A Leatherman for All Seasons

The original all-in-one tool faces lots of competition. Can the granddaddy of all multitools still cut it?

Everyone has a dream, and Tim Leatherman's dream was simple: he wanted a single tool that was both a knife and a pair of pliers. In 1983, after years of tinkering, he created a distinctively double-jointed multitool that looks like two Swiss Army knives caught in the act of mating; in addition to a knife and pliers, it had a dozen other doodads on it to boot. Since then it has become a cult classic, with 25 million units sold; Sunday night's Oscar presenters got them in their gift baskets. And, yes, Leatherman is his real name.

Purists scoff at multitools...

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