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Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.
FoundedJuly 1983; 35 years ago (1983-07)[1]
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon, USA
Key people
Tim Leatherman (Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder)
Steve Berliner (Secretary/Treasurer and Co-Founder)
Benjamin Rivera (President/CEO)
Folding knives
Number of employees
Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool
A Leatherman Sidekick tool showing on board tools
A Leatherman Wave with all tools unfolded
Leatherman Super Tool and belt holster
Leatherman Surge
Leatherman Micra, both open and closed
Leatherman Tread

Leatherman is an American brand of multitools and knives made by Leatherman Tool Group of Portland, Oregon, US. The company was founded in July 1983 by Timothy S. Leatherman and Steve Berliner in order to market his idea of a capable, easily portable hand tool with multiple functions. That same year Leatherman sold the first multitool, which was called the PST (Pocket Survival Tool).

Company history[edit]

Timothy S. Leatherman, a 1970 mechanical engineering graduate of Oregon State University, and his business partner, Steve Berliner, formed Leatherman Tool Group in 1983.

Leatherman was inspired to design a "Boy Scout knife with pliers" while he and his wife traveled Europe and the Middle East in 1975, often attempting to use a simple pocketknife to repair their repeatedly malfunctioning car and leaky hotel plumbing.[2][3] He spent several years perfecting the "Mr. Crunch" prototype and received his first U.S. patent (4,238,862) in 1980.[4] After additional refinement, Leatherman’s first product was introduced in 1983 as the Pocket Survival Tool (PST) and initially sold through Early Winters' and Cabela’s mail-order catalogs.[3]

Leatherman sold nearly 30,000 tools in 1984, fueling additional product development, and rapid growth both in the company and manufacturing capacity.[5] By the end of 2001, the company had sales of $100 million annually and had sold more than 20 million tools.[6]

Almost 10% of the manufacturing facility area is concerned with the repairing and rebuilding of any tool that needs it, either domestically, or sent from distributors from around the world. Their system is to replace and return any tool sent in with an equivalent item, reducing the time the owner is without the tool, unless the owner requests return of the same physical tool for sentimental reasons.

Folding knives were introduced into the Leatherman product line in 2005. In 2007, the company opened its first retail store, located at its manufacturing facility, that has since relocated to a retail store at the Cascade Station shopping center near the facility and Cascades MAX Station in Northeast Portland.[3] The same year, Tim Leatherman was inducted into the Blade magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame in recognition of his design impact on the cutlery history.[7]

In 2011, the Leatherman Tool Group acquired German light manufacturer, LED Lenser. The brands and companies are run separately, under the Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. umbrella. Leatherman Tool Group also manufactures a line of multi-tools designed specifically for military and law enforcement personnel, as well as accessories for carrying and expanding the function of its tools. As of February 2011, Leatherman produced 50 products sold in 82 countries, with U.S. market share estimated at 55 percent.[1]

Leatherman has a sponsorship deal with the Major League Soccer team Portland Timbers. Specifically, the company is the shirt sponsor for the team's mascot, "Timber Joey".[citation needed]


Leatherman’s primary products are multi-tools and knives. Most Leatherman multi-tools are built around a pair of pliers, with up to 21 additional tools stored in the handles, including knives (straight and serrated blades), screwdrivers (flat, Phillips), saws, wire cutters and strippers, electrical crimper, bottle opener, and can opener. Most models have a built-in safety mechanism that locks the active tool in the open position when fully unfolded. Models range in weight from the 12.5 ounce (335 g) Surge to 0.81 ounce (23 g) Style.

Leatherman currently produces folding knives under the Crater name. Models range from two tools (knife blade and carabiner/bottle opener) to four (blade, carabiner/bottle opener, flat, and Phillips screwdrivers).

Name Type Debut Retired # Tools
PST Full-sized 1983 2004 14
PST II Full-sized 1996 2004 15
Wave - Original Full-sized 1998 2004 16
Wave - New Full-sized 2004 17
Wave+ Full-sized 2018 17
Wave - Damascus Ltd Ed Unknown Unknown Unknown 3
Sideclip Full-sized 1998 2004 12
Crunch Heavy-Duty 1999 15
Flair Full-sized 1999 2004 16
Pulse Full-sized 2000 2004 15
Blast Full-sized 2004 2012 16
Surge - Original Heavy-Duty 2005 2013 21
Surge - New Heavy-Duty 2013 21
Core Full-sized 2005 2009 19
Kick Full-sized 2004 2012 10
Fuse Full-sized 2004 2012 13
Charge Ti Full-sized 2004 2008 17
Charge XTi Full-sized 2004 2008 16
Charge AL Full-sized 2007 17
Charge ALX Full-sized 2007 18
Charge TTi Full-sized 2007 19
Super Tool Heavy-Duty 1994 2001 18
Super Tool 200 Heavy-Duty 2001 2005 18
Super Tool 300 Heavy-Duty 2009 19
Super Tool 300 EOD Full-sized 2010 19
Skeletool Pocket 2007 7
Skeletool CX Pocket 2007 7
Skeletool SX Pocket 2013 7
Skeletool RX Pocket 2016 7
Wingman Full-sized 2011 14
Sidekick Full-sized 2011 14
MUT Heavy / Military Duty 2010 16
MUT EOD Heavy / Military Duty 2010 15
Mini Tool Pocket 1986 2004 10
Freestyle Pocket 2009 5
Freestyle CX Pocket 2009 2012 5
Juice KF4 Pocket 2001 2005 16
Juice C2 Pocket 2001 12
Juice S2 Pocket 2001 12
Juice CS4 Pocket 2001 15
Juice XE6 Pocket 2001 2006 18
Juice Pro Pocket 2002 2003 15
Juice SC2 Pocket 2003 2005 12
Juice SX - New Pocket 2014 11
Juice SX - Original Pocket 2013 2014 11
Micra Keychain 1996 10
Squirt P4 Keychain 2002 2010 10
Squirt S4 Keychain 2002 2010 10
Squirt E4 Keychain 2003 2010 10
Squirt ES4 Keychain 2010 9
Squirt PS4 Keychain 2010 9
Style Keychain 2010 5
Style CS Keychain 2010 6
Style PS Keychain 2012 8
Rebar Full-sized 2012 17
OHT Heavy / Military Duty 2012 16
Raptor EMS Duty 2013 6
Leap Pocket 2014 13
Rev Full-sized 2015 14
Tread Wearable 2015 29
Tread QM1 Wearable TBD
Signal Heavy-Duty 2015 19
Z-Rex Full-sized Unknown Unknown 4
Genus Unknown Unknown Unknown 9
Vista Unknown 2006 2009 9
Hybrid Unknown 2006 2009 11

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Leatherman Media". Leatherman Tool Group. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  2. ^ Monroe, Bill. The Oregonian, December 10, 1981.
  3. ^ a b c "Making History". Leatherman Tool Group. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  4. ^ US patent 4238862, Timothy S. Leatherman, "Pocket multiple tool", issued 1980-12-16 
  5. ^ Brock, Kathy. Once again, Leatherman Tool outgrows plant. Portland Business Journal, September 27, 1996.
  6. ^ "Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame." Blade Magazine. July 31, 2007.

External links[edit]