Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Victorinox 1902/03 model nr. 235

Here's a piece of history...  I love old, VERY old Victorinox knives. These knives bring me closer to the roots and show how a pocket knife of over 100 years old (antique) still works like if it was made yesterday. That's the power of a Victorinox! When I saw this one for sale on Ebay, I was afraid for the final bid. This knife is a real collectable, since they didn't use stainless steel back then and were more fragile than the more recent ones. These knives were also very expensive! The guy who helped me with my Spartan construction in Brunnen, told me that the old Victorinox knives costed a fortune back then. They were completely hand made and prices could compare to 200 Euro these days. That's why they used them till they gave up. A lot of these knives died of extensive use and that's why they are made... To make a long story short... I was very lucky to find this one... Just to give you an idea... In 1909 Victorinox consisted of 22 employees  and let's say that they produced a few hundred knives for each model, depending on sales... That means that my knife is pretty scarce right now... Hehe...I can't hide it... I'm pretty proud about this one...

UPDATE : Wellllll, my wife took a second look at the knife and the 1903 catalog simultaneously... She noticed that the scissors are on the wrong side compared to the one in the catalog. That makes age dating a bit more difficult, but.... hold on.... Scissors, wood saw, and other "special" tools were integrated in 1902. That makes this knife an early prototype, made in 1902 and was redesigned in 1903, or it was an original 1903 design, but repaired afterwards with a wrong setup. On the other hand this might be a problem, since the spring wouldn't work 100% when you change directions... Pfffff.... This is a difficult one... My final tought would be .... manufactured between 1902 and 1903....

When I saw that the final bid ended far within a reasonable price, I took my chance and went for a "Sniper" bid in the last 10 seconds... At first glance it looked ok, but when it arrived I was a bit disappointed. The scales had some "gaps" between the liners and some tools were more sharpened then I expected. I did a great job (even if I say so myself) on the restoration, replaced the spring for the scissors, removed the dirt inside the tools and went for a complete lubrication. I'm not gonna lie... It still looks old and (ab)USED, but that gives it a certain charm... I could remove the rivets and rebuild it with donor-parts, but that would damage the originality... About the age... Almost all the tools are used in the early 1900's and since I found the knife in the 1902 Elsener Catalog, this was an easy one. Back then you could choose between a knife with or without the Victorinox shield. The shield costed a bit extra. This one showed up as model nr. 235 and is more recently named the Traveller. The Traveller is discontinued since with the invention of the parcel hook, the Climber was born... One thing was a bit off on this knife... I've never seen Elsener Schwyz stamped in the large flathead screwdriver before... Anyway I love this knife and within the next few weeks, It will get a nice lucite display so time won't have anymore effect on it!


  1. Well spotted Mrs T. The catalogue pics for 207, 237 and 236 all have the scissors at the main blade end. The 1942 catalogue (excerpts sak wiki) has the 2 versions of the 235 with scissors on the small blade end (including vic shield). cheers Al Oz

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