Victorinox Swiss Army
THE HISTORY OF VICTORINOX
Karl Elsener I opens a knife cutler’s workshop in Ibach-Schwyz. His mother Victoria actively supports him in his endeavors.
Karl Elsener I establishes the Association of Swiss Master Cutlers. As a result, he is able to deliver the first major supply of soldier’s knives to the Swiss Army.
The original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife is patented.
Following the death of his mother, Karl Elsener chooses her first name Victoria as the brand name and registers the emblem with the cross and shield as a trademark. Today it is registered as a trademark in over 120 countries.
The invention of stainless steel is a highly significant development for the cutlery industry. “Inox” is the international term for stainless steel. The combination of the two words “Victoria” and “Inox” gives the name of the company and brand today – Victorinox.
Carl Elsener II introduces automation. In 1931, the company Brown Boveri is commissioned to set up the world’s first all-electric hardening plant in Ibach. This means that all knives can be guaranteed to be of a consistent high quality.
The Swiss Army Knife becomes known all over the world. U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe buy it in large quantities and it begins to be a popular souvenir to take home.
After the death of his father, Carl Elsener III takes the company management into its third generation.
Sole proprietorship “Messerfabrik Carl Elsener” is transformed into the family company “Victorinox AG.”
The company doubles its manufacturing and office space. 810 employees generate sales of over 80 million Swiss francs.
Under its Swiss Army brand, Victorinox enters the North American watch business with its then U.S. sales partner.
Victorinox opens its first sales subsidiary in Japan. Others are added in subsequent years.
Victorinox enters the international travel gear market with the American TRG Group in St. Louis as the licensee.
The Victorinox Foundation is established. It holds 90% of the share capital of Victorinox AG. A further 10% is held by the not-for-profit Carl and Elise Elsener-Gut Foundation.
Victorinox launches a clothing line in the U.S. and opens the first Victorinox store in New York’s Soho district, selling products from all six categories.
Victorinox acquires the long-standing Swiss knife and watch manufacturer Wenger SA in Delémont and allows it to operate as an independent subsidiary.
Carl Elsener IV takes over the running of the business from his father and further expands Victorinox as a global multi-product brand.
Following the establishment of Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance AG, the former Wenger perfume line is repositioned.
Victorinox opens the first Flagship store in Europe at New Bond Street, London.
Victorinox integrates the Wenger knife business into the Victorinox brand.
Carl Elsener III dies on June 1, shortly before his 91st birthday.
Victorinox acquires the travel gear business from previous licensee TRG Group and establishes the new business unit Victorinox Travel Gear AG.
Victorinox is now managed by the fourth generation of the Elsener family. The company is celebrating its 130th anniversary.
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