Tim Leatherman (an Oregon native) received his Mechanical Engineering degree from Oregon State University. While on a budget trip to Europe in 1975, Tim and his wife Chau constantly came across leaky hotel plumbing and road-side fixes for their cranky Fiat. Tim realized the need for a pliers based, multi-purpose tool. "I was carrying a scout knife and used it for everything from slicing bread to fixing the car. But I kept wishing I had a pair of pliers!". When Tim came back to the states, he took his “multi-tool” idea, some sketches he made on the trip and got to work.
When Tim started on the prototype for this new tool, he estimated it’d take him a month. Instead, it took the next three years to build the prototype he envisioned and file for a patent. With the patent application and prototype in hand, he set off to sell his idea. Unfortunately, the companies he approached didn’t bite. Knife companies thought his invention was a tool, and tool companies thought it was a gadget. Neither were interested.
For another three and a half years, Tim faced one rejection letter after another. Until he partnered with his college friend, Steve Berliner, and in the spring of 1983, they received their first order for 500 tools from Cabela's and launched the first Leatherman tool.
The original multi-tool
The original Leatherman tool was called the PST, or known as the Pocket Survival Tool. Eight years in the making, the PST comprised of 13 different tools and folded up into a five ounce, four inch toolbox. In the first year of business, Tim and Steve hoped to sell 4,000 tools; instead, they sold 30,000. And over the next decade, they would sell over one million PST multi-tools. Explore the photos below see more of Tim’s journey from his garage to the birth of the Leatherman multi-tool.
THE MOST POPULAR LEATHERMAN EVER!
The Leatherman Wave + Multi-tool is an upgrade to the classic Wave. All of the tools packed into this 100 percent stainless steel 17-in-1 multi-tasker can be opened and locked with one hand quickly, so you don't need to pause.
Several of the tools, including the 420HC knife blade, are outside-accessible, so you can open them without unfolding your Wave.The Wave Plus adds premium replaceable, durable wire cutters to the lineup of features from the classic Wave.
Lose yourself in the outdoors. In the all-new Signal, Leatherman’s traditional functional tools like pliers, saw, can and bottle opener, awl, a variety of hex and Leatherman bit drivers, and combo knife blade pair with new preparedness features like a shaped diamond coated sharpener for maintaining your straight and serrated blade, fire-starting ferro rod, and an emergency whistle. Stay ready for the expected (and unexpected) no matter where you are with everything you need right on your belt.
YOUR VERY OWN SIDEKICKA great choice for first-time users, the original Portland, Oregon multi-tool manufacturer is making you your very own Sidekick. This handy pocket-sized tool has all the features you need to get your project done, at a fraction of the cost. The handy, outside-accessible blades mean you can open the knife with just one hand and rounded handles make getting a grip around their all-new, spring-action jaws easy and very comfortable. Stainless steel and backed by a 25-year warranty; first choice, or handy second backup, you can't beat the value of the Sidekick.
With the new Leatherman Rebar, fans will immediately recognize the iconic box-like body and sloped-neck design found in the Super Tool® 300 and Micra®. This new soon-to-be favorite rounds out Leatherman's classic "heritage" line of products by offering one in each size category. Just like the Super Tool 300, the Rebar pliers have been optimized for strength and feature replaceable wire/hard-wire cutters—a first for a four-inch tool from Leatherman. With all the features to get even the toughest jobs done, in a smaller, slimmer size, the new Rebar is sure to be an instant hit on job.
The award-winning, Leatherman Super Tool 300 is the multi-tool for the worker in all of us. Larger pliers are the strongest we've ever produced and the sloped-top handle design means you can maneuver them further into tight spaces. When you're working with gloves on, the large side cutouts make it easy to still grab components and rolled handles make for a comfortable grip.19 tools in one
For years multi-tool users could choose from two distinct options when it came to a "one-hand-operable" multi-tool: one-hand-opening pliers OR one-hand-opening blades. Today, Leatherman has taken these two well-loved ideas and fused them into the first ever, 100% one-hand-operable multi-tool, the Leatherman OHT. This industry-first tool features spring-loaded pliers and wire-cutters so you don't tire your hand adjusting and readjusting your grip. Handles with visual imprints of the tool beneath make for quick identification.
We've taken one of our most popular LED headlamps and made it brighter, lighter, and easier to use. An upgraded lens for our Advanced Focus System adjusts for either long-distance viewing or close range illumination, and a revised durable tilt mechanism puts light just where you need it.
Our new wheel switch allows you to easily control light intensity, and special touches like an added carabiner hook and a new ergonomic fit make the H7.2 a headlamp you'll soon wonder how you did without.
Following in the footsteps of the Skeletool family, the Skeletool KB is a slim and lightweight knife that focuses on the essentials.
Made with 420HC stainless steel and featuring a comfortable, contoured grip, the Skeletool KB is a perfect EDC tool. Slice through work with ease, then pop open a cold one with the Bottle Clip. Backed by the Leatherman 25-year warranty.
Leatherman listened to customers when they created the Charge Plus TTI Multitool by combining all of the most requested features into one tool to rule them all. The Leatherman Charge Plus TTi multi-tool is packed with 18 tools, including interchangeable wire cutters, drivers and 8 bits. The TTi's comfort-sculpted titanium handle scales make it ergonomic and slip-resistant to hold and use. As an upgrade over the original model, the Charge Plus features premium, replaceable wire cutters for increased longevity. Includes four-pocket sheath.
The Leatherman Rev. This all-new multi-tool allows you to grab a toolbox full of functionality and keep it at your fingertips, no matter where you might be: under the hood, at the campground, finishing honey-do projects around the house or cracking open a cold one at the tailgate. The Rev features 13 soon-to-be-indispensable tools, an outside accessible 420HC blade and a replaceable pocket clip for easy carry, and as always is backed by the Leatherman 25-year warranty.