Forging Bonds

Learn more about Victorinox and the role we play in the past and the future of the cutler’s profession in Switzerland.

Cutler’s workshops, apprentices and the traditional skill of knifemaking in Switzerland

In an age where industrialization had yet to take hold and knives were still made by hand in small scale water-powered forges, Karl Elsener had the vision to set up an association which would link cutlers from across Switzerland. In 1891, his vision became a reality when he and around 30 other cutlers joined forces to create the Swiss Master Cutlers Association.  

More than just a platform for knowledge-sharing within the craft, this union enabled the production of Swiss Army Soldiers Knives to be carried out in Switzerland itself. Prior to the foundation of the association, the many independent Swiss forges simply couldn’t compete with the steam-powered knife industry in Germany. But collectively, they were able to produce enough knives to meet the needs of the Swiss Army, taking over the contract from the manufacturers in Solingen. 

In turn, this created jobs at a time where employment prospects in Switzerland were dire and also enabled members of the association to benefit from economies of scale when purchasing raw materials. 
The association has evolved considerably over its 127-year history but still has a pivotal role in the cutlers industry in Switzerland. This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of our founder, Karl Elsener, as well as being an important anniversary of our current CEO, Carl Elsener, so we take a tour around Switzerland, looking at the history and achievements of some of its members, all of whom still work closely with Victorinox as retail partners, fellow cutlers and friends

Join us on our tour

Burgdorf Klötzli Messerschmiede
Volketswil Messerschmied Graf
Rapperswil Elsener Messerschmied
Zürich Lorenzi Messer
Thun Messerschmiede Schoder
Swiss Master Cutlers Association Forging Bonds