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Meet the Holy Grail of Multi-Tools

National Museum of American History

This crazy contraption defines the meaning of multi-tool and then some.

When you think of a multi-tool, you generally think of something along the line of a Leatherman with a pair of pliers, a couple knives, maybe some scissors, and a few other tools added in. You wouldn’t think of something with every knife style imaginable, tools, and even a working firearm.

But that’s exactly what we have here.

This crazy and incredibly complicated multi-tool was created in Germany sometime in the 1880s for J.S. Holler & Co. cutlery store in New York City.


According to the National Museum of American History, where it is currently on loan, this impressive piece hosts over 100 tools. Besides an ungodly amount of knives, it also holds a few unique items such as multiple shears, a lancet, button hooks, cigar cutter, tuning fork, pens, mechanical pencils, and a mirror.

The most interesting item thrown in was a working five shot .22 caliber pinfire revolver.

Oddly enough, it didn’t have the one item we are all used to having in just about all of out modern multi-tools, a bottle opener. This is probably because bottle caps had not been invented and mass produced until almost 10 years later.


Just when you think this amazing piece of craftsmanship can’t hold anything else, the hinged tortoise shell handle reveals more. Carefully unlocking the clasp reveals a variety of miniature scissors and knives hidden inside.


This isn’t something that was meant to be carried on one’s person, but rather as a display piece for customers to show off their cutlers’ abilities. With dimensions of 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches, it is definitely not a pocket piece.

Items such as these are just an incredible display of what artisans at the time were capable of. I couldn’t imagine the amount of time and planning that went into this beautiful piece, but thankfully it is still around for us to appreciate to this day.

All photos via Smithsonian

SEE MORE: The Leatherman Tread: A Wearable Multi-tool

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Meet the Holy Grail of Multi-Tools