinox knife on Ebay, at shops and even at flea-markets, and it isn't without a reason. The scales are durable, look stunning and are sleek, easy to handle.... I could go on forever, but the main reason they changed is by my humble opinion that the fairly large and still heavy knife simply was too bulky as a rifle-maintenance tool... The ,back then, new alox knife was revolutionary and they gave it the typical Swiss color, red. After a few years (1961-1965) they saw that this color wasn't holding up in the field and they changed it to the more known silver color. My guess is that the red color was also more expensive and since the color faded away an unnecessary expense. There are some exceptions from late sixties to even seventies with red color, but I don't have more info on that one... The alox knife, with some minor changes stayed till 2008. From 2008 on they changed it completely to the 111mm knife with wood saw and philips head screwdriver on top of the known tools... I bought recently some vintage Soldiers from 1941, 1950 and 1954 and must say that they have a certain charm. Even with the surface scratches, beaten up tools and the patina, it looks like a workhorse that won't give up... A real icon in a proud Swiss history....







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