Although the pliers-based multi-tool is ubiquitous these days, this concept was unheard of in the early 1980s. The idea struck Tim Leatherman while he was traveling through Europe in a particularly unreliable second-hand Fiat. After making multiple repairs using his pocket knife and small tool kit, he had a thought — why can’t these tools be combined into a single pocket-sized item?

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After returning home to Oregon, Tim set out to make this idea a reality. But as is often true of innovative inventions, the road to production and profitability would not be an easy one. Tim struggled through eight long years and countless rejection letters to build a business and get his Leatherman multi-tool design into the hands of consumers.

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A new 16-minute short film called Made of Mettle tells the story of Tim Leatherman, the Pocket Survival Tool he created, and some of the customers whose lives it impacted. The full documentary is available on YouTube below:

From a survival standpoint, we especially appreciate the parting quote from Tim: “There’s a fine line between perseverance and failure to accept reality… but if you’re going to err on one side or the other, err on failing to accept reality and being too perseverant rather than giving up too soon.”

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